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by Clark Fork Valley Press
March 26, 2020 9:24 AM

The 2020 Spring Mack Days Fishing Event sponsored by the Confederated

Salish and Kootenai Tribes began on March 20 th and continues until May 17 th .

There is Up to $225,000 in Cash and Prizes that will be awarded at the

conclusion of the event. Because of the coronavirus, at this time there will be no

Awards Ceremony or Fish Fry on the last day of the event. Therefore, cash

awards will be given in place of the merchandise prizes. Anglers can fish one day

or every day. All it takes is one fish entry to win in the lottery style drawing that

begins at $450 and goes to $1000. As angler’s fish totals go up, they earn bonus

dollars that will also be awarded. Please visit the website

for more information on the changes to 2020 Spring Mack Days event.

One hundred thirty four anglers turned in a total of 5,387 lake trout entries the

first weekend. The 2019 Spring Event first weekend total was much smaller

because of ice issues all around the lake, where all boat ramps were iced in and

the event had been postponed for one week-first weekend. The first weekend

total in 2019 was only 2,052 fish. However, the total at the end of the 2019 event

was the largest in the history of ALL the events with 40,362 total lake trout

entries. The second weekend in 2019 was the largest of the event with 4,846.

The previous record for the first weekend was in 2017, when 6,138 lake trout

were entered. Weather is a huge factor that effects Mack Days events, it can

change in a minute out on the lake. Please be sure and check weather reports

before going out on the water!

Jason Mahlen, a Kalispell angler and six-time first place winner in Spring Mack

Days event is leading the top ten anglers. It was a four-way tie after the first day

with Michael Benson of Lonepine, Larry Karper of Florence, and Scott Bombard

of Missoula matching Jason’s total of 100 fish entries. The current limit listed in

the CSKT regulations for lake trout caught per day is 100 fish for Flathead Lake.

The second day Larry’s boat motor gave out with him turning in early with 40 fish

entries. Benson and Bombard again matched Jason’s total with 100 each. On

Sunday, it was Jason with 100, M. Benson with 61, and Scott with 60 fish entries.

Confederated Salish & Kootenai Tribes

Natural Resources Department

Division of Fish, Wildlife, Recreation & Conservation

P.O. Box 278

Pablo, MT 59855

 (406) 675-2700 extension 7241

Scott Mahlen turned in 100 on Sunday matching his brother’s total and Sam

Cusker of Bigfork, also turned in 100 fish enteries.

Top ten anglers at this time are: Jason Mahlen-300-1st, Michael Benson-261-

2nd, Scott Bombard-260-3rd, Kolton Turner-243-4 th , Sam Cusker-233-5 t , Ken

Varga-Kalispell-228-6 th , John Gauci-Florence-188-7 th , Jerry Benson-Plains-186-

8 th , Tyler Varga-Kalispell-183-9 th , and Bob Turner-Kalispell-178-10 th .

Anglers in 11 th to 20 th place will be awarded cash prizes for the first time on the

last day of the 2020 Event. Scott Mahlen is currently 11 th with 150, 12 th -Larry

Karper-140, 13 th Terry Krogstad-Kalispell-114, 14 th Julie Perkins-Kalispell-111,

15 th Shannon Brownlee-Lolo-105, 16 th Larry Ashwell-Missoula-103, 17 th Morgan

Amdahl-Kalispell-101, 18 th Jack Kirkland-Missoula-74, 19 th Thomas Kemppainen-

Columbia Falls-64, 20 th Andy Reed-Kalispell-63.

Julie Perkins leads the Ladies Category with 111, 2 nd Debbie Paine-Polson-43, 3 rd

Connie Jones-Kalispell-33, 4 th Janet Iverson-Bigfork-14 and Jenny Stratton-

Kalispell and Jenny Perth of Missoula are tied with 7 for 5 th place.

Matt Guckenberg Jr. of Kalispell in the 17 and Under Category had some bad

luck during the weekend, losing a custom made rod and a good reel overboard.

Imagine the feeling of seeing a rod go over board and slowly sinking out of sight,

especially if it is a special setup like that was. Matt has 58 entries, 2 nd Brodie

Smith of Kalispell with 29, Allison Hotchkiss of Missoula-3 rd with 11, John Ross

Jr. of Stevensville is in 4 th with 6, Emmett Ludahl of Kalispell-2, and Alex

Hotchkiss of Missoula have 2 and are in 5 th place.

Mike Ross of Stevensville leads the 12 & Under with 8, Tsimmeej Yang of

Missoula is in 2 nd with 7, Arley Grandchamp of Pablo is 3 rd with 2.

Tagged lake trout with $200 value were turned in by Travis Tennison-Kalispell,

Matt Guckenberg Sr.-Kalispell( X 2), Shane Stratton-Kalispell(X 2), and Bob

Bochee-Missoula. Those with $100 tagged fish were: Connie Jones, Bob

Stewart-Kalispell, Shannon Brownlee, Jack Kirkland, Jason Newton-Polson, Sou

Thao-Florence, Chris Demmons-Missoula, Storm Kemmpainen-Columbia Falls,

Cory Hauser-Kalispell, Toby Thompson-Bigfork, Bob Christenson-Missoula,

Jenny Perth, Mike Colyer-Missoula, Mike Ferda-Whitefish, Scott Mahlen, Travis

Tennison-Kalispell, Jack Kirkland, and Jade Smith-Charlo.

Come out and enjoy lake trout fishing on Flathead Lake. Entries are taken until

the last day of the event. Again, we ask anglers that when you are turning in fish,

watch that you don’t crowd in, in order to minimize viral transmission. Please

take turns coming into the check-in stations.

Go to or telephone 406-270-3386 for information. Click on

the events tab at the top of the page for drop downs with information. If you have

any questions or concerns, please contact Cindy Benson at 883-2888, extension