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I have an Eye For Walleye

  • m
  • mark grossman Jun 22, 2001 11:20 PM

the greatest tasting fresh water fish I have ever had
is Walleye Pike. Common in the Midwest, and I
have heard that Lake Erie is a major source. Are there
any NYC fish markets or restaurants that feature it.??

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  1. My wife is from Minnesota and has always raved about walleye. Early in our marriage I wanted to suprise her with some walleye. Every day I'd drive up West St. in Manhattan and spy a place called "Midwest Live Fish." One day I called them to inquire whether they could steer me to a fish shop that carried walleye. They couldn't. They only dealt in carp sales to Chinese restaurants and fish markets. Many years later I'd still like to suprise my wife but I still have not found a local source for walleye.

    12 Replies
    1. re: Deven Black

      I agree that walleye is the world's best eating fish. (It is a freshwater fish native to the midwest). Unfortunately, even after looking around, I haven't found walleye locally either. There may be a simple reason for this -- they are arguably the hardest fish in the world to clean. This may be why it isn't "exported."

      1. re: Edward Aretz

        I think the answer is...vacation in Michigan. Walleye is one of the best (though secret) fish to eat. I think of it as freshwater grouper. Sweet, succulent and fresh-tasting, it's one of the best aspects of midwest chow--esp. MI.

        1. re: berkleybabe

          And while we're at it, what about some nice sautéed Lake Erie perch? So sweet and tender it's worth the PCBs. (Ditto Walleye.) I grew up fishing on Lake Erie, and every time I return perch, pickerel, or walleye pike is the first thing I want.

          1. re: Tom Steele

            Nice to know another walleye fan--- good taste, Tom! Though in many parts Up North, pickerel and walleye are used interchangably. I've understood they're the same fish. In any case, if it's on the menu, I order it.

            1. re: berkleybabe

              I may be mistaken but believe that pickerel (called "grass pike" in Southern ontario Canada)is not the same fish as walleye. Both are members of the pike family but I distinctly recall my father fishing for walleye and on occasion catching what was described as a pickerel (and differentiated from a walleye). favorite fresh local fish in this area is fried bullhead dinners, typically available for $8-10 per dinner, often with all you can eat. The difference freshwater bullheads and the farm raised catcatfish/bullheads available in local grocery chains is like night and day.

              1. re: Owen O'Neill

                The walleye/ is it pickerel debate continues...Thanks for the info on bullhead. Even though we're close so Southern Canada (Detroit metro) I've never heard of bullhead--freshwater, I presume, Great Lakes fish? Can you give me an idea of its taste/ where the dinners you're referring to are served? May be worth a drive!

                1. re: berkleybabe

                  I've never heard of Bullhead either. Sheephead, yes. Inedible trash fish, big and uglier than even Monkfish.

                  Walleye and Pickerel are a bit different. Pickerel is lighter, more buttery. Both are pike.

                  I grew up in Toledo and Lakeside, Ohio, BTW, Berkley Babe. Probably have driven right by you on my way from the Detroit airport to Toledo. I'll honk next time!

                  1. re: Tom Steele

                    Hey,Tom --thanks for the walleye /pickerel Ohio distinction - this may be a very regional distinction..many of my Michigan friends don't differentiate. And, yeah, when you're driving by (for you) up north past 12 mile I 75, honk away. I'll hear you and raise a walleye fillet.

                    1. re: berkleybabe

                      And I'll heave out a frozen block of perch at that precise location--enough to last you 2 weeks!

                    2. re: Tom Steele
                      d
                      David "Zeb" Cook

                      Bullheads, I guess, must be a Midwest/Central Canada kind of thing. They were real common and easy to catch in the Iowa lakes I grew up on. Kind of like a little catfish except they were real easy to bone. As I remember, they had feelers that could sting a little and you had to peel the skin with pliers. My granddad would spend the morning fishing (bobber on the line and a deep-set hook because they're bottom fish), clean them in the afternoon and then we'd have a big bullhead fry -- fillets breaded in cornmeal and pan-fried.

                      The memories of my youth. Haven't had them in ages - bullhead, that is.

                      David "Zeb" Cook

                2. re: berkleybabe
                  m
                  Michael Hoffman

                  In some portions of the Great Lakes region walleyes are still called pickerel. In Ontario, pickerel is the name used by nearly all residents. The walleye and the pickerel, though are completely different species. The pickerel is in the same family as the pike and the muskellunge.

                  1. re: Michael Hoffman

                    So, in other place than the Midwest, do walleye and pickerel show up as different fish? Is there a taste difference? In my experience pickerel and walleye are succulent, sweet tasting fish--I'd be interested to know the diff betwen the 2 as I think of them as the same item. And my favorite freshwater fish.

        2. m
          Michael Hoffman

          The walleye is not a member of the pike (Esox) family. Walleyes are related to the yellow perch and sauger, plus, the hybrid saugeye. They are common across the midwest, especially in the Great Lakes region, although the world record walleye was caught in Greer's Ferry Lake in Arkansas. Walleyes are also plentiful in parts of the northweast, including Connecticut.

          1. Ok you guys & gals, my husband is from Milwaukee and an avid walleye fan. He has his brother from Wisc., Fed Ex us some every year. We usually fry them, but we have been looking for other ways to prepare these wonderful delicacy's and are unable to come up with anything worth trying. Do you have any suggestions?
            Thank's for any help you can send my way!!