Posts Tagged ‘Eelpout Festival’

Come Celebrate Eelpout Fishing on Leech Lake

Monday, February 5th, 2018

While Leech Lake is known for its fabulous walleye fishing, it is also known for its Eelpout. We are proud to hold the International Eelpout Festival every February. This year Leech Lake is celebrating the 39th Annual International Eelpout Festival on February 22 – February 25.

Leech Lake Minnesota Eelpout Festival

 

You can fish Eelpout year round, but the best time is in late February. It is said that it is best to fish for Eelpout right before the first light of the day, or from sunset and on.

 

An Eel-what?

A Burbot, also known as an Eelpout, is a deepwater fish that is a cross between an eel and a catfish. Eelpout’s colors often times vary from yellow-brown to a dark olive with different color patches, which gives it camouflage-like appearance. They often times have small scales, slimy skin, and nostrils that resemble a catfish.

They usually weigh around six pounds and are less than 28 inches long. They typically have a very long body with smooth skin and a single whisker under its chin. Eelpout are known to be great predators and are excellent to eat. Bubot can most commonly be found in northern Minnesota lakes and rivers, including Lake Superior, but can also be found in part of the lower Mississippi River. The Burbot is a good indicator of a healthy watershed. They typically require water temperatures lower than 70 degrees, so in the summer they are a rare catch, but come winter the freshwater predator comes very much alive and active

 

2018 International Eelpout Festival

Every February, Walker, Minnesota grows about 10 times its size as thousands of eager fishermen and women gather on Leech Lake to take part in the International Eelpout Festival.

However, fishing is only half of the fun. Attendees can attend the Fish Fry or take part in the Eelpout Curing, Rugby or Beer Pong Tournament.

Whether you come for the fishing, the events, or a combination of the two, know that Leech Lake has lots of winter lodging options for you and your friends and family.

 

Leech Lake Eelpout Fishing

Monday, August 21st, 2017

Leech Lake is one of Minnesota’s top fishing destinations, especially when it comes to the Eelpout fishing. Eelpout fishing is a big deal around here, and we are proud to hold the International Eelpout Festival every February. You’re probably thinking, can I only fish for Eelpout in the winter? And the answer is no. You can fish Eelpout year round, but the best time to fish for Eelpout is in late February. It is said that it is best to fish for Eelpout right before the first light of the day, or from sunset and on.International Eelpout Festival- Leech Lake

What is an Eelpout?

A Burbot, also known as an Eelpout, is a deepwater fish that is a cross between an eel and a catfish. Eelpout’s colors often times vary from yellow-brown to a dark olive with different color patches, which gives it camouflage like appearance. They often times have small scales, slimy skin, and nostrils that resemble a catfish.  They usually weigh around six pounds and are less than 28 inches long. They typically have a very long body with smooth skin and a single whisker under its chin. Eelpout is known to be great predators and is excellent to eat. Bubot can most commonly be found in northern Minnesota lake and river, including Lake Superior, but can also be found in part of the lower Mississippi River. The Burbot is a good indicator of a healthy watershed. They typically require water temperatures lower than 70 degrees in the summer and are a rare catch, but come winter the freshwater predator comes very much alive and active

 

Burbot-Eelpout

How to catch an Eelpout

Most Eelpouts are accidently caught by anglers who are targeting other fish such as walleye. When deciding what bait to use, they typically are drawn to minnows on a spoon or jig that is hanging out in the lower muddy areas of the lake.  It’s important that when fishing for an Eelpout that you keep a watchful eye on your line because they have a very sensitive bite and if you wait too long, you will end up losing your opportunity. Eelpout typically is active during the lower light hours of the day.  If you’re lucky enough to catch an Eelpout, you have a good fish feed in your future!

International Eelpout Festival-Leech Lake

 

Fishing in Leech Lake

Want to find out how well the fish are biting this week? Check out our fishing report!

