Pickerel! (aka Walleye)


About this time of year my heart really starts yearning for a walk along the beach of Lake Winnipeg.  People that know me really well, can see that I am lying here.  I am yearning for a walk along the beach of the Is la Mujeres but this year that is not to be.  As I am a practicalist,  I just switch up a couple of details in my head-Lake Winnipeg it is.

ahh Isla

ahh Isla

If you’ve never tasted Winnipeg Goldeye-you deserve to give yourself the treat.  It is a oilier and more solid fish than salmon and is fabulous in your favourite smoke salmon appetizer recipes.  We’ve also started enjoying White Bass from the lake.  It is easier to catch seems more plentiful these days.  Dusted in flour and fried in butter-we eat it by the basketful on the deck with ice cold beer.  There’s usually a horseshoe or boccie tournament going on.

But the prize catch of Lake Winnipeg is Pickerel. Just caught pickerel actually comes alive and dances in your mouth.  I kid you not-that is the most accurate way that I can describe it.  My family loves it very simply prepared but I’ve enjoyed many other versions over the years including fried in crumbled Old Dutch potato chips!

The Lobby's Pickerel and Chips

The Lobby's Pickerel and Chips

There are a number of Grand Beach area restaurants that do pickerel very well.  One of our favourites is the Idyl Thyme where we often celebrate our September wedding anniversary.  In Winnipeg, I’ve loved nut crusted pickerel at Restaurant Dubrovnik’s and panko crusted at The Lobby on York.

Fishing Lake Winnipeg at Sunset

Fishing Lake Winnipeg at Sunset

The best place to buy just caught pickerel is from a local bootlegger but because I will try not to promote any illicit activities, I will not sketch any details here.  There are also multiple Gimli Fish locations in Winnipeg.  Our favourite is the heart of Winnipeg’s North End at Dufferin and McGregor which we always include when we a do a North End Shopping Spree.  I’ll include all of our stops in another entry.  The NE Gimli Fish shop is a corner store-literally.  When you walk in you are struck by the aroma of fish in a very pleasant way.  Perhaps it is made more pleasant by all of the helpful faces of the females behind the counter.  We buy our Panko flakes here as well as mixed seafood for “fruita de mare” recipes and everyone once in a while a treat of pickerel cheeks.  Also the only Winnipeg store that I know of that sells frog legs.  Neechi Foods is another great place to experience and pick up pickerel.

On this night ever cast produced a catch

On this night ever cast produced a catch

The cheek is the little nugget of flesh that can be popped out when your are filletting a pickerel (demonstrated in this U tube link).  I have personally never had this honour but I understand it to be so.  We sautee them in lemon and butter and fresh dill.  They are the close to a small scallop in texture and the taste is totoally unique.  If you don’t live in Winnipeg-come visit us in the summer.  If you do-eat lots of pickerel…it is excellent for your health and the hard working fishermen of Lake Winnipeg will thank you.

4 Comments to

“Pickerel! (aka Walleye)”

  1. Avatar February 9th, 2010 at 10:58 am Reader #1 Says:

    Down the street from Gimli Fish is Mariner Neptune.This is where I work. We are a bigger establishment and carry all the same things and more. We also spcialize in specialty game and fish and supply many of Winnipegs top restaurants. We also supply fish to Canada Safeways, Sobeyes, Costcos and smoked fish in to Superstores. If you ever want a tour let me know and I would be happy to take you. I love your blog and always wait for more. HAve a great day!

  2. Avatar February 9th, 2010 at 11:08 am kath Says:

    Thank you for the info Erica. I would love to tour your facilities. Let me know what would be a good time and we’ll meet up. Thank you too for your praise-I love hearing from readers such as yourself.

  3. Avatar January 1st, 2011 at 8:30 pm kris the fish fr. gimli. sister owns gimli fish in wpg. Says:

    love ur blog. take u in the bomberdear anytime

  4. Avatar January 3rd, 2011 at 8:33 am kath Says:

    bombedear onto the frozen lake to ice fish? can my son go in my place?

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