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Spring Mack Days end


Days Fishing Event on Flathead Lake sponsored by the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes ended on June 28 with a total of 27,331 lake trout entries. The six week-long event was three weeks shorter than any other spring event but the weekly average total of 4,555 is higher than previous years, which range from 3,804 to 4,484 entries. Two hundred thirty-four anglers turned in one or more lake trout entries. 

Up to $225,000 is awarded to anglers in different categories. Top Ten angler winner was Jason Mahlen of Kalispell who has been Top Angler six times in past events. Mahlen’s total was 1,381 and his 12-day average was 99.92. Top Ten anglers are placed by their best 12-day average. A counting error or an escaped lake trout kept him from having a perfect 100 average. On one day when he turned in his catch there were 99 fish in the cooler not the 100 he thought he had. That error has happened before to anglers and is very disappointing at the end of a long day of fishing. He did have 11 days of 100 limits during the event which is phenomenal. Not many anglers can reach that number day after day.

There are a few anglers who may give him a race in the future. Sam Cusker of Bigfork came in at 1,133 and 89.42 average. Sam had seven 100-fish days. Third place winner is Kolton Turner of Kalispell with 1,348 and 89.17 average. It was a close race there.  He had two 100-fish days and five in the nineties. Bob Turner of Kalispell was fourth with 1,194 and average of 80.59. He had two perfect days. Mike Benson of Lonepine is fifth with 1,110 and four perfect days and a 79.34 average. Matt Guckenberg Sr. of Kalispell came in sixth with 790 and 62.84 with one perfect 100, Jack Kirkland of Missoula is seventh with 815 and 61.75, eighth Larry Karper of Florence 735 and 57.59, ninth Ken Varga of Kalispell with 601 and 48.34, and tenth Larry Ashwell of Missoula with 668 and 47.34.

Ladies winner was Julie Perkins of Kalispell with 360, second Nicole Peters of Missoula with 86, third Connie Jones of Kalispell with 59, Debbie Paine of Polson is fourth with 49, and fifth Laurie Kreis of Florence with 47.

Future anglers who will be soon giving the adults a run for top places spend hours on the boats in all kinds of weather fishing alongside their parents. These young anglers love fishing and being out on the water. They even out-fish the adults on some days, which makes the adults proud but is like watching your teenager drive off by themselves the first time. Matt Guckenberg Jr. of Kalispell wins the 13-17 Category with 403, second Leah Banyai of Kalispell with 41, Wyatt Thompson of Bigfork is third with 35, Alden Wood of Kalispell has 24 for fourth and fifth are Shalaki Soukup of Polson and Madison Mahlen of Kalispell. Brodie Smith of Kalispell was first in the 12 and Under Category with 180 entries, second Colton Marrone of Kalispell with 102, and Waylon Jochim of Missoula is third with 35.

Larry Karper won the 70 and Over Category with his 735 and Larry Ashwell was second with 668. They both won in the Top Ten Category so first place goes to Don Peters of Missoula with 112 and second place went to Ralph Johnson of Columbia Falls with 33. There were several anglers in the 80 plus age group fishing in the event. Ralph happens to be one of them-he is an excellent angler and has been competing for several years.  

Paul Jochim won the Largest Fish Category with his 38.5 inch 25.25 lb. lake trout. Smallest Fish winners were Larry Ashwell of Missoula with a 166mm (6.5”) lake trout and Ellis Surratt of Huson with a 155mm (6”) laker.

Winners of Siberian Coolers were Marty Herak of Polson for Monday through Thursday and Felix Gauci of Stevensville for the Friday to Sunday fishing.

Morgan Amdahl of Kalispell with 132 entries and Toby Thompson of Bigfork with 198 entries were drawn first and are $1,000 winners in the lottery drawing. Young Cooper Harris of Richmond, Virginia, with 23 entries was a $600 winner, and John Malatare of Arlee with seven entries was a $500 lottery prize winners. Thirty-five lottery drawing winners were done electronically. First winner in the cash instead of merchandise group goes to Josh Morigeau of Helena, $500. There were 32 cash prizes drawn also electronically. Go to for a complete list of prize winners.

2020 Fall Mack Days will begin September 8 and end on November 15.


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