Community Spotlight: 2017 International Eelpout Festival
“Eelpout 2017,” said Travis Dedomines, Eelpout attendee.
The 38th annual International Eelpout Festival reeled several people to Leech Lake in Walker on Saturday. A festival that usually brings in more than ten thousand people saw about 4 to five thousand due to vehicle weight restrictions, according to Eelpout Event Organizer Jared Olson.
“I mean we had warmer weather the week before which hurt some of the landing and stuff like that but everything now is really hard and as you can see my breath it’s cold out now,” said Jared Olson, Eelpout Festival Event Organizer.
Not everyone comes out just for the eelpout. It’s about having a good time, says Travis Dedomines of Farmington, Minnesota. He was enjoying the atmosphere and even went for a helicopter ride.
“If we’re going to be honest it’s not so much a fishing tournament as it is a just kind of a party atmosphere, but you know it’s fun we keep it pretty real here,” said Travis Dedomines, Eelpout attendee.
There’s plenty of eelpout to go around if that’s your thing.
“If there was anything I could eat it would be pout every year,” said Eelpout Attendee Josh Fearing.
“I’ve never been to a place more barbaric and fun. This is everything I’ve ever dreamed of,” said Boone Fischer, Eelpout attendee. “It’s like WE Fest, but better. I don’t like WE Fest.”
Our very own Justin Prince got in on the action too.
“A lot of people will take them and eat them or we have them frying in the tent right now also, so everybody likes to try the fish and just taste it,” said Olson. “It’s a little fishy, gamey tasting. You know it’s the Eelpout Festival, so we’re eating it.”
Todd and Troy Thoma drove in from Minneapolis and used the weekend to bond as brothers.
“We have a cabin in Hackensack, so it’s convenient to come up here, said Eelpout Attendee Todd Thoma. “We’ve been coming up here since the 80s, so it’s always a good time see friends and have a good time with crazy people.”
The festival also offers something to the community.
“It’s a big part of the community here I mean obviously February not a lot going on in northern Minnesota, but when you’re standing on two feet ice, so I think everybody really appreciates it and likes it,” said Olson. “I hope they all do well this weekend.”
Until next year.