Bemidji angler’s catch: a rod, walleye and eelpout

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Bemidji Pioneer Photo/Monte Draper

A Bemidji man pulled up the catch of a lifetime on Wednesday while ice fishing on Lake Bemidji.

After setting the hook on a bite, veteran angler Burnie Trepanier pulled from the ice hole a 28-inch walleye, an eelpout and a winter fishing rod and reel — all at once.

Trepanier told The Bemidji Pioneer that as he was pulling the catch up, he initially thought he might have hooked a giant northern pike or a big muskie.

But after a long battle, the first thing he pulled out of the hole was a rod and reel tangled in his line. Next came the walleye and a tangle of braided line.

“And then up came about a 6-pound eelpout. I couldn’t believe my eyes,” Trepanier told the newspaper.

What’s unclear are the chronicle of events that led to the strange catch. Trepanier theorizes that someone lost the rod and reel after a walleye bit on the line. He thinks the eelpout bit on his sucker minnow and then got tangled in the line and the fishing pole.

Trepanier says there’s no way to know how long the walleye had been dragging the pole on the lake bottom. The hook was rusted and the jig was faded, but the fishing pole and reel were in good shape.

Trepanier says he plans to have the rod, reel and the two fish mounted.