No matter what you call them – burbot, eelpout or lawyers – the fish is one of a kind. From its elongated yellowish brown body with mottled dark-brown markings to its long dorsal and anal fins, an eelpout looks nothing like the other species you catch through the ice.
In fact, in the cool waters of the North where the eelpout roams, they are caught almost exclusively through the ice. And get this: Eelpout spawn under the ice during mid-winter on shallow gravel and sand flats. The absolute best time to target them is during the pre-spawn and spawn.
The vast majority of eelpout caught by winter anglers happen by mistake, as was the case for Minnesota fisherman Brent Getzler (below), who was targeting walleyes with his buddies on famed walleye factory Lake of the Woods, which borders Minnesota and Ontario.
You can read the details of Getzler’s amazing catch here, but to quickly summarize, he recently landed a monster eelpout that tips the scales at 19.67 pounds, which would top the current Minnesota state record of 19.16 pounds.
P.S. If you’d like to try your hand at catching eelpout, consider visiting the town of Walker, Minnesota, for the upcoming 38th Annual International Eelpout Festival on Feb. 23-26, 2017.
As shown in the video below, thousands of ice anglers descend on Leech Lake to try and catch the ever elusive eelpout and win the first place trophy. Think, ice fishing scenes from the classic “Grumpy Old Men” times a million. Note: You’ll catch a glimpse of the night life during the festival at the 2:45 mark of the video, but eelpout bite best after dark, so if you’re drinking and dancing, you won’t be catching fish!