Tuesday, February 24, 2009

The Lighter Side of Ice Fishing

Although many people view ice fishing as a rather dull sport, in Minnesota we see things alittle bit different. Among many smaller local and very large regional ice fishing contests is the International Eelpout Festival in Walker Minnesota(http://www.eelpoutfestival.com/). It is quite a unique event which celebrates our winter traditions as well the lowly eelpout. Also know as a burbot or lawyer, the eelpout is actually a freshwater member of the cod family. Minnesota is on the southern edge of their range and Leech Lake is a perfect place for them to thrive. These fish love the cold water and are extremely active in the winter, spawning in February under the ice. Mille Lacs contains eelpout as well and are only caught during the ice fishing period. They are far from the most handsome fish in the lake and tend to curl around your arm when you pull them out of the hole. Being a member of the cod family they are excellent table fare however it takes a bit to clean one as they have a rather unique smell to them. They have a liver that takes up about 1/3 their body weight and the only really good meat is along the back above the ribs. Boiled up and served with melted butter they are known as "poor man's lobster". The Eelpout Festival can get pretty crazy. Here's a couple of guys "bobbing for eelpout". There are a couple of these slimy fish in the container and the guys take turns trying to catch them with their teeth. There are many interesting activities and events, all that involve beer at some point. From scantily clad humans jumping into a hole cut through the ice to eelpout races, this event attracts people from around the world.

The Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders may have a lock as America's sweethearts however here in Minnesota we have the Ice Fishing Bikini Team. I am not sure where they found these brave ladies however they have been making ice fishing much more interesting these days. Originally designed for a St. Paul Winter Carnival event in 2007 by Exoctica Swim Wear, a number of ice fishing manufactures such as Strike Master Ice Augers and Wilcraft Motorized Ice Shelters have taken the opportunity to associate with the team.

If your computer has sound, undoubtedly you have heard the music that plays while you cruise my posts. These are linked to http://www.playlist.com/ which one sets up your own playlist of songs available on their site. My playlist is based on a search of fishing songs as well as the final song being a tribute to my cousin Greg's appreciation for those great old country ballads. A couple of weeks ago I searched to see if there was any new music and I found a fabulous rap song done by the great group, Da Yoopers(http://www.dayoopers.com/). Just go to the left side of my blog and scroll down to the section titled Music To Read By. There is a list of songs and just click on the second song titled Ice Fish Baby. I am sure you will find it unique, entertaining, and very well done.

I did go fishing this weekend. Thinking Mille Lacs would be a great place to enjoy the last day of inland walleye fishing, Bill suggested the bite was slow and one might want to entertain Plan B. Russ and I headed to a friends lake north of Mille Lacs and fished the evening bite picking up 2 walleyes each. Although not huge, they were keepers and Russ enjoyed a nice meal of walleye fillets. Certainly the Bikini Ice Fishing Team provides a better picture than me! Panfish are still fair game and I will be spending the next month trying my luck. April 1st is our annual Lake of the Woods trip that I am really looking forward to.

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

Wow Dave, that's quite the ice auger in that picture, ufda!

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