Monday, May 27, 2024

Mack Days: Just two weeks left

by CSKT Fisheries
| May 1, 2024 12:00 AM

Anglers fishing the 2024 Spring Mack Days Fishing Event have increased the total number of lake trout entries to 29,228, slightly more than the 2023 total of 28,176 at the end of week seven, and less than the 2019 record breaker, which was 31,163 at week seven and 40,362 overall.

Friday’s total was 1,405, Saturday’s was 1,227, and Sunday’s catch was 687. The Monday-to-Thursday total was 3,334.

One hundred seventy-two anglers have turned in one or more lake trout entries so far. Every lake trout entry counts in this conservation effort to reduce non-native lake trout in Flathead Lake, sponsored by the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes and sanctioned by Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks.

Up to $225,000 in cash and prizes that will be awarded at the conclusion of the event. Anglers can enter at any time, and just one entry gives them a chance in the lottery drawings that begin at $100 and go up to $2,000.

The $10,000 tagged lake trout, called Leto (Hidden One0, is still dwelling in the depths of Flathead Lake. There are also three $5,000, and six $1,000 tagged fish, plus more than 9,000 with values from $100-$500.

Collin Weymer of Bonners Ferry, Kolton Turner of Kalispell, Deno Thomas of Polson and Shirley Batz of Kalispell turned in tagged fish worth $100 last week, while Michael Benson of Lonepine turned in a $200 tagged lake trout.

Top Twenty anglers are still led by Kolton Turner with 1,975 lake trout entries; he has turned in 100 fish 19 days out of the 20 days he has fished and has one 75-fish day. Top Ten Anglers are placed by their best 18-day average at the conclusion of the event, so Kolton now has an 18-day average of 100. Only one other angler has ever hit the 100 18-day average, that was Jason Mahlen in 2019. 

Kolton’s father, Robert, is in second place with 1,832, and has posted 12 100-fish days for a 95.28 average. Jason Mahlen of Kalispell is in third with 1,705; he also has 12 100-fish days for a 92.89 average. Clint Speer of Kalispell is in fourth with 1,152 and fifth place is Gene Corne of Kalispell with 1,021.

Julie Perkins of Kalispell is in first place in the Ladies Category with 263 lake trout entries, followed by Shirley Batz of Kalispell with 91, Corrine McCubbins of Kalispell with 79, and Melissa Triano of Bigfork with 24; Janine Kowalski of Florence and Connie Jones of Kalispell are tied for fifth with 17 entries.

Youth angler Brodie Smith of Kalispell holds first in the 13-17 Category with 398 entries, followed by Kennedy Yang of Missoula with 31; Eli Yang of Missoula is leading the 12 & Under with 31 lake trout entries, followed by Mason Cusker of Bigfork with 4.

Jack Kirkland’s large fish entry is still the largest lake trout so far in the event. It measured 42 inches and weighed in at 24.4 lbs., and is at the head of the line for the $500 award sponsored by Bretz RV and Marine. Smallest lake trout entered so far is Gene Corne’s 164mm (6.5”) trout. There is a three-way tie for second between Jason Mahlen, Gene Corne and Kolton Turner, who each turned in 166mm lakers.

The third Bucket Day is Sunday, May 5. The over-all bucket will be chosen on points. At this point, contenders include Rick Skates of Polson with 14 points and Matthew/Colin Mitts of Kalispell and Cole Williams of Kalispell with 10 points each.

There are only two weeks remaining in this nine-week long event, which concludes on Saturday, May 11. Call 406-270-3386 to enter or enter at the end of the day when you turn in your catch. Anglers can keep their catch or donate the fish to be processed.

Fish from a boat or from shore, tay alert to changing weather, and keep cell phones dry!