Thursday, May 13, 2021

Mack Days $10K lake trout still in Flathead Lake

by Clark Fork Valley Press
| April 28, 2021 12:00 AM

The $10,000 tagged lake trout, also known as JAWS, is still hanging about somewhere in Flathead Lake.

The elusive and highly sought-after lake trout. Anglers are also trying their best to lure the three $5,000 and five $$1,000 lake trout to the end of their lines.

More than 9,000 lake trout have values from $100 to $500.

Kalispell angler Travis Banyai hooked a $500 tagged fish and Tristin Persico of Missoula came in with a $200 tagged lake trout over the past week.

Catching $100 tagged fish were Kalispell anglers Jason Mahlen and Ken Varga, and Missoula fishermen Mark McMillin and Jack Kirkland.

Three weeks are left in the 2021 Spring Mack Days Fishing Event sponsored by the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes. Up to $225,000 in cash and prizes will be awarded at the conclusion of the event.

Anglers have been given the opportunity to participate in the events to reduce the non-native lake trout in Flathead Lake and increase the populations of native bull trout and westslope cutthroat trout.

The events are one of the tools used to reduce the invasive lake trout. Mack Days includes fall and spring events. This is the 38th Mack Days event and 19th spring event.

The events have always been weather dependent-this event has had an overabundance of wind and cold making for long days on the water and lower numbers of entries.

Totals change fast with the daily 100 lake trout limit.

First and second place is a fish race along with fourth and fifth place. Kolton Turner of Kalispell is holding on to a narrow lead for first with 1,258 lake trout.

Right behind him is Jason Mahlen with 1,252. Top 10 anglers will be placed on their best 18-day average at the end of the last day on May 16.

Bob Turner of Kalispell is third with 1,034, Steve Benson of Spokane Valley has 646 for fourth, Lonepine's Mike Benson is fifth with 644, in sixth is Sam Cusker of Bigfork with 628, in seventh is Ken Varga with 590, son Tyler Varga is eighth with 556, in ninth is Banyai with 531, and in 10th is Scott Bombard, of Missoula, with 517.

Larry Karper of Florence is first in the 70-and-over with 486 and 11th in the standings. Jack Kirkland of Missoula is second with 401 and 12th in the standings, in third is Larry Ashwell of Missoula with 305, in fourth is Marty Heraknof Polson with 134, in fifth is Don Peters of Missoula with 42, in sixth is Lloyd Kelch of Great Falls with 32, in seventh is Wes Wilkinson of Kalispell-29, eighth place goes to Roy Hassinger of Kalispell with 12, ninth is Conn Hodgson of Kalispell with 10, and 10th is Roger Brewer of Kalispell with four lakers.

Julie Perkins of Kalispell is first in the lady angler category with 227, second is Connie Jones of Kalispell with 52, third is Nicole Peters of Missoula-35, fourth is Lisa Cloo-Clinton-30, and fifth Debbie Paine of Polson with 29.

Matt Guckenberg Jr. of Kalispell is first by a large margin in the 13-17 Category with 241.

Brodie Smith of Kalispell is first in the 12-and-under with 203, second and third Tripp Bick of Arlee-5 and Henry Phan of Kalispell, fourth is Martin Phan Kalispell-3, and fifth is Gage Spring of Alberton with 2.

A total of 19,763 lake trout entries have been turned in. Friday to Sunday total is 18,084 and the Monday to Thursday total is 1,679. Friday's total was 938, Saturday-779, and Sunday 625.

Sunday, May 2 is the final day of the Bucket Competition. Anglers weigh in their heaviest four lake trout in a bucket.

Entries continue to be taken until the last day of the event.

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