Imagine having fun in a fishing tournament open to everyone, turning in your fish and then later being told you cashed in big time.

That's what happened to an angler last week during the Spring Mack Days Lake Trout Fishing Tournament, which was postponed in March due to COVID-19 and then rescheduled. The tourney is on through June 28. There are no entry fees and anyone can register to compete right up until the last day.

The huge cash catch has nothing to do with the size of the fish or how many were caught. The tourney sponsors, the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes, have "tagged" a number of lake trout. It's not really too conspicuous of a tag. The lake trout are not wearing "I'm a tagged fish" t-shirts. But officials can verify whether it's been tagged or not at the check-in stations.

In that massive lake with millions of fish, there was one, and only one, fish with a $10,000 tag in it. That fish was turned in last Friday. Congratulations to that angler. What an amazing bit of news that must have been.  As the CSK tribes like to say, "all it takes is one fish to win." And sure enough.

Mack Days is sanctioned by Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks. There's up to $215,000  in cash and prizes still out there: (3) $5,000 & (5) $1000 + nearly (6,000) $500-$100 tagged lake trout.

You can fish the entire lake. And while they love to have young anglers involved, they cannot come in too close at this time. Please help keep your families at a safe distance. If this request is not respected, an angler may be disqualified. If you wish to keep some or all of your catch you will be asked to punch a hole in the gill plate of the fish before putting back in your cooler. You can register and get more information here.

It's down the home stretch for the final few days. Good luck to all anglers.

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