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Shelter Island

Waves crash the beach on Shelter Island in Flathead Lake.

A total of 13,549 lake trout had been turned in by 148 lake trout anglers at the end of the third weekend of the 2019 Spring Mack Days on Flathead Lake, sponsored by the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes.

Friday's total came to 1,873, Saturday was a cooler day with 1,215 entries, and a blustery Sunday total with rain and wind came to 1,044. Anglers will also be fishing Tuesdays through Sundays until the end of the event. Tuesday-Thursday are for totals and tagged lake trout. Friday to Sunday is the main competition for prizes and cash for the event.

Steve Benson of Spokane Valley, Washington, was fortunate and turned in lake trout with $500, $200, and $100 values over the week. 

Cory Speer of Spirit Lake, Idaho, was lucky on Friday catching two $200 tagged lake trout plus his rod and reel was retrieved from the rocky bottom of the lake by fishing partner Ron Timlick of Kalispell after it went over the edge of the boat. William Zimmerman, Missoula, and David McDaniel, of Polson, also turned in $200 tagged lake trout. David Perleberg of Bigfork, and Kalispell anglers Matt Guckenberg, Ken Varga, and Tyler Varga (two-$100), and angler Larry Karper of Florence all turned in $100 tagged lake trout. Another rescue cast by Matt Guckenberg Sr. ended with Matt Jr.’s line retrieved on Sunday along with the lake trout that pulled it out.

Moving into first place in the Top 10 Angler Category is Kolton Turner of Kalispell who has turned in 677 lake trout entries. Jason Mahlen, of Kalispell, is in second place with 670 entries. Third place is Mike Benson, of Lonepine, with 571 entries. Fourth place is David McDaniel, of Polson, with 552 entries. Fifth place is Bob Turner, of Kalispell, with 501 entries. Sixth place is Ken Varga, of Kalispell, with 472 entries. Seventh place is Tyler Varga, of Kalispell, with 439 entries. Eighth place is Jerry Benson, of Plains, with 423 entries, and tied anglers sitting in ninth and 10th place are Matt Guckenberg, of Kalispell, and Scott Bombard, of Missoula, both with 363 entries.

Totals can change fast during the event, daily limit of lake trout is 100 per day. Turning in 100 the past weekend were Jason Mahlen, Felix Gauci, and Ken Varga. 

Julie Perkins, of Kalispell, has 176 entries to lead the Ladies Category. Leah Banyai, of Kalispell, is in second place with 149 entries. Connie Jones, of Kalispell, has 49 entries for third place. Debbie Paine, of Polson, has 32 entries for fourth place. And fifth place angler Courtney Chisler, of Kalispell, has turned in 24 lake trout.

Golden Angler Larry Karper, of Florence, has the lead in the 70 & Over group with 195 entries. Second and third place goes to Larry Ashwell, of Missoula, and John Gauci, of Florence, with 113 entries. Gary Perleberg, of Bigfork, is in fourth place with 97 entries, and Bob Christensen, of Missoula, is sitting in fifth place with 17 entries.

The 12 & Under group still has Fisher Whitaker, of Kalispell, leading with 22. Gunner Whitaker has 10 for second, Brodie Smith, of Missoula, has eight for third. HD, of Arlee, has five for fourth. In fifth place is Mike Ross, of Stevensville, with three entires.

Matt Guckenberg Jr. is in the lead in the 13-17 Category with 166, Leah Banyai has 149, and Abby Hodgson, of Kalispell, has 17, John Ross Jr., of Stevensville, has three, and Austen Elverud, of St. Ignatius, has two.

Go to www.mackdays.com for information. Entries will be accepted until the last day.

Jigging is the preferred method of angling in the spring with numbers of smaller fish higher. Check out the fishing tips/videos on the website. For questions, call 406-883-2888 ext. 7294 or 406-270-3386. 

The famous $10,000 tagged lake trout is still in the depths of the lake. He was nicknamed Bubbles by Mountain Wahl of the fisheries staff and he is still the most wanted fish in Flathead Lake along with other lake trout that have tags valued at $5,000-three, $1,000-five, and more than 9,000 with $500-$100 tags. 

This event is used to reduce the nonnative lake trout in Flathead Lake. Currently, 469 anglers have entered this year’s event.

Up to $225,000 in cash and prizes will be awarded on May 19 during the fish fry event at the BlueBay headquarters.

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