How to Cook Fish, How to Clean Fish Minnesota Walleye, Pike, Panfish, Recipes For Fish Fried Fish, Pickled Fish, Smoked Fish

Fish recipes and how to clean and care for freshwater fish. Click on links to recipes and articles.

Jeff's Authentic Walleye Shore Lunch Recipe! No Foolin!

Walleye - Removing the Lateral Bone Line

Walleye Easy Pan Fry

Walleye, Baked Fish Recipe

Rainbow Trout Baked

Northern Pike - Basic Overview

Northern Pike - Remove The Y Bones

Walleye Beer Batter

Northern Pike - Blackened Pike

Pike - Pickled Pike

Duck Recipes

Northern Pike - Fish Boil Northern

Smoked Fish


Morel Mushroom Soup




Morel Mushrooms For Soup
Morel Mushrooms are great with Walleye. Try using them in this soup recipe and you'll agree with me, Best Soup Ever!

Preheat oven to 475 F. Use a shallow baking pan lined with foil. Insert a flat baking rack into the pan.

Rinse the fish under cold water and pat dry. Slice lemon into thin rounds using a sharp knife.

Lightly sprinkle cavities of fish with salt, lemon pepper, garlic powder and onion powder. Add 2 or 3 sprigs of the dill weed into the cavity and half of the lemon slices.

Coat skin with butter or vegetable oil. Spread dill sprigs over the skin and top with remaining lemon slices. Sprinkle lightly with paprika. Pour wine down the side of the pan to coat the bottom under the rack. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes.

Morel Mushrooms For Soup
Photo courtesy Bill and Karrie Treichel: Bill's First Ever Fresh Caught Rainbow Trout. It's ready for the oven and the recipe is so simple!

A Few Words About Northern Pike

The small to medium size Northern Pike that have become over-abundant in Northern Minnesota are the perfect target for folks who want to have a lot of action and really enjoy eating fish. Our Department of Natural Resources reports that these smaller fish are so abundant, that it's hard to imagine how fishing pressure could ever reduce the population significantly. Bring the kids and learn how to use some these great eating fish. Yes, you'll have to learn "How To Remove the Y- bones", but it's easy to do and the more practice you get, the better you'll like 'em.
Don't be fooled by some of the folks that don't want to fool around with Northern Pike! Lots of us know how many mouth watering ways there are to prepare these scrappy fish. In fact, there are times when the Northern Pike is the best possible choice for recipes that just wouldn't work for some of our other fish. There are a few key things to remember when you're planning to fix a meal using the Northern Pike. Clean and bone the fish while it is still fresh. The quality of the fillets depends on preventing them from deteriorating. Don't let your fish sit in the live well or ice chest any longer than necessary. When you get off the lake, clean the fish right away. Use Pike when they are fresh. Northern Pike don't remain fresh while frozen as well some of the other popular eating fish. We try to keep only enough for our next meal and plan to use them in a day or two. If we find that freezing some of the fish becomes necessary, we always try to freeze them in a zip-lock plastic bag with water. Even then, try to use the Pike as soon as possible.
Here are some of my favorite ways to prepare Northern Pike for the table. Each one of these recipes has been "Guide Proven" on fishing trips with my customers and have the official "Early Bird" seal of approval!

Northern Pike: Removing the Y-Bones Easy and Clean!

Northern Pike Ready For Cleaning This 24 inch Pike (left) is perfect for most of the recipes we use. You can use larger Pike if you want, but we really encourage releasing the larger fish and utilizing some of these over-abundant smaller fish.
Right: Begin by filleting the fish and removing the rib bones as you would with Walleye or other freshwater fish. There's no difference in cleaning these fish up to this point. Once you have taken the fillet, notice the line of light bones visible between the center line and the top (fishes back) of the fillet. We call these Y-Bones, but there is really no "Y". The shape is more like the letter "L". Northern Pike Fillet

Left: These are the fillets before removing the Y-Bones. The basic fillet process is the same for most of the fish we catch in Northern Minnesota. To learn more about filleting fish click here.

Northern Pike Fillet with Y Bone Removed

Left: These are the fillets with all of the Y-Bones removed. Notice the small notches in the Pike fillets. This is all there is to it. With a little practice, these bones can be removed in just a few seconds. Pickled fish lovers can save the strips and use them for the pickled fish recipe included in this section.

To begin removing the Y-Bone, use the tip of your knife to make a cut just above the top of this line of bones. The tip of your knife will begin touching the bones where they turn in the direction of the fishes back. Don't cut through them! Your second cut should follow this line of bones as they turn toward the top of the fillet. Now you will see the entire row of bones exposed from one side. Your third and final cut is to slip the knife under this row of bones and simply follow the same angle as cut 2, cutting the bones out from the opposite side.

The finished fillets are cut into thirds. This is the perfect size for most of the recipes we use at home.

Note: I've updated some of this information. Click here to see an improved version and watch for additional updates as soon as the fishing season opens and I can legally obtain a Pike for new photos.

