Sunday, December 10, 2023

Fall Mack Days posts final results

by Stephanie Gillin
| November 23, 2022 12:00 AM

The 2022 Fall Mack Days event, sponsored by the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes, is in the books. During the fall contest, 13,901 lake trout were entered. Up to $200,000 in cash and prizes were available to win in several categories and drawings were held throughout the competition to encourage anglers while they helped reduce numbers of non-native lake trout in Flathead Lake.

The final week was a rough one for the lake trout anglers. Weather turned cold and snow fell in many areas. Fishing when the temperatures are below freezing makes for some long days. Ice forms on everything in the boat, making it a skating rink by the time they come in at the end of the day. Reels, fingers, and lines freeze and icicles form on the fishing rods. The cold, wet breeze that came off the water was unrelenting. It made for fewer anglers on the water and shorter hours for the ones that did fish.

Friday’s total came to 233 entries, Saturday brought 127 entries, and Sunday, 98 entries, for a weekend total of 458 lake trout. One $100 tagged lake trout was turned in during the ninth week by Jack Kirkland of Missoula. All of the higher valued lake trout will be reassigned lower numbers before the spring event and new lake trout will be tagged with values of $1,000 and more.

Mike Benson of Lonepine took first place for the ninth time among the Top Ten Anglers, with a total of 1,150 lake trout entries and 18-day average of 54.72. Second place goes to Larry Ashwell of Missoula with 931 and 44.89 average. Larry fished the first Mack Days Event in 2002 and has been a top contender ever since. Also placing: third, Felix Gauci of Stevensville with 767 entries and a 42.61 average; fourth, Jerry Benson of Plains, with 645 entries and a 33.89 avg.; fifth, Terry Krogstad of Kalispell, with 665 entries and a 30.89 avg.; sixth, Scott Bombard of Missoula, with 528 entries and a 29.33 avg.; seventh, Larry Karper of Florence with 510 entries and a 28.33 avg.; eighth, Julie Perkins of Kalispell with 511 entries and a 26.22 avg.; ninth, Richard Kreis of Huson with 500 entries and a 23.28 avg.; and tenth, David McDaniel of Polson with 440 entries and a 23.28 avg.

Laurie Kreis of Huson topped the ladies’ category with 339 entries, followed by Kim Mack of Helena with 129, Janet Myer of Riverton, Wyo., with 93, Debby Sacchi of Thompson Falls with 35, and Connie Jones with 14 entries.

Ali Putzler of Kalispell won the 13-17 age group with six entries and William Grob of Missoula won the 12 and Under category with 20 entries. Jack Kirkland of Missoula bested the 70 and Over category with 376 entries, followed by John Gauci of Florence with 260, Mike Cosby of Thompson Falls with 87, Marty Herak of Polson with 75 and Glenn Hoffman of Missoula with 62 entries.

Weekend winners were: Bryan Long of Kalispell, $200; receiving $100 were Bryan Long, Jack Kirkland, and David McDaniel.

Carey Hauser of Lakeside caught the largest lake trout, measuring 21 pounds and 36.5 inches ($500). Smallest lake trout award goes to Jim Flinchbaugh of Kalispell and Mark McMillin of Missoula ($250 each). Prizes and awards will be posted on the website,

Stay tuned for Spring Mack Days, March 17-May 15.

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