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CSKT kicks off spring Mack Days


March 24, 2022

Courtesy Photo

Tristin Persico of Missoula caught a 28-pound lake trout during the opening weekend of the Spring Mack Days event.

The 2022 Spring Mack Days event began on last weekend with a total of 669 lake trout turned in. Fridays fish total was 1,077, Saturday's was 888, and 528 fish were turned in on a cold and blustery Sunday. The first weekends total including Thursday comes to 3,162 lake trout entries. Ninety-two anglers out of four hundred thirty entered turned in one or more lake trout.

Mack Days began in 2002 and are used by the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes (CSKT) as a tool to reduce the number of non-native lake trout in Flathead Lake and help increase the number of native bull trout and westslope cutthroat. This is the 40th Mack Days event for CSKT.

There is Up to $225,000 in cash and prizes that will be awarded at the conclusion of 2022 Spring Mack Days. There are many ways to win including weekend drawings. This first weekend $200 was won by angler Sam Cusker of Bigfork. Winners of the $100 drawing included Bob Turner, Kolton Turner, Hank McLeod and Jason Mahlen all of Kalispell. There are also lake trout tagged and worth values of $100 to $10,000.

Winning $200 with tagged lake trout during the first weekend of the Spring event were Missoula anglers Scott Bombard and Chris Demmons, Kalispell anglers Jimmy Jones and Jason Mahlen, Kobe Cox from Charlo, and Justin Spring of Alberton. Jim Bilodeau of Kalispell turned in a $100 tagged lake trout. All of the prizes that are available are listed on the website

Seven-time Spring Mack Days winner Jason Mahlen of Kalispell turned in two perfect 100 fish days Friday and Saturday and another 40 fish entries on Sunday to lead in the event with a total of 240. Kolton Turner of Kalispell, who won the 2021 Spring event, is in second with 210 entries, Bob Turner is third with 179, foruth is Mike Benson of Lonepine with 160, fifth is Sam Cusker with 125, sixth is Larry Karper of Florence with 107 fish, seventh is Larry Ludahl of Kalispell with 83, Travis Banyai of Kalispell is in eighth place with 74, Tom Kemppainen of Columbia Falls is ninth with 66 and Steve Benson of Spokane Valley, Washington, rounds out the Top 10 with 64 lake trout entries.

Julie Perkins of Kalispell leads the ladies with 12 lake trout entries, in second is Connie Jones of Kalispell with nine, Rebecca Spring of Alberton and Liev Smith of Charlo have two fish each and Angela Tennison of Kalispell has one lake trout entry.

In the age 12 and under category, Wyatt Best of Florence has five entries and Gage Spring of Alberton has one lake trout entry. Matt Guckenberg, Jr., of Kalispell lead anglers age 13-17 with 12 fish, and Karson Cox of Charlo has three.

Benson's 160 entries leads the over 70 category, Karper is in second with 107, third is Larry Ashwell of Missoula with 60 fish, in fourth place is Jack Kirkland of Missoula with 45 and Florence angler John Gauci is fifth with 28 lake trout.

A large lake trout entry was brought in by Tristin Persico of Missoula, whose lake trout measured 38.25 inches and weighed in at 23 pounds. Smallest lake trout entries so far are from Kolton Turner with a 169mm (6.5") entry and Mike Benson with a 208mm (8") entry.


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