Eelpout fever in Northern Minnesota

A woman kisses an eelpout during a past Eelpout Festival in Walker, Minnesota. (PHOTO: Eelpout Festival photo gallery)

Last week we experienced a winter thaw in Northern Minnesota. This week the weather cooled off. The southern part of the state faces a blizzard today, while the rest of the state wonders what time of year it really is.

The answer is simple. Eelpout. It’s eelpout season.

The annual Eelpout Festival is happening now in Walker, Minnesota, with many of the bigger events slated later today and tomorrow.

Naturally, the eelpout fishing contest is a main attraction. You’ve got the Eelpout Fish Fry from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. today. Eelpout curling. A beer pong tournament. Live music. More fishing. More music. Additional fish fries. A bikini ice fishing show? Jeez, I guess you just have to see this for yourself.

So, what’s an eelpout?

An eelpout is an extremely ugly bottom-feeding fish that lives in the lakes of central and Northern Minnesota. The eelpout remains the ugliest fish known to these waters. To reel one through your ice fishing hole is to look into the horrifying face of evolution’s cruel hand. Indeed, some creatures should never see the light of day. But if you cook them right, you can make a good meal.

It’s also a good excuse for the people of the Walker area to celebrate the waning days of winter with outdoor activities and other good times. Find out more at the Eelpout Festival website.

I talked about eelpout during the Great Northern Radio Show we did from Walker in 2014. My next Great Northern Radio Show airs live next Saturday, March 4, at the Chief Theater in Bemidji. So if you miss eelpout and still want to see an entertaining event conducted by something funny looking, try the Great Northern Radio Show.


  1. Eelpout, aka lawyers (that’s what we call them on Rainy Lake)

    • Gary Barfknecht says

      Yup, we called them lawyers on Lake Vermilion also. They’re also known variously as burbot or ling and supposedly taste like lobster. Don’t know, ’cause if we ever accidentally caught one, Dad would swear because they swallowed the hook, so he’d have to cut the line and then their gills before throwing them back for seagull lunches. As a kid, it seemed to me that they tried to wrap around your arm, and I was wary of the “stinger” that protruded from their chin. (GaryW. Barfknecht, author, Rooted in Iron and Ice)

Speak Your Mind


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.