Monday, March 30, 2009

Fried Walleye - Hard To Find, Tough To Beat

I love seafood of all types but walleye is my favorite fish of all. Since I was ten years old, the many trips to Canada fishing for walleye are burned into my brain. Each night we ate fried walleye until it was coming out of my ears. That’s not a complaint.

Walleyes aren’t easy to catch. Bass are a lot easier. Walleye make seasonal movements to different areas of a lake. Time of year, knowledge of the lake, the right tackle and some patience often bring success. In the spring they are near shore while in mid summer they go deep and spend time on rocky sunken reefs, which can be hard to locate. In mid June when the mayflies hatch they can have lockjaw for a few weeks.


I am not a catch and release kind of fisherman but we never over harvest so I see no problem keeping plenty to eat. In most states and provinces regulations have made fishing better. The best thing to happen has been the “slot” limit. This is a size restriction that allows larger fish to remain plentiful and the smaller fish to become larger. For instance, Ontario allows only one walleye over 19” to be taken per day and all fish kept must be between 14 and 19”. They also allow only four fish per person in possession. This really riles my dad, who in his early days was allowed to keep many more to bring home.

Walleye can be bought in stores for anywhere from $7-$9. per pound. If I ever figured out the cost of boat, fuel, equipment and lodging it would cost much more than that. Store bought is not as fun and at least I know where my fish came from.


Native Indians in Canada are allowed to harvest fish with a net commercially but the Canuckistanian government also restricts their permits and harvest. Where we go in Ontario an Ojibwe reservation is not far away. Since our limit is restricted we usually purchase a large amount from them to be taken across the border legally. I usually purchase ten pounds from one of the braves at about $6. per. To make the fish last we freeze the fillets and vacuum seal them in plastic with a FoodSaver.


I highly recommend the FoodSaver. On Sunday I took out the last bag of walleye from the freezer and fried them up. The taste is probably not quite as good as fresh caught but I couldn’t tell without a side by side comparison. After ten months there was no sign of dehydration or freezer burn. They tasted fabulous.


Fish and game never goes to waste when vacuum sealing and buying food staples in bulk saves tons of dough.

For instance, at my local grocery store I can buy a 5lb. brick of cheddar for under $10. When I divide it into .5-1lb. chunks and vacuum seal them it can save me up to 40% over the smaller packaged 8-10 oz size packages. The cheese will last up to a year in the refrigerator, no need for freezing.

10 comments:

Dan from Madison said...

I am big on fried bluegill, they serve it locally in a few places. Perch is more available, I think that perch is farmed more. I like that too, but not as much as the bluegill.

There was a big flap here several years ago about fried walleye. Seems some restaruants were substituting a different type of fish in the walleye family for their "walleye fry". Of course this substitute fish was cheaper. Some people raised a stink.

An old restauranteur summed it up thusly to a reporter: "Do you know what fried walleye tastes like? Tartar sauce." For some reason that funny quote always stuck in my head.

The stuff you prepare Gerry is no doubt miles ahead of most restaurant preparations I would imagine. I can almost taste it through the screen. Lemon only, no tartar please. Order in!

Carl from Chicago said...

Growing up we always used to fry trout. My grandmother was an amazing cook - she had about 9 siblings and cooked for everyone growing up.

That vacuum sealing thing looks cool.

Gerry from Valpo said...

Tartar sauce is for people who hate the taste of fish.

Then again, Iike ketchup on my hot dog.

Dan from Madison said...

ooh, I would say ketchup on the tube steak is a bigger blasphemy than tartar sauce - I don't usually use either.

shopping said...

oh... i too love sea foods very much.
pics looks very yummy.I like mostly the ginger fish.

johnnyj said...

Awesome Gerry...Have you ever left the walleye in the vacuum sealed bag and tried(cooking)it 'sous vide?' That could be interesting...

Gerry from Valpo said...

Never heard of sous vide jj so I looked it up here:

http://www.sousvide.org/

They claim a Food Saver won't do the job of a commercial vacuum sealer. But interesting stuff.

johnnyj said...

I've 'sous vide' salmon before using the food saver (bag) and it worked fine...Tasty stuff, give it a try!

Gerry from Valpo said...

JJ, did you add spices to the salmon before sealing? Now I'm very interested. Tell me more. Shoot me an email if you wish.

johnnyj said...

I only add salt (a must) and pepper...It can be a tricky process, plenty of trial and error...I'll shoot you an email...