WALKER, Minn. (WCCO) — International Eelpout Festival officials have restricted access to the festival citing ice conditions as a concern for the public’s safety.

Cass County Sheriff Tom Burch says the sheriff’s office and event promoters have been working closely together to monitor the heavy snow and flooding on Leech Lake, along with slush.

Due to the heavy traffic suspected on the lake, vehicles will be restricted to snowmobiles and Class 1 and 2 ATVs from Friday at 3 p.m. to Sunday at 8 a.m. No vehicles will be allowed in the restricted area during these times.

Burch said any fish houses are allowed to be pulled onto the ice by snowmobiles and ATVs.

Leech Lake Restrictions (credit: Cass County Sheriff’s Office)

Violators of the vehicle restrictions are subject to ticketing and towing.

Officials say if ice and flooding conditions worsen, they may impose further restrictions and closures.

The sheriff says event and participant safety is their number-one priority.

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