Monday, April 22, 2024

Blustery week two of Mack Days causes anglers to retreat

by CSKT Fisheries
| March 28, 2024 12:00 AM

Two weeks are in the books for the 2024 Spring Mack Days Fishing Event on Flathead Lake.

Mack Days are sponsored by the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes and sanctioned by Montana Fish, Wildlife, and Parks. The event continues through May 11 and anglers may enter at any time until the last day.

Mack Days anglers went from one weather extreme to another in the first two weeks of the nine-week-long event. The first weekend offered calm waters, sunny skies, and light winds and produced the third highest weekend of entries (5,644) since the events began in 2002.

Then along came the second weekend with rough water, waves coming over the sides of boats, blustery cold winds, snow and sleet. Fish totals on Friday came to 1,517; Saturday’s total was 697, with weather conditions chasing many anglers off the water by early afternoon. On Sunday the boat ramp at Blue Bay was vacant by 10 a.m. although some anglers made it out at the north end of the lake. The day’s total was 234 lake trout.

Turning in $100 tagged fish were Clint Speer and Collin Mitts, both of Kalispell. The $10,000 tagged lake trout, three $5,000 trout, and six $1,000 trout are still swimming.

Kolton and Bob Turner are still having 100-fish days, making their boat a fishing legend. Kolton has seven days of 100-fish tallies and Bob has six (plus one 99-fish day).

The Kalispell anglers are hoping to continue bringing full coolers with 100 lake trout each until the end of the event and they are having a good time while doing it. Kolton said they have a method when it is so cold of putting one line down in the water and keeping the other rod where it is warmed by a heater so the reels don’t freeze. When a line is brought up they switch out for the warm one!

Kolton is leading the Top Twenty anglers with a perfect 600 and Bob is in second with 599. Third is Jason Mahlen of Kalispell with 444 (including four 100-fish days); fourth is Jerry Benson of Plains with 359; and fifth is Tyler Varga of Kalispell with 327.

Brodie Smith of Kalispell is leading the 13-17 Category with 154. Lane Brazda of Missoula is in second with 14, and in third place is Kennedy Yang of Missoula with 12. 

The 12 and Under leader is Eli Yang of Missoula with 11; Mason Cusker of Bigfork is second with 4, Gage Spring of Alberton and James Kuchera of Kalispell each have 2.

Julie Perkins of Kalispell is leading the Lady Angler Category with 47; Melissa Triano of Bigfork is in second with 24; third is Jamie Caldwell of Kalispell with 13;  and Aryahna Stevenson and Connie Jones of Kalispell each have 11.

Michael Benson is leading the 70 and Over group with 288 fish; he’s followed by Felix Gauci with 253, Larry Ashwell of Missoula with 218, Jack Kirkland of Missoula with 132, and Terry Krogstad of Kalispell with 47.

The smallest lake trout were turned in by Kolton Turner with an entry of 166mm (6.5”) and Tristan Persico with a 210mm (8.33”) lake trout. Winners at the conclusion of the event receive $200.

There has been no large lake trout entry so far. Bretz RV and Marine sponsors a $500 award for the heaviest fish 36” or over and weighing 20 pounds or more.

The first of the three Bucket Days is Friday, March 29. Four of an angler’s largest lake trout, 30” or under, are put in a bucket and a weight is taken. The winner receives $200.

Winners of the second Weekend Drawing were: Kolton Turner, $200; and Kolton Turner, Bob Turner, Gene Corne, and Joe Minnehan, who each received $100.

We are hoping for warmer weather in the next weeks of the event, which helps reduce the numbers of the non-native lake trout in Flathead Lake. Be weather alert while on the water, have proper safety equipment, and keep cell phones dry. Be safe out there!

Entries continue to be taken until the end of the event. We apologize, our website is currently under reconstruction. Please send your entry with name, mailing address, telephone number, and age if 70 & Over to or call 406-270-3386. You can also enter at the end of a day of fishing when you turn in your catch.