Likely Minnesota-record eelpout pulled from Lake of the Woods

When it comes to burbots, they grow 'em big in Minnesota. The hope is that the species will continue to grow in numbers in Idaho, which finally will have a fishing season for the unusual-looking fish after a population rebound.

BAUDETTE, Minn. — The catch occurred Monday, and Minnesota DNR officials are probably just now receiving the application, but it appears an eelpout (or burbot, or lawyer) caught by Roosevelt’s Brent Getzler on Lake of the Woods soon officially will be the new state record.

Getzler, 33, caught the eelpout at 3:30 p.m. on Dec. 19.

“I was fishing for walleyes, but I happened to be too close to the bottom, I guess,” he said Tuesday.

The fish weighed 19.67 pounds, Getzler said. That equates to 19 pounds, 11 ounces, which would surpass the old record of 19 pounds, 8 ounces – a fish that also came from Lake of the Woods. Getzler’s fish was weighed on a certified scale at a grocery store in Baudette, and it just so happened that DNR fisheries assistant Dennis Topp was there to witness the weighing-in.

“At first I wasn’t sure,” Getzler said of the species of the fish that had attached itself to his Northland Forage Minnow in about 26 feet of water. “Then it started to bounce a bit and I was hoping it wasn’t a burbot at that point.”

The eelpout was 33 inches long and had a girth of 24 inches, he said.

Count Getzler in the group that buys into the “poor-man’s-lobster” theory when it comes to ’pout. He’s caught them before, and he eats them.

“You boil it in 7-Up and dip it in butter and it’s pretty good,” he said.

The fish likely to be recognized as a state record isn’t destined for a pot of boiling soda, though.

“I’ll do it justice and put it on the wall,” said Getzler, a carpenter. He hasn’t yet identified a taxidermist to do the work, though.

“I’ll try to find (a taxidermist) that will actually take him,” he said.

Getzler was fishing from a sleeper-type fish house owned by Sportsman’s Lodge. He said he wasn’t far from the Canadian border on the sprawling Lake of the Woods.

Categories: Ice Fishing, News

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