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The 39th Annual International Eelpout Festival Is Almost Here!


Mid-Winter Minnesota Months Making You Stir Crazy!?

Don’t Fret …

The 39th Annual International Eelpout Festival Is Almost Here!

Bait Your Hooks, Layer Your Socks, Grab the Whole Family and Be Prepared to “Kiss The Pout” during a Fun-Filled Weekend That’ll Chase Away that Cabin Fever!


February 22-25, 2018 / Walker, MN

 Walker, Minn.,  – Stir crazy is an understatement when describing the more than 12,000 participants and visitors who descend on Walker, Minn. (pop. 1,069) for four days every February for The Annual International Eelpout Festival.  The festival, always a spectacle, is known for providing a mid-winter respite for the many hearty Midwesterners looking for an outlet during a long Minnesota winter. The revelry and gamesmanship that ensues has drawn the curiosity of thousands of outdoor enthusiasts and countless media outlets over the years.  At the center of the Eelpout Festival is the long-held tradition of angling the world’s only true gamefish and one of the ugliest bottom dwelling catches out there – The Eelpout!

NEW this year, all activities and Eelpout events will be in one convenient location!

Join us in front of The Chase on the Lake … in the tent or on the ice you’ll find one of a kind “Chase the Pout” events including:

 Opening Ceremonies (Thursday starting at 6pm): Live music from “The Roosters” in the Chase 502 Bar and Pre-Pout Kick-Off Party in the Chase Tent.

  • Pout Curling (Friday 11am-1PM; Saturday 11am-1pm) @ Chase on the Lake Tent: Patrons can throw “The Eelpout Rock” and try “sweeping” to victory. Walker’s local curling club facilitates the “stone-pout” throws and button landings.
  • 5th Annual Eelpout Beer Pong (Qualifiers – Friday 3-7pm/Championship – Saturday 3pm): A Festival favorite! $40 gets your 2-person team into this bracket-style/single elimination contest. Prizes include cash, Eelpout Trophy and merch. For more information and to register, go to:
  • Eelpout Rugby (Saturday 10am-5pm): Bemidji State Rugby Teams will take to the ice to capture the 2017 Eelpout Rugby crown. Join us on the ice in front of The Chase.
  • Polar Pout Plunge (Saturday 1pm- 3pm Registration at noon): Thanks to a chainsaw crew that cuts through 18” of ice to prepare a “soft landing”, countless costumed revelers are cheered on by a massive crowd as they plunge into the frozen depths of Leech Lake. Money raised benefits the Walker Area Community Center.
  • Dog Sled Rides (Saturday 11am-4pm) – Experience a K-9 led tour of the grounds … and so mush more!
  • Helicopter Rides (Saturday Noon-5pm)– Located by City Park
  • Eelpout Weigh In: This unique “cultural submersion” operates daily, capped with an awards ceremony on Sunday (11am) in front of The Chase and includes thousands of dollars in prizes for the most pout pounds.
  • 4th Annual Kids Perch Jerk (Saturday noon – 1pm): Savings bonds will be awarded to three biggest perch caught. Holes will be drilled for the kids. Parents, just bring poles and bait.

Annual must-see and must-try Eelpout traditions:

  • Kissing the Pout on the lips is a long-held Minnesota tradition … Not for the faint of heart, but legend says it will provide good luck for the entire year!
  • Sip an ice-cold drink at the 50,000lb Coors Ice Tap, an ice bar built (literally) on the lake!
  • Enjoy the Eelpout Fish Fry including REAL eelpout nuggets fried with Goose Antler Batter. And NEW this year, a BBQ pig roast!  
  • Arguably the biggest attraction of the Festival is the ever-growing city of lake encampments (some built from scratch). Tour and immerse yourself in a culture simply too unique to explain to those who “haven’t been” … For example, ever ridden an Ice-Couch Land Cruiser!?


To learn more about the 39th Annual International Eelpout Festival or media inquiries including interviews, photos or on-site access, please contact Michael Deering at 612-360-7789 or Kelly Plummer at 651-206-9852.


About Chase on the Lake

Voted as a “Top 5 New Minnesota Hotel” and premier Minnesota resort, Chase on the Lake is a historic resort located on the beautiful shores of Leech Lake in Walker, Minn. Chase’s facilities are designed to serve both personal and professional needs.  Amenities include classic hotel lodging accommodations or two and three-bedroom lakeside condos; lakeside dining at The 502 Restaurant; Copper Door, a full-service Aveda spa; Chaser’s Alley, a two-lane bowling alley; great outdoor activities including fishing, boating and beach activities, snowmobiling, ice fishing and more.  Additional information found at

About the International Eelpout Festival

Entering into its 39th year, the Annual International Eelpout Festival attracts more than 12,000 participants and visitors to Walker, Minn. (pop. 1,069) for three days every February. This year’s festival officially begins at 6pm on Thursday Feb. 22 and concludes at noon on Sunday, Feb. 25. 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 Walker City Park or at participating Walker area businesses. Cost of a button is $18. Visit the official site at:


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