37th Annual Eelpout Festival
February 18th through the 21st, as many as 12,000 people will make their way to Walker and Leech Lake Minnesota for the 37th Annual Eelpout Festival. Festival goers will be ice fishing, racing, bull riding, competing in games while celebrating what is possibly Minnesota’s ugliest fish: the eelpout. Festival participants have been affectionately given the name “Pouters”. But, how do you know if you are a Pouter?
You Might Be a Pouter…
If you don’t get luck from four leaf clovers but from kissing an eelpout, you might be a Pouter.
If 0°F is your idea of swimsuit weather, you might be a Pouter.
If a game of curling requires frozen eel pout, you might be a Pouter.
If you lick your lips when you hear the phrase “eelpout nuggets”, you might be a Pouter.
If you have spent time in an ice castle made of 40,000 pounds of ice, you might be a Pouter.
If your version of auto racing requires a lake, you might be a Pouter.
If you’ve seen men get a little too excited about the “Ice Fishing Show” on Friday, you might be a Pouter.
If you love eelpout so much that you take a Plunge to swim with them in the middle of winter, you might be a Pouter.
If you’ve been in an ice house traffic jam, you might be a Pouter.
If you’ve ridden a bull in a snow suit, you might be a Pouter.
If you’re not a pouter, you might want to become one! This year the International Eelpout Festival will be held February 18th-21st on Leech Lake.The International Eelpout Festival has so many events and activities throughout the weekend, there are a lot of ways for you to become a Pouter.
Decorate your ice house head on Leech Lake Minnesota to try your luck at catching the biggest eelpout. Last year’s winners categories included Top Ten Biggest Pout, Top Ten Individual Tonnage, Team Tonnage, the Punt Pout Winner, and the Kids Perch Jerk. With the biggest ‘pout last year weighing in at 10.55lbs competition is tough. Be sure to check out our latest fishing reports and the Leech Lake Fishing Map before you head out to be on top of your game. The weekend ends with the Fishing Contest Awards Ceremony on Sunday, February 21st from 11:00am-11:30am.
Kiss an Eelpout
The key to a great weekend is to start it off with a kiss with the star of the show: the eelpout! Pouters swear that this is lucky and is a must for any first time festival goers. Pucker up!
Curling at the International Eelpout festival is not exactly like the Olympic curling you’ve seen on TV. There is still ice and a target to aim at, but when you see what you have to throw at the target you might begin to think something is a little fishy with this game. In honor of the eelpout, the fish has become part of the game by freezing them in blocks of ice as the game pieces. This unique take on the game of curling will give you something to tell friends about and certainly make you a life-long pouter.
Try Something New
Real eelpout nuggets fried with goose antler batter? YUM! If you haven’t had your chance to try this delicacy before, this is your chance to. The eelpout fish fry will be held in the Coors Keg Castle Tent Saturday, February 20th from 10:00am-8:00pm making it the perfect treat for breakfast, lunch or dinner!
Party in a Castle
Coors Keg Castle is a 40,000 pound ice castle that plays host to food and drink specials, a dance party and karaoke contest, fish fry, and fishing show. There’s no better place to celebrate Minnesota’s winter than in a castle made of ice!
Take the Eelpout Plunge
Friday, February 20th from 1:00pm-3:00pm is the Polar Pout Plunge. Get a group of friends together, put on the craziest outfits you own and plunge into the frigid waters of Leech Lake to raise money for the Special Olympics. If jumping in to frozen waters isn’t your style, you can still help raise money and watch as fellow pouters take the plunge.
These are just a few of the ways that you can become a pouter at this year’s International Eelpout Festival. Take in the whole festival by spending the night on the ice or by planning your stay in one of our local resorts, cabins, or hotels. Planning your pouter vacation a little last minute? No problem, watch our last minute openings page so you don’t miss out on the fun! Find the list of all the events and plan your trip to Walker to see the 37th International Eelpout Festival and all the other attractions Walker Minnesota has to offer.