Lake of the Woods is known for its plethora of monster walleye and other popular fish like northern pike and panfish. However, one fish that is very different from the rest but is a hit on Lake of the Woods is the eelpout! It’s also known as burbot and is one unique fish that almost deserves a category of its own. There used to be a whole Lake of the Woods ice fishing festival dedicated to these slimy creatures. So what’s so special about these eelpout fish? Well, let’s get into it!
“Poor Man’s Lobster”
Eelpout aren’t popular because they are a pretty fish to hang on the wall. They are popular for how they taste. As a member of the cod family, they have white meat that isn’t quite flaky like most other species of fish. Most would describe it to be closer to the texture of lobster, which is how it came to be nicknamed “poor man’s lobster.” Unlike how you would prepare most other fish, you don’t typically fry, bake, or grill eelpout. The most popular way is to actually boil it in 7Up. And as odd as that may sound, when you add a bit of butter dip, it does actually mimic lobster! Though eelpout isn’t for everyone, it’s well-liked enough that people will come from all over for their chance to catch and cook these oddball fish.
Night Owl’s Best Friend
Lake of the woods ice fishing doesn’t stop when the sun goes down. A few different species of fish will still be biting at dusk and the early hours of the morning, but night owls will find themselves pulling in eelpouts all night long. Much like catfish, eelpout are active and feeding throughout the night. You can definitely find them during the day, but photos of anglers holding up an eelpout with a headlamp shining bright aren’t uncommon on Lake of the Woods.
Eelpout are definitely a unique fish that anglers either love or hate. They have long slender bodies with round, blunt heads, and a single whisker under their chins. Most anglers don’t like them because of their slimy skin, but that’s easily remedied by wearing a pair of gloves when you pull them out of the water. I would recommend keeping your sleeves down because these guys tend to wrap themselves around your arm. This is a fish you probably won’t want to kiss.
Eelpout fishing requires you to drop your lure down to the bottom. These guys are bottom feeders and are basically the garbage disposal of the lake. They are eating machines and love to munch on just about anything.
If you want your chance of experiencing a true Minnesota tradition in catching an eelpout and testing out just how “poor man’s lobster” tastes, Lake of the Woods is the place to do it! Rent an ice fishing house with River Bend Resort and fish all night long. All rentals are equipped with what you need to cook up your burbot and enjoy your bounty. Eelpout fishing on Lake of the Woods is something every angler should experience at least once in their lifetime. You won’t want to miss this opportunity.