Monday, February 26, 2024

Roll out the reels for Spring Mack Days

| March 16, 2023 12:00 AM

It’s time to bring out the reels, poles, and lures and start planning and organizing for Spring Mack Days, starting March 16 and continuing through May 13. Sponsored by the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes and sanctioned by Montana Fish, Wildlife, and Parks, this event is used as a tool to reduce the non-native lake trout in Flathead Lake and increase the native bull trout and westslope cutthroat populations.

“Most of the world is covered by water. A fisherman’s job is simple: Pick out the best parts,” writes Charles Waterman.

During nine weeks of lake trout fishing on Flathead Lake, registered anglers have ample opportunities to catch a tagged lake trout and/or win one of the lottery drawings with up to $225,000 available in in cash and prizes.

More than 9,000 tagged lake trout have been released in all parts of the lake, with values ranging from $100 to $10,000. They get caught from boats, docks or the shore.

Businesses are encouraged to sponsor a tagged lake trout or a merchandise award, which they can put a name on and an amount from $100-$10,000.

Anglers fish Mondays to Thursdays for tagged fish and bonus totals, and Fridays to Sundays for lottery, tagged fish, bonuses, and special categories including top angler.

Register on or before March 15 and enter at least one lake trout during the event to be eligible for a $200 cash drawing; anglers may register any time during the event.

The top 20 anglers will be honored at the close of Mack Days on May 13.

“These are the hardcore men and women who fish every day from sun-up to sun-down for as many days as they can,” says Stephanie Gillin, information and education program manager. “They put a lot of effort, money, and time into the events helping us to achieve successful numbers of lake trout entries.”

Those who excel “are out in all kinds of weather,” she adds. “They come prepared and ready to fish!”

Flathead Lake regulations allow for two poles per person with two hooks. Many anglers jig off the lake bottom during the spring event at depths ranging from 120 to 200 feet. There are fishing tips on the website, and local tackle shops are a good source for advice.

Awards are given for Largest Lake Trout over 36” and 20 pounds (sponsored by Bretz RV and Marine), Smallest Lake trout, Captain’s Prizes, Weekend Prizes, Bucket Days and more.

Trout must be turned in on the same day they are caught.

Check out the prize list and register online at or email your entry to Include name, address, telephone number and age. For questions or comments call 406-270-3386.

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