The Efi Lake Fishing Festival is a major festival that takes place once every five years in Sabagreia, Kolokuma/Opokuma Local Government Area of Bayelsa State.
Efi lake is a huge natural lake, and draws Bayelsans from different parts of the state to participate in the festival which features canoe races, boat regatta and fishing contests.
According to history, the Efi lake was discovered by one Bon Okereke, alongside another man, from Gbarain Kingdom of the state. At that time Sabagreia was uninhabited.
The two men fought over ownership of the lake trying to lay claims as the founder.
To settle the dispute between them, the two gladiators reached an agreement and decided to take an oath, pledging that they would abide by the outcome of whatever it is they choose to do as the decider of the ownership of the lake.
The agreement spelt that whoever is the first to ignite fire on the land becomes the rightful owner. The Gbarain man decided to go home with a view to getting matches with which to ignite the fire.
On the other hand, Okereke gathered dead leaves, sharpened his swords and ignited fire onto the leaves. When the man from Gbarain returned, he saw a huge flame burning already, and that settled the dispute.
His descendants started living in Sabagreia and concurred that no Gbarain man should fish at the lake, regardless of whether it is celebration time or not. However, because of knowledge and advancement, the tradition was stopped in 2013.
The Lake Efi festival draws guests from neigbouring states, such as Delta, Edo and Abia.
Guests were not expected to pay before getting fishes from the lake, but they are now made to pay a token as gate fee and whatever they got belonged to them. There is usually a fishing contest and individuals who got the biggest fishes were honoured.
Something extraordinary about the lake is that there are a lot of crocodiles in it. During dry season, they are all over the place but do not harm anyone.
The Efi Lake Fishing Festival is like homecoming for indigenes of the town who use the occasion as means of giving praises to the river goddess for a bountiful fish harvest.
Guests at the festival, are able to purchase fish of various sizes caught in the lake and sold at cheap prices.The event is usually a 3-day activity; attracting individuals across states in the country to do their fish purchases.
The 2021 edition, was well-attended by people from far and near including the Governor of Bayelsa State, Senator Douye Diri as it captured the attention of those in the state and in the country at large.
Governor Diri, who led other government dignitaries and other notable personalities to the festival, said he is of the conviction that if fully tapped, the fishing festival can boost the economy of the state.
The governor also participated in the fishing contest with him momentarily celebrating his catch to the admiration of onlookers, who cheered him up.