 

Leech Lake Ice Fishing: Walleye Edition

Thursday, February 18th, 2016

While most anglers will be seeking a prize Eelpout in the coming days, Leech Lakes large Walleye population can provide you with the perfect opportunity to stock up on fresh fish this winter. While we hope everyone gets their fill of Eelpout; it’s best not to put all your minnows in one bucket. So with that we would like to make sure you come prepared to maximize your fishing potential with some tips, tricks, and equipment for targeting Walleye while you’re out on the ice.

 

Woman with walleye

 

Walleye Fishing Tips, Tricks and Equipment:

 

Use Light Lines: By using light fishing lines you’ll get less drag. This lets the walleyes suck in your bait and more importantly the hook it’s attached to, and prevents you from getting short strikes. We have found Walleyes tend to be picky but impatient eaters, thus when they come across a suitable meal, they inhale their prey and if this flow is prevented you will get short strikes.

 

Don’t Forget About Minnows: These are one among the best baits to use when catching walleyes, especially in cool and clear. 3inch 5inch minnows are sufficient when hooked appropriately behind the dorsal fins or through their lips by #1 to #4 hooks.

 

Jigging Poles: While not as convenient as a tip up if you’re looking to pull up Walleye, you’re going to want to bring some jigging poles, 32” inchers with recoil guides are the best option if you are serious about filling that fridge. While using jigging poles means a more involved ice fishing experience, you will be rewarded for your efforts, pull your fill up Friday and enjoy all the other activities the Eelpout Festival has to offer the rest of the weekend.

Guy with jig pole and walleye

The Right Spot: Get to know the layout of Leech Lake if you don’t already, Walleye have the heaviest presence in Walker Bay, Walker Narrows and Agency Bay. You will also get good results on point, breaks and other mid-lake humps. Keep close to the bottom, and most importantly get your spot early, the lake fills up quick.

 

Know What to Keep:

In terms of fish size and what you are allowed to keep, Leech Lake has special regulations that vary from much of the rest of the state. On Leech Lake, all walleye from 20-26” must be released and one over 26” is allowed in possession, total possession limit of four. For more info, check out the DNR’s “Lake Finder” for notes and data on the lake.

Leech Lake Map

 

Have a great Eelpout Festival, and remember just because you’re targeting walleye at some of your holes doesn’t mean you will miss out on a prize Eelpout, they tend to have somewhat similar biting and location habits to Walleye in the winter on Leech Lake.

See you on the Ice!

37th Annual Eelpout Festival

Tuesday, January 26th, 2016

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…

  1. If you don’t get luck from four leaf clovers but from kissing an eelpout, you might be a Pouter.

  2. If 0°F is your idea of swimsuit weather, you might be a Pouter.

  3. If a game of curling requires frozen eel pout, you might be a Pouter.

  4. If you lick your lips when you hear the phrase “eelpout nuggets”, you might be a Pouter.

  5. If you have spent time in an ice castle made of 40,000 pounds of ice, you might be a Pouter.

  6. If your version of auto racing requires a lake, you might be a Pouter.

  7. If you’ve seen men get a little too excited about the “Ice Fishing Show” on Friday, you might be a Pouter.

  8. 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.

  9. If you’ve been in an ice house traffic jam, you might be a Pouter.

  10. 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.

Photo Via EelpoutFestival.com

Ice Fishing

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!

Photo Via Eelpoutfestival.com

Go Curling

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.

Photo Via EelpoutFestival.com

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.

Eelpout Festival Review

Tuesday, February 24th, 2015

This past weekend was the annual Eelpout Festival. The festival weighed in over 570 Eelout throughout the two day tournament, despite negative temperatures.

2015 International Eelpout Festival Tournament Result from our friends at Leisure Outdoor Adventures:

Top Ten Biggest Pout
1. Calen Zubke 10.55lbs
2. Dustin Nelson 10.38lbs
3. Mike Nelson 10.25lbs
4. Todd Felix 9.87lbs
5. Tommy Stangel 9.65lbs
6. Lacy Edwards 9.41lbs
7. Sandy Shipp 9.15lbs
8. Matt Christopherson 9.08lbs
9. Todd Ploutz 8.61lbs
10. Lucas Davis 8.60lbs

