FLATHEAD LAKE — This 2020 Fall Mack Days event has been one anglers won’t soon forget! This year’s event began with hot sunny weather and waters way too flat for good fishing they said. Anglers were enjoying the weather but looking for a little shade to keep out of the hot sun. Then came rain, hail, and unrelenting wind with rough huge rolling waters that wear you down. The seventh weekend has been a real extreme. Friday was cold, rough, and windy but a few anglers ventured out. A total of 218 entries were turned in by wet, cold, snow covered tough anglers. Waves were some of the worst ever some said. Riding on top of a wave in a boat and looking several feet down in the trough of the wave is not good. Saturday was totally unfishable with strong gusty winds that did not let up and lots of snow blowing around-zero anglers for Saturday. Sunday it was sunny and a little breezy but very cold temps. We caution all anglers to be safe, be informed on weather conditions, have and use your PFD’s, and be prepared-and always-always safety first.
The minus zero degrees didn’t detour a few who went out on a bright very cold morning trying their luck at getting the elusive lake trout to bite. Sam Cusker from Bigfork did well on Friday with 72 entries. He was excited the fish were finally feeding good. That excitement sent him back out Sunday and of course the old guy Mike Benson could not stand to let Sam go out by himself so he ventured out also.
Monte McPherson of Silverdale WA was also out in Big Arm Bay. At 12:00 Monte reported he had 12 nice ones in the cooler. He ended up with 20 for the day. Cusker turned in 27 that evening and Benson had 55. Cold weather causes a lot of issues. Frozen lines and reels, ice in the boats, and frozen fingers just to name a few. Other numbers from the stormy Friday were Terry Krogstad of Kalispell with 57 and partner Julie Perkins with 45, Mike Benson 33, Tony Incashola of St. Ignatius 4, Zach Underwood of Pablo 1, Jack Kirkland of Missoula 2, and up on the north end of the lake Kalispell anglers Jim Jones-1 and Connie Jones-3. Total lake trout entries for this weekend was 320.
The $10,000 tagged lake trout-LITTLE FIN-is still swimming in Flathead Lake. Along with three $5,000, and five $1,000 tagged lake trout. Along with over 9,000 tagged lake trout with values from $100 to $500. Tagged lake trout have been caught in all areas of the lake by experienced anglers and first-time anglers. You cannot physically see these tags, the adipose fin on these fish have been clipped. These fish are scanned when they are turned in and numbers are looked up on a computer list with values associated to that tag number. Tagged fish caught this past week were turned in by: Marty Herak-Polson $100 and Mike Benson-Lonepine $100. A total of fifty-three tagged lake trout have been turned in during the 2020 fall event.
A total of 10,912 lake trout have been turned in by one hundred twenty-seven anglers. Monday-Thursday total is at 2,643 and Friday-Sunday total is 8,269.
Ladies leader at this time is Julie Perkins of Kalispell with 362, Laurie Kreis of Huson is 2nd with 225, 3rd is Gina Schiff of Whitefish with 75, 4th Kim McMillie of Polson with 52, and 5th Debby Sacchi of Thompson Falls with 39.
Youth angler numbers did not change. Tripp Bick of Arlee leads the 12 & under group with 13, Kaden Blowers of Missoula has 6, Gage Spring of Alberton-4, Brodie Smith Kalispell-1, and Zander Oliver of Missoula-1. Jeffrey Devlin of Polson leads the 13-17 category with 14, Makenna Garrett of Missoula has 8, Kadin Kammerer of Missoula-7, and Wyatt Thompson of Bigfork-2.
Mike Benson of Lonepine is leading all anglers with his total of 749, 2nd Sam Cusker with 580, 3rd Larry Ashwell-Missoula 694, 4th Terry Krogstad-451, 5th Scott Bombard-Missoula 442, 6th John Gauci of Florence-426, Julie Perkins 7th with 362, 8th Kolton Turner-Kalispell 359, Steve Benson-Spokane Valley, WA 341-9th, and 10th Larry Karper of Florence with 320.
Anglers can choose to keep their catch or donate it to be processed by BlueBay staff. Lake trout are spawning at this time of the year so they come in closer to shore and can be caught more easily by shore anglers. Boat anglers are trolling, jigging, and casting at this time. For more information go to the website at www.mackdays.com. . All it takes is one fish entry for you to qualify for a drawing. Entries will be taken until the last day of the event.
Up to $200,000 in Cash and Prizes sponsored by the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes will be awarded at the conclusion of 2020 Fall Mack Days on Flathead Lake on November 15. There are three weeks left in the ten-week long event. It is not too late to join in and get your name in the lottery drawing that begins at $400 and goes to $1,000. Merchandise prizes will be cash prizes that begin at $50 and go up to $500! There will be no awards ceremony, because of precautions taken, due to COVID.
Tight lines everyone!