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Walker Eelpout Festival 2017

February 23 - February 26

For the past 37 years, and for three days every February, crowds that are more than 10 times the population of tiny Walker, Minn. (pop. 1,069) gather on Minnesota’s third largest lake (112,000-acres), Leech Lake, for a festival named for one of the ugliest bottom-dwelling fish, the eelpout. In a state where it is common to embrace the quirky and find great fun in the most unlikely circumstances and weather conditions, this festival is pure Minnesota fun.

Unlike other uppity winter fishing events, fish houses ARE allowed and encouraged. And don’t expect us to drill your holes, we have a hard enough time finding staff to set up our tents.

The Annual International Eelpout Festival officially begins at 5pm Thursday, February 23rd and concludes at 10am on Sunday, February 26th, 2017. The awards and closing ceremonies will be held on Sunday February 26th, 2017.

All participants must be registered and have in their possession an official International Eelpout Festival button, which may be purchased at the registration tent at the Walker City Park or at participating Walker area businesses. Visit our Buy a Button Link now to purchase this for access and entertainment.

All fish entered must come from Leech Lake watershed. Contestants agree to submit fish sample for DNA testing. A lie-detector test will also be used and if the eelpout fails, one will be administered to the angler.

All State of Minnesota Game and Fish laws apply.

All fish must be caught legally by hook and line.

All fish must be registered alive or dead but cannot be frozen at the Official Eelpout Headquarters Weigh-In Stage, located in the Walker City Park. Fish should be kept in a container until weighed-in. Do not transport water to and from the lake per new DNR regulations! Solid frozen fish will not be accepted no exceptions! If your fish was noticeably caught before the festival fishing hours you will be disqualified from the tournament.

Prizes will be awarded in the following categories:
Weight Category:Top ten weights for single pout. In the event of a tie the first fish registered wins.
Individual Tonnage: This award will be presented to the individual catching the most weight of eelpout during the festival.
Team Tonnage: All teams must submit a roster of team members by 5 p.m. on Friday, February 19, 2016. All team members must be registered at the headquarters of the International Eelpout Festival at Walker City Park and posses an official eelpout button. Teams may have a roster of not more than 20 members. Winning team will be determined by the total weight of the eelpout registered by the team. Any eelpout caught by a team member is eligible in any other category.
Most Representative Shelter: This award will be given to the team judged to have constructed the most lavish eelpout bivouac on Leech Lake. Judging will be done on Saturday by Coors Light and awards will be presented to the winer that afternoon.
Most inspiring young angler
Eelpout Bowl Category: Register one pout and you are entered! Thousands of dollars in prizes! All prizes awarded in this category will be selected by random drawing to be held at the Sunday awards ceremony. Each eelpout is registered earns one entry. Only one prize awarded per festival registrant in the Eelpout Bowl category.

Additional Rules and Regulations: Winners in all categories with the exception of the grand prize, must be present at the Sunday awards ceremony. Winners not present will be disqualified. The decision of the judges in all matters will be considered final.

Producers and promoters of the International Eelpout Festival are not responsible for thefts, accidents or injuries while participating in the contest.


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February 23
February 26




Walker City Park
Walker, MN 56484 United States + Google Map