Cooking Walleye in Northwestern Ontario

There seems to have been a lot of outdoor fish cookery around the F&S website of late, most recently at … Continued

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There seems to have been a lot of outdoor fish cookery around the F&S website of late, most recently at The Wild Chef blog last Friday. Just so the likes of David Draper and Colin Kearns don’t get to hog it all, I’ll use this photo to point out that we here at The Honest Angler blog are holding up our end, too. Yes, that’s a pan of sizzling, fresh walleye fillets, flanked by a pan of potatoes and onions.

The location was a remote walleye lake in northwestern Ontario, where F&S Deputy Editor Dave Hurteau and I formulated a delightfully self-indulgent daily fishing plan. Fish in the morning with jigs tipped by live minnows or Gulp! baits. By late morning, we inevitably had enough fillet-size walleyes for a generous lunch. So then we’d head back to camp to make up that day’s main meal.

Walleyes, potatoes, and onions were the staples, along with sundry sides from cans in the cabin cupboard. And there was, of course, ample cold beer. Having a big meal at mid-day instead of in the evening meant there was no late evening clean-up, which otherwise might have dragged on until midnight.

All of the foregoing required–obviously–an early afternoon nap. So it usually wasn’t until 3 o’clock or so that we got ourselves together again to fish through the late afternoon into darkness. So we had the best fishing–early and late–combined with the best eating times day after day.

As a result, by the end of the week I felt refreshed rather than beaten up by long days spent only on the water. The pacing, it turns out, was everything.

And of all that, what I remember most fondly is the snap, crackle, and popping noise of a walleye fillet hitting the hot cooking oil. It reminds me of a favorite quote from a favorite author, Thoreau, who once wrote while preparing some brook trout, “The fat sizzles and calls for fish.”