By Dillon Tabish, 9-18-12
||Caption: Jon Knoepke of Plains holds his 39.5 inch, 20.6-pound lake trout he caught at last spring's Mack Days fishing competition. - Courtesy photo
The hunt for the $10,000 trout is about to begin again.
The 2012 Fall Mack Days fishing event on Flathead Lake starts Sept. 21 and ends Nov. 11. Up to $125,000 in cash and prizes will be awarded to anglers at the conclusion of the 28-day event. There are over 3,500 tagged lake trout in the lake this year, according to organizers. One lake trout is tagged and worth $10,000. Five trout are worth $5,000, 10 are worth $1,000 and the remainder will be worth between $100-$500. Anglers can fish for lake trout on any number of Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays for eight weekends plus 10 straight days Nov. 2 through Nov. 11. Every lake trout entered equals an entry in the lottery drawing for prizes. There is no entry fee for the event.
This year's event features a new competition. For three days — Sept. 28, Oct. 20 and Nov. 4 — prizes will be given for the four heaviest fish under 30 inches entered from a boat. The four entries are to be tagged or identified with some kind of marking before coming through the door. Fish will be put in a bucket and one weight per boat will be taken. No changes will be made to entrie because of time limits and points given based on weight. The top weight on those three days will win $200. Overall prizes of $500, $400 and $300 will be given at the end of the event. Rules will be posted on the website later.
The Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes sponsor the event, which is sanctioned by Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks. Mack Days Events are used as a tool to slowly reduce the number of non-native lake trout in Flathead Lake.
The smallest lake trout entry continues to be a popular category with two $250 prizes given. There is a largest lake trout prize of $500 for the heaviest entry. The "ladies only" category attracts more ladies every event, according to organizers. Top prize for the ladies is $300, with $200 going to second place and $100 to third place based on overall totals at the end of the event. Other categories are youth, captains, weekend and golden angler (70 years and over). The final day has separate prizes from $500-$100. There are also prizes for the Top 10 Anglers based on their best 15 out of 27 days of fishing. The last day — Nov. 11 — does not count for top 10 but does count for bonuses. Top 10 cash prizes are from $700-$200. Bonuses accumulate as the anglers total goes up. The higher the number of lake trout entered the more anglers will receive for a bonus amount.
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