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Falls Mack Days event underway

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News from CSKT

FLATHEAD LAKE – The 2020 Fall Mack Days event began Tuesday, Sept. 8 and will end Sunday, Nov. 15. The event will be one week longer because the spring event was shortened, due to COVID-19.  

There will be up to $200,000 in cash and prizes awarded at the conclusion of the event. Mack Days are sponsored by the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes and are used as a management tool to reduce non-native lake trout in Flathead Lake.

There have been two $10,000 lake trout winners. Felix Gauci, of Stevensville, was the angler who caught the first $10,000 tagged lake trout on Oct. 25, 2014. Felix ended the event with 910 lake trout entries.  

Matt Guckenberg Sr., of Kalispell, caught the second $10,000 tagged lake trout on June 19, 2020. He received the news by phone with a chorus of staff voices hollering in the background “$10,000 lake trout.” He finished the event with a total of 892 lake trout entries.   

Tagging non-native lake trout in Flathead Lake for the bi-annual Mack Days fishing events began in 2007 with only two tagged fish turned in at the end of the event, but since then, a total of 2,276 tagged lake trout have been turned in. The record number for tagged fish during an event was during the 2012 spring event when 207-tagged lake trout were scanned. 

The 2020 spring event had a total of 71-tagged fish scanned. The high-dollar tagged lake trout are tagged a week or two before each event. Tagged fish not caught during previous events are revalued to $100-$500 values. For the 2020 event, there is one fish with a $10,000 tag; three tags are worth $5,000; and five tags are worth $1,000. 

Check out the rules and enter online at www.mackdays.com. Click on the event tab at the top of the page. Be sure and learn the different ways to identify bull trout and Westslope cutthroat trout, which are the native fish protected in Flathead Lake. Increasing the populations of the native fish is important to the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes and the people of Montana. Good luck and tight lines everyone.  

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