Sunday, February 17, 2008

Celebrating the Eel Pout...

Leech Lake is the the third largest lake in Minnesota, the fertile waters harbor some of the best walleye and muskie fishing in the Midwest. However, Leech is also know for its large and abundant eelpout. Have you ever seen this freshwater cod before? Well, friends it isn't pretty! They are wonderfully know for their ability to wrap themselves around your arm and then leave you with a gift of slim to enjoy for hours to come.

I still remember my first time catching an eelpout. I was ice fishing with a group of people on Lake the Woods and I thought I had caught a walleye, due to the toying with my lure. As I was bringing up my prize, I remember how awesome I felt, because nobody had caught a thing all day-and that is when it happened. The first time ever seeing an eelpout, I was in shock it was so ugly. All I wanted to do was scream, it was slithering back and forth, throwing its slime all over me. I didn't know what to do. What would you do? I just wanted this ugly prehistoric beast away from me. But how? The only way I knew to get rid of this ugly thing was to stomp it back into the hole, so that is exactly what I did.

Leaving that horror story behind, I want to talk about a more pleasing story. The Annual International Eel Pout Festival held on Leech Lake. This annual festival draws thousands of anglers (partiers?) to Walker, Minnsota every February. The three-day slimefest has something for everyone. If you are a runner, then the Eelpout Peelout -5 mile run is for you. Not a runner, no problem. The Polar Plunge always promises a refreshing and exhilarating experience. Don't feel like going into cardiac arrest, then may I suggest taking in the evening festivities. This is my favorite part. I love seeing how people decorate their camps (aka fishhouses) with decorations and lights and then adorn themselves with fancy articles of clothing and accessories or in some instances lack of.

One favorite pastime is dancing around Santas pole. You recogonize it, right? This is how Santa keeps his elves in shape. No matter what way you partake in the festivities you are sure to enjoy yourself.

Minnesota truly is a state of its own. If you ever visit, make sure you stop by and have yourself a sliming good time.

Happy trails.-Jody

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