Northern Pike Fullets Cut Into Three Pieces Each

Minnesota Cajun Pike Recipe - From the Early Bird Guide, Jeff Sundin

Catching Northern Pike in the Grand Rapids area has new meaning for folks who have tried my "semi blackened Pike". Sometimes I refer to this jokingly as "Norwegian Style Cajun" because we prepare it using only a light coat of seasoning. Once you try this, you'll be back for more and I guarantee this will be a hit with your friends and family.

*We strongly recommend preparing this dish outside using a propane cooker.

A delicious and healthful way to prepare Pike of 2 to 3 pounds in size. The ingredients are simple and the finished product is light and mouth watering. This is the "tenderloin" of freshwater fish dishes.

Ingredients: Pike fillets boned and cut into thirds, Olive Oil, Louisiana Cajun Spice Mix (or substitute your favorite spice mix). If you don't care for the spicy version. Just use a little lemon pepper and a dash of salt.

Minnesota Cajun Pike

Cajun Pike

1) Prepare the fillets by cutting them into thirds and coating them with Olive oil. Use only enough olive oil to lightly coat each fillet to prevent sticking in the hot pan. You do not need any only in the pan!

2) Lightly sprinkle each fillet with spice mix prior to placing in the frying pan.

3) Pre-heat a cast iron (best), steel or other non-teflon-coated frying pan under high heat without oil. You'll know it's ready when you begin to see smoke coming from the dry pan. Sear the Northern Pike fillets for a few minutes on each side until fish is cooked, but do not over-cook fish until it dries out. Fillets should be served juicy and hot!

This simple, healthful and delicious dish can be prepared in just a few minutes and it only takes a couple of these small Pike make a great meal for my family of four.

Cajun Pike In Hot Skillet

Pickled Northern: The old stand-by for all of us who love pickled fish. If you are a pickled fish fan, Northern Pike is the perfect fish to use for pickling. Finished pieces are firm and sweet. Great for parties and makes a great snack too.

Starting Brine Phase 1: 1 Cup Salt per Each 1 Quart Water.  Fish pieces soak for 2 Days Exactly.

Vinegar Brine Phase 2: Drain starting brine - Do not rinse fish pieces. Soak in White Vinegar, completely covered for 24 hours. After 24 hours, Drain Vinegar-Do not rinse fish pieces.

Northern Pike pieces in preliminary pickling brine.

Left: Northern Pike Fillets cut into pieces about 1 inch square. Use a large plastic bowl and cover with enough liquid to completely immerse all of the pieces.       Right: Final solution, use a large pickling jar or plastic container like this Tupperware bowl, be sure pieces are packed loosely and completely covered with liquid. During the final stage, the fish is ready to eat after about 5 days. But the finished product will last in the refrigerator for several months.

Pickled Northern Pike in Final Brine Solution

Finishing Brine Phase 3: Mix 4 Cups White Vinegar, 3 Cups Sugar Heat to dissolve Sugar - Let stand until cool Add 1 Cup White Wine (Silver Satin preferred but other "sweet" white wines will work) 1/4 Cup mixed pickling spice Let mixture cool thoroughly before adding to fish. Layer fish pieces and sliced onions in jar and cover with pickling solution recipe leave covered with pickling solution and let soak for 1 week before eating. Fish will last for several months in refrigerator.

Smoking Fish - Basic Salt Brine Recipe Basic Brine Mixture To Use As Dry Brine To Use As Wet Brine

Smoked Tulibees

Watch Jeff walk through the whole process on video. Smoking Tulibees January 2011.

5 Lbs Canning/Pickling Salt
2 Lbs Brown Sugar
2 TBSP Onion Powder
1 TBSP Garlic Powder
1 TBSP Mace
2 TBSP Oregeno

This recipe makes several batches of smoked fish and can be used for other meat too. Mix thoroughly, store in well sealed zip-lock bags.

For me, 1Gallon size freezer bags with 1-1/2 cups of powder in each is perfect.

In large plastic bag, add about 1 cup of dry mixture and shake moistened fish in powder until coated liberally. Add small portions of dry brine as needed to avoid mixture becoming wet or "slushy". Coating should be uniform and heavy. For larger, whole fish, add powder to inside of body cavity.

Place fish in suitable plastic, crock or glass container. While curing, store in refrigerator. Curing time depends on personal taste, 6 to 12 hours depending on size of fish and salt taste desired.

Use a clean crock, glass container or plastic pail. Do not use metal container. Mix 1-1/2 cups of powder in about 8 cups of water, stir until mixed thoroughly.

Check for correct mixture by dropping in a peeled potato or fresh, un-cooked egg. The egg or potato should float easily. If either will not float, add small amounts of powder until they do.

Place fish in liquid and use a glass plate to keep pieces completely submerged. Soak 8 to 12 hours. Keep chilled, stir occasionally.

*For either method, remove cured pieces of fish from brine, rinse in cold water and place on paper towel covered cookie sheet(s). Keep fish refridgerated and let dry until outer skin feels dry to the touch. Once ready, smoke fish for about 2.5 hours at 220 to 240 degrees.

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