The 40th annual International Eelpout Festival on Leech Lake in Walker, Minnesota, will be watched closely by local authorities to make sure everyone is safe on the ice.
Cass County Sheriff Tom Burch issued a release on Tuesday saying event promoters are working closely with law enforcement to monitor lake and ice conditions on Leech Lake's Walker Bay.
"Current Leech Lake Walker Bay ice conditions have created a concern for public safety during the Eel Pout Festival," Sheriff Burch said in the release. "There is heavy snow and flooding, including slush and water on the ice and a large volume of vehicle and ice house traffic is expected. Event and participant safety are our number one priority."
As a precaution, vehicle traffic will be restricted to snowmobiles and Class 1 and 2 ATVs beginning Friday, Feb. 22 at 3 p.m. until 3 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 24. You can find a map of the restricted area right here.
Fish houses in the restricted area will only be allowed to be pulled on and off the lake by snowmobiles or ATVs.
The International Eelpout Festival generally attracts around 10,000 people every year, which is about 10 times the population of Walker. Events during the three-day gathering include a fishing competition, sled dog rides, live music, a polar plunge, fish fry, curling and a rather large beer pong tournament.