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Flathead Lake ice pushes back Mack Days fishing contest

Posted at 2:58 PM, Mar 21, 2019
and last updated 2019-03-21 18:20:10-04

Organizers say the recent warming has not been enough to thaw Flathead Lake in time for the annual “Mack Days” event, officially delaying it. (MTN News)

KALISPELL – Organizers say the recent warming has not been enough to thaw Flathead Lake in time for the annual “Mack Days” event, officially delaying it.

Organizers of the big fishing contest say Blue, Skidoo and Big Arm bays are still iced in, and don’t expect to see blue water there for another few days.

They add that the campground they use is full of snow, as crews are trying to plow out a few sites, but warn that accommodations will be limited.

The event will now run from March 22 to May 19.

Confederated Salish and Kootenei Tribes Fishery Specialist Cindy Benson says in her 16 years with the event, she has never seen ice on Flathead Lake this late into the season, and adds while the event is also meant for fun, it is also a crucial to balance the lake’s ecosystem.

“It’s used as a tool to try to manage the non-native lake trout in Flathead Lake down to get their numbers to reduce so that the native trout, the lake trout and the bull trout excuse me, not the lake trout, the bull trout and the west slope cutthroat trout, will hopefully rebound in their numbers will start increasing out there,” Benson said.

Fish caught can be taken home by anglers or donated to local food banks.

This year there is over $250,000 available in prizes for various winners.