Top Ten Individual Tonnage
Kevin Joslyn 173.97lbs
Michael Marion 57.7lbs
Joe Eichberg 50.55lbs
Tyler Eichberg 50.54lbs
Steve Graff 46.36lbs
Tommy Stangel 44.52lbs
Josh Surber 44.06lbs
Curt Eichberg 43.77lbs
Tim Humphrey 43.71lbs
Kaylea Eichberg 42.74lbs

Team Tonnage
Thunderbirds 351.27lbs
218 Wrecking Crew 350.31lbs
Incognito 287.25lbs
Team Sunday 101.77lbs
Happy Hookers 91.87lbs
Northwoods Outfitters 85.71lbs
Mo Pout 45.21lbs

Punt Pout Winner
Jamie Johnson .20lbs

Kids Perch Jerk Results
Riley Nihort 1.03lbs
Jadon Petrie .95lbs
Jera Petrie .78lbs
Gavin Hookom .72lbs
Hailey Petrie .68lbs

Congrats to all of the winners, we look forward to seeing you again next year!

 

2014 Eelpout Festival

Thursday, January 2nd, 2014

Now that the holidays are over, it’s time to start thinking about this year’s Eelpout Festival! The annual event will be held February 20th-23rd this year.

 

Every February for over 30 years now, crowds that are more than ten times the size of the town of Walker, MN gather on Leech Lake to celebrate the Eelpout, one of the ugliest bottom dwelling fish in the area.

 

The frigid temperatures of February in the Leech Lake area don’t keep the crowds from participating in the various Eelpout Festival activities. Many attendees bring their ice houses and enjoy the excellent Leech Lake fishing over the 3 day festival. Eelpout Festival also offers a fish fry, Eelpout curling, Eelpout races, an Eelpout derby and live music! The festivities end on Sunday with the Fishing Contest Awards Ceremony to recognize those that have caught the biggest Eelpout.

 

Another main attraction of Eelpout Festival is the Polar Pout Plunge! Each year hundreds of people jump into the freezing waters of Leech Lake to help raise money for the Walker Area Community Center. Not only is this a great way to give back to the community of Walker, but participants can also win prizes, like Moondance tickets and t shirts, depending on the amount of money they raise.

 

If you are thinking about attending Eelpout Festival this year, make sure you visit their website to purchase your Eelpout Festival button. The buttons are $12 apiece with a shipping and handling fee of $2.00 no matter how many buttons you order.

 

If staying outdoors on the ice for three days is too much for you, consider booking at stay at one of the many Leech Lake area resorts only minutes from Walker. These resorts are the perfect place to cozy up and relax after a long day on the ice enjoying the Eelpout festivities. The town of Walker also offers a variety of restaurants and bars to warm up in during the cold days on the ice.

 

If you haven’t yet experienced Eelpout Festival for yourself, we definitely recommend attending this year’s event. We guarantee you will have a blast and wonder why you didn’t go sooner!

Leech Lake Polar Pout Plunge

Wednesday, February 13th, 2013

With the Eelpout Festival just around the corner it’s hard not to get excited for this event filled weekend. One event that is a definite highlight of this annual festival is the Polar Pout Plunge. This year the Polar Pout Plunge will be held on February 16th, 2013 at 1pm on Leech Lake in Walker, MN.

 

The Polar Pout Plunge is an event designed to fundraise for the Walker Area Community Center. The Walker Area Community Center is home to many clubs, activities and organizations like the Walker Rotary Club, Youth Hockey, Curling Club, Just for Kix, Tae Kwon Do, Boys and Girls Club, Fitness Center, Gymnasium and much more. All money raised will go directly to the WACC.

 

The Polar Pout Plunge not only gives you a reason to give back to the community but also gives back to you. The Polar Pout Plunge on Leech Lake gives you chance to win awesome prizes like, Moondance tickets, t-shirts, jackets and hats.

 

So how can one participate? Just go to www.polarpoutplunge.com  and complete a registration form and all the instructions are online. You must raise at least $50 to participate. So come out and enjoy all the fun the Eelpout Festival on Leech Lake has to offer.  It’s sure to produce memories of a lifetime. Hope to see you there!