Whether you call it a lawyer, lush, lingcod or mud shark, the oddly shaped slimy fish, better known as the eelpout, is considered to be one of Minnesota’s ugliest fish.
Receiving its common name for its eel like appearance, the eelpout is a bottom dwelling fish, that is closer related to the common cod, than its eel shaped counterparts. Although many consider this fish a burden to catch while chasing other trophies, Brent Getzler now has a different opinion on the odd creature. Brent and some buddies took a trip to the Lake of the Woods, in search of some trophy walleyes, but instead Brent’s recording setting catch was a new state record eelpout. Weighing in at 19 pounds 11 ounces, the trophy fish just scraped past the old state record of 19 pounds 8 ounces, and added a huge exclamation point to Brent and his buddies trip.
With a new record setting fish captured on Lake of the Woods, 130 miles south in Walker Minnesota, is the world’s largest gathering of eelpout fishing fanatics. Held on Leech Lake, 2017 will be Walkers 38th hosting of the International eelpout festival. This 3-day event hosted every February, creates a new city on the ice that multiplies the population of Walker by 10, features a huge tent with an ice bar, mechanical bull and tons of fun. Although the event started around fishing for eelpout, it has grown into so much more. Many take the polar plunge, which is a jump into the freezing cold water, play different games and just hang out with friends on the ice, while searching for the illusive eelpout.
Although Leech Lake, and Lake of the Woods have put Minnesota eelpout on the map, many other lakes throughout the state contain the odd fish. One of the local toolmakers that Stern Rubber uses, Garry Carpenter, has caught a few in the Crow Wing River, just a few miles from our Staples location.
So the next time you are in Stern Rubbers back yard, try you luck at catching one of Minnesota’s ugliest fish, and you may even be lucky enough to land a state record.