Edit ModuleShow Tags

Become a 'Pouter' at International Eelpout Festival Feb. 19-22


It's good luck to kiss an eelpout during the International Eelpout Festival.

photo by Michael Deering

Eelpout, at best described as "rather unfortunate looking," and at worst as "just plain ugly," aren't going to win any beauty pageants in area lakes, but they will be the most popular fish on the block this weekend—February 19-22—at the International Eelpout Festival in Walker.

Located in the southwest corner of Leech Lake in northern Minnesota, the tiny town of Walker attracts crowds more than 10 times the population of this little host city (anywhere from 10-12,000 festival-goers) during one of the chilliest weekends of the year. The appeal of the event is simple: It's a great way to celebrate winter (even if you do have to dress in many, many layers in order to stay warm).

According to event organizers, “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.” The festival includes mechanical bull riding in the Big Top Tent, a kids’ perch fishing contest, a bowl rugby tournament, a fish fry (eelpout nuggets fried with Goose Antler batter!), auto ice races on the lake, the Polar Pout Plunge for charity in the frigid waters of Leech Lake, eelpout curling, a beer pong tournament, a bean bag tournament, an ice bar created from 40,000 pounds of ice, and ice fishing Olympics (among other events). Those who take part in the festival are affectionately nicknamed "pouters." Many pouters enjoy the experience so much they make it an annual tradition.

For more information, visit eelpoutfestival.com or chaseonthelake.com.

Edit ModuleShow Tags

About This Blog

Whether you are a seasoned Twin Cities traveler or planning your first trip to Minnesota, this blog will introduce you to many new adventures to add to your itinerary. From day trips and scenic discoveries to luxurious girls weekends, travel tips, and insider scoops, our editors will give you all the information you need to enjoy your stay Up North.

Learn about the contributing writers.

Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Travel Blog

Twin Cities Sledding Hills

Grip it and rip it, it's time to shred some powder

Sue Z.'s Charitable Check-In: February

This month's philanthropic food events: a "Chopped"-style competition, the Charlie Awards, and cocktails with your dog

The 39th Annual International Eelpout Festival

Join over 10,000 people for a weekend of ice fishing, good-hearted competition and family fun Feb. 23–25

13 Overlooked Photo Ops in Minnesota

From Duluth to Waite Park to St. Paul, these are the iconic MN photo ops you might not know about

Art Flourishes on Frozen Lake Harriet

The Lake Harriet Kite Festival and Art Shanty Projects combine for a day of art, whimsy, and entertainment on Lake Harriet.

Snowmobiling Through Minnesota

Try a new mode of transportation this winter: snowmobile

Sue Z.'s Charitable Check-In: January

This month's philanthropic events: the winners of a pork showdown, and Swedish pottery

6 Places That Give MN Hipster Cred

Crocodiles and third-wave coffee and decomposing plushies—these are a few of our favorite (and most "hipster-y") things across the state

Sara Groves: Hymns in a Tiny Sanctuary

The singer recorded her latest album in the small church building that she transformed into a community center for creativity

Minnesota Businesses Adapt to Warmer Winters

As Minnesota winters get warmer, some businesses struggle, while others adapt the state's snowy identity

Go Deep: MN's Most Unique Tourist Spots

Destinations for those looking for the weirder, lesser-known side of the Twin Cities

So Much to Celebrate at the Best of Minnesota Party

Nearly 700 guests enjoyed Minnesota Monthly’s inaugural Best of Minnesota Party, on November 30, at Lumber Exchange Event Center, presented by The Saint Paul Hotel.

Not Your Typical Date Night Ideas

Scrap dinner and movie and try one of these unique date ideas instead.

Sue Z.'s Charitable Check-In: December

Sue Z.'s ideas for giving back this holiday season include donating food while taking in the Canadian Pacific Holiday Train—and perusing food trucks
Edit ModuleEdit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags