Anglers have turned in a total of 30,963 lake trout entries so far in the 2019 Spring Mack Days event, which is on pace to be record setting. The competition runs until May 19.
Totals for last weekend were 1,546-Friday, 1,444-Saturday, and 904 on a rough Sunday.
Friday's catch included a 38.5-inch lake trout caught by Ken Varga. He was reeling in a smaller lake trout on a fly when the large one came out of the depths and hit his jig.
The larger lake trout did not have enough girth to weigh in over 24 pounds, which is the weight a large lake trout has to weigh to qualify for prize money. Varga's lake trout weighed in at 22.15 pounds. Anglers can choose to keep one large lake trout over 36 inches a day or they can release the fish after weigh in.
Jason Mahlen of Kalispell continues to set the bar in this event. He has set a new record for a 15-day average which will be hard to compete with in future years. His lake trout total is 1,679 with 11 100-fish days and a new record average of 94.47 pounds.
Kolton Turner, also of Kalispell, has a total of 1,530 fish with a 90-pound average and six 100-fish days. 3) David McDaniel with 1,307 and 73.07; 4) Bob Turner with 1,233 and 75.87; 5) Mike Benson of Lonepine with 1,108 and 67.4; 6) Scott Mahlen of Kalispell has 1,003 with a 60.87 average; 7) Jerry Benson of Plains with 924 and 58.4; 8) Ken Varga, Kalispell, with 880 and 57; 9) Matt Guckenberg Sr. of Kalispell with 777 and 49.6; 10) Steve Benson of Spokane Valley with 770 and 50.52.
Lady angler Julie Perkins of Kalispell has a total of 531 entries which is also a new record for a ladies spring total. Leah Banyai of Kalispell is in second with 306; 3) Connie Jones of Kalispell with 105: 4) Debbie Paine of Polson with 100; and 5) Lisa Cloo of Clinton has a total of 56.
The Over 70 Anglers are following first-place Larry Karper of Florence with 466; 2) Larry Ashwell of Missoula with 378; 3) Gary Perleberg of Bigfork with 237; 4) John Gauci of Florence with 158; and 5) Roger Brewer of Kalispell with 36.
Matt Guckenberg Jr. of Kalispell has a total of 513 in the 13-17 category for first. Emmett Ludahl of Kalispell is at 27, and Abby Hodgson of Kalispell has 20. Brodie Smith of Kalispell is leading the other Youth Category with 122, Fjord Borgen of Columbia Falls has 37 in second, third is Fisher Whitaker of Kalispell with 33, HD of Arlee has 17 for fourth, and fifth is Gunner Whitaker with 12.
The heaviest bucket of lake trout — the four largest lake trout in a bucket — on May 5 was turned in by the Paine/Nelson boat with a total weight of 19.4 pounds; 2) J/C Jones with 16 pounds; 3) Torran Lawson of St. Ignatius with 15.9.
Turning in $100 tagged lake trout the seventh week were: Kalispell anglers Hank McLeod, Bob Turner, Jason Mahlen, and lucky Florence angler John Gauci with two $100 tags out of 14 fish entries on Friday.
The $10,000 tagged lake trout is still in the lake. So are the other higher dollar tagged lake trout: three worth $5,000 each and five worth $1,000 apiece. Tagged lake trout have been released in all areas of Flathead Lake.
Up to $225,000 in cash and prizes will be awarded on the last day of the event. It is not too late to get entries in the lottery drawing and be eligible for one of the many prizes. More than 9,000 tagged lake trout with values from $10,000 to $100 are swimming in Flathead Lake. Go to www.mackdays.com and click under the events tab for more information.