Yesterday was an odd day on Lake Michigan. It was very hot inland but being on the water was pleasantly cool. We knew fishing was reported to be poor but went out anyway for a leisurely boat ride and some sightseeing. The lake was smooth as glass. It was a day when even the smallest boat was safe on what can, at times, be a very dangerous body of water.
We launched at the Hammond Marina next to the big Horseshow Casino. From there we went up to Calumet Harbor to find some perch. Nothing. We headed out to a navigational bouy out in open water that holds fish at times. Nothing there. We got the boat up to speed and headed to East Chicago. Nope. No fish, no boats, nothing but a twenty mile boat ride on a nice day on the water. No regrets.
After a few hours we headed in and hauled out the boat. It was noon, we didn't catch anything but felt like eating some fish. So I suggested we head over to Calumet Fisheries. That's the Chicago Skyway Bridge in the background behind the shack.
Calumet Fisheries is on the bank of the channel that leads to Calumet Harbor where the big ships travel from Lake Michigan to load and unload. It is on the southwest corner of the 95th bridge. You’ve seen the bridge, it’s the one the Blues Brothers jumped in their old Chrysler squad car at the beginning of the movie.
This place reminds me of many small fried shrimp and fish takeout shacks that dotted Northwest Indiana and Chicago’s far south side back in the early 60’s.
This fish shack has been there for decades. Oddly, a month or so ago they won an esteemed James Beard Award.
Inside the walls have photos of the Bluesmobile jump with autographs. A poster of Anthony Bourdain is posted as well. He was there a few years ago and filmed a segment for No Reservations.
CF is famous for smoked salmon and chubs and it’s takeout only. I saw fried smelt on the menu so I went for it. Not a wise choice. The smelt was fishy and tough. I've had better.
But I’ll be back another day for more salmon and chubs. It's a hidden treasure.