One of the weirdest Minnesota festivals, held completely on a Minnesota lake, starts Thursday in Walker, Minnesota. It's everything 'eelpout', a nasty lake-bottom, ugly fish.

They checked the ice this morning, and the International Eelpout Festival location on one of Minnesota's top 3 largest lakes, Leech Lake, in the small town of Walker has 27 inches of ice this year. That's 4 more inches than last year.

Thousands of people gather every year at this location for this festival in hopes to catch the almighty ugly eelpout fish. Unlike other ice fishing tournaments, this festival allows ice houses. Don't think you can cheat though, as they have a tournament rule about how they check each fish for authenticity:

All fish entered must come from Leech Lake watershed. Contestants agree to submit fish sample for DNA testing. A lie-detector test will also be used and if the eelpout fails, one will be administered to the angler.

This festival is like no other in the world. Everything is held on the ice and the lake becomes a mini city in itself. Everything on the ice from the main tournament, beer pong, huge entertainment tents with live music, ice bars/pubs (completely made of ice), polar plunge, ice games, mechanical bull riding, bikini-clad dancing girls...just about anything an adult can enjoy.

The opening ceremonies kick off Thursday at 6pm and festivities go through the weekend. For more information go to

Phot: International Eelpout Festival

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