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Tailgate Fish Fry

I typically say walleye, but some smart Ash will correct me so I said it right. I'll be down fishing and someone will ask doing any good? Yeah catching walleye....they say you mean saugeye? I'm like yeah man whatever same difference they taste the same.
Unless they're stocked, it's generally good to take them out of the fishery because they don't reproduce anyway. We keep the saugeye as much as possible, especially when we're catching them along with either walleye or sauger.
 
I can't tell the difference in taste between perch and walleye. Northern is really good too if you know someone who can filet out the Y bones. All 3 are delicious IMO
Pike was the only fish that my dad ever wanted to keep for eating. There were/are some big pike in a specific spot in a stream that I fish for trout, so I would try to catch a big one or a couple medium-sized ones for him every spring to eat.

If you're willing to experiment until you get it right, you can fillet them without the Y-bones. There are two ways that I know to do it. Both work best with larger pike. Here's a method that seems complicated when you listen/watch, but it's actually fairly straight forward when you try it:

This method looks easy when they do it, but it takes a bit of practice. If you do it, assume that you'll mess up the first few times, but even if you have to make multiple cuts, the meat still tastes the same:
 

ksuhusker

In a tree somewhere
5 Year Member
Unless they're stocked, it's generally good to take them out of the fishery because they don't reproduce anyway. We keep the saugeye as much as possible, especially when we're catching them along with either walleye or sauger.
Agree, we did actually catch a few Walleye (actual) and plenty of saugeye. I didn't think there were any walleye in the spot we were at but there is some which is good since they can spawn and hatch. We did find quite a few walleyes below the dam which means they're leaving through Milford outlets, and swimming up stream.
 

berryhusker

Travel Squad
10 Year Member
Pike was the only fish that my dad ever wanted to keep for eating. There were/are some big pike in a specific spot in a stream that I fish for trout, so I would try to catch a big one or a couple medium-sized ones for him every spring to eat.

If you're willing to experiment until you get it right, you can fillet them without the Y-bones. There are two ways that I know to do it. Both work best with larger pike. Here's a method that seems complicated when you listen/watch, but it's actually fairly straight forward when you try it:

This method looks easy when they do it, but it takes a bit of practice. If you do it, assume that you'll mess up the first few times, but even if you have to make multiple cuts, the meat still tastes the same:
Cool, thanks for sharing. I have a friend who can filet out the y bones really well. We went fishing out by Mullen once in a private pond and the owner instructed us to keep all the pike or toss them on the bank because he wanted them out. We kept every fish we could filet and released the rest. I would filet the back meat and he did the rest. We came home with about 50lbs of pike. Biggest one was 36" or 38" can't remember, but we had a blast.
 
Cool, thanks for sharing. I have a friend who can filet out the y bones really well. We went fishing out by Mullen once in a private pond and the owner instructed us to keep all the pike or toss them on the bank because he wanted them out. We kept every fish we could filet and released the rest. I would filet the back meat and he did the rest. We came home with about 50lbs of pike. Biggest one was 36" or 38" can't remember, but we had a blast.
Fwiw, if you have a lake with a lot of pike, leave the biggest ones in the lake and take out as many of the smaller ones as possible. The bigger ones will eventually eat enough of the little ones to get things back into balance. Pike handle low O2 levels that kill most other fish during hard winters, plus they spawn first, so it's good to have a species like bluegills in the lake with them to eat a bunch of their eggs to keep them from overpopulating.

The trout stream where I took out pike was the opposite situation. The stream had no natural trout population, so all of the trout were/are stocked. The browns were stocked as fingerlings and grew up wild, and often got very, very long (I caught 20" plus and saw much larger), but the rainbows were stocked for catch and release, and only a handful would survive through the winters. The creek chubs in the stream were/are so plentiful that it's often almost impossible to fly fish for the trout without catching them first. The pike got in there somehow, and they have thrived in one specific large pool where the smaller pike eat the chubs, and the larger pike eat the stocked trout and the smaller pike. I don't know of anyone else who fishes that particular pool for pike, so I've taken it upon myself to try to keep the ecosystem in balance. I remove pike that are big enough to eat the trout, but I leave a couple of the biggest to eat the other little pike. The little pike keep the chub population down, so when everything is in balance, it's a good thing. There are (or at least have been) pike in that one relatively small pool that are pushing 40". I keep everything I catch between 24" and 36".
 

berryhusker

Travel Squad
10 Year Member
Fwiw, if you have a lake with a lot of pike, leave the biggest ones in the lake and take out as many of the smaller ones as possible. The bigger ones will eventually eat enough of the little ones to get things back into balance. Pike handle low O2 levels that kill most other fish during hard winters, plus they spawn first, so it's good to have a species like bluegills in the lake with them to eat a bunch of their eggs to keep them from overpopulating.

The trout stream where I took out pike was the opposite situation. The stream had no natural trout population, so all of the trout were/are stocked. The browns were stocked as fingerlings and grew up wild, and often got very, very long (I caught 20" plus and saw much larger), but the rainbows were stocked for catch and release, and only a handful would survive through the winters. The creek chubs in the stream were/are so plentiful that it's often almost impossible to fly fish for the trout without catching them first. The pike got in there somehow, and they have thrived in one specific large pool where the smaller pike eat the chubs, and the larger pike eat the stocked trout and the smaller pike. I don't know of anyone else who fishes that particular pool for pike, so I've taken it upon myself to try to keep the ecosystem in balance. I remove pike that are big enough to eat the trout, but I leave a couple of the biggest to eat the other little pike. The little pike keep the chub population down, so when everything is in balance, it's a good thing. There are (or at least have been) pike in that one relatively small pool that are pushing 40". I keep everything I catch between 24" and 36".
Good to know, thank you. The owner of that property I referenced has since passed. It was only about 3 or 4 feet but was spring fed, halfway between Minden and Valentine. They had some monster perch too and we caught a few of those. It was a treasure, not sure if the place is still around. I can PM you if you're interested in researching.
 
Good to know, thank you. The owner of that property I referenced has since passed. It was only about 3 or 4 feet but was spring fed, halfway between Minden and Valentine. They had some monster perch too and we caught a few of those. It was a treasure, not sure if the place is still around. I can PM you if you're interested in researching.
No. that's fine. There are a lot of spring-fed creeks along that latitude, but because trout weren't native to the Nebraska/South Dakota area, most of them never had trout in them. All springs at the same latitude have the same temperature, so the place you fished would have supported trout, too, though they wouldn't have necessarily been able to reproduce in the wild. Perch and pike are considered warm water species, but there is an overlap in that they prefer colder waters than most freshwater fish. Pike, perch, smallmouth bass, and brown trout will all overlap in about 60-ish degree water and do well.
 
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