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Minnesota: Panfish other than walleye

I like wall-eye. Good wall-eye, well prepared. But the littler fish, to me, are tastier.

But, since I have not angled since I was in my teens, I have not had some sunnies or crappies for a long time. Does anyone know of a restaurant that serves these panfish?

Or, do I have to go get a license?

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  1. I don't recall having seen panfish on restaurant menus. That said, I would never order walleye or fish I can catch myself from a restaurant so I may have seen it and not paid any attention to it.

    I'm not entirely familiar with the ins and outs of commercial fishing but I would imagine panfish are not commercially fished or even conducive to commercial fishing. Not enough market demand for them, inefficiency of cleaning, not a lot of profit to be made for the work...those would be my suspicions. I have absolutely no evidence to support those guesses though.

    Go grab a license, cheap fishing rod, and a good filet knife (or make friends with someone with the above). Bring a kid along!

    1. I remember seeing some pan fish, sunnies or crappies, at Lund's last year. I thought they were very expensive, but I fish and get sunnies and crappies when I want them. I'll keep a look out for you.

      1. There are certain things that you just can't buy, like fresh chokecherries and tiny panfish.

        But this thread mentions a buffet with sunnies and crappies at Nancy's Landing in Waconia:

        http://www.chowhound.com/topics/125544

        Anne

        1 Reply
        1. re: AnneInMpls

          The pan fish at Nancy's Landing was my mention. They were fried and part of the buffet special. They probably are not a regular menu item but this time of year they may be available regularly in their buffet.

          As for walleye I am maintaining this pictorial gallery on those succulent sandwiches.

          http://web.mac.com/davydd/iWeb/Site/W...

        2. Fisher's Supper Club in Avon, Minnesota off I94 a few exits North of St. Cloud has sunfish on its menu:

          http://fishersclub.com/photogallery/d...
          http://fishersclub.com/menu.html

          Tues - Sun, evenings only, summers only. I'll write more on this later. I'm kind of wiped out right now.

          ~TDQ

          1. oooh I love panfish - especially crappie & perch which I think tastes like walleye. I love to catch & cook my own fish though so that is usually how I get my panfish.

            I used to work at a restaurant on Mille Lacs lake as a teen, and they would allow people to bring in fish they caught and the chef would prepare them for you, and you would also get the salad bar, potato etc., for a pretty cheap price. That restaurant is gone but I'm almost positive that there are others in resorty parts of the state that do the same thing.. usually called something like a "you catch em we cook em" special.

            At the restaurant I worked at the Walleye came from Canada. I was always under the impression that most native MN fish could not legally be sold to restaurants.

            5 Replies
            1. re: Jitterbug

              That is correct--all commercial walleye sold in Minnesota is from Canada.

              ~TDQ

              1. re: Jitterbug

                I don't think it's a question of legality, it's just that nobody in MN commercially farms them. That's what the fish guy at Lund's told me.

                Also, I think I saw a sunfish platter as a special at Vic's this past weekend, but it's not on their regular menu.

                1. re: Loren3

                  I'm not familiar with walleye farming--I was referring more to the fishing limits in Minnesota, which are exceedingly restrictive, and, as a result, most, if not all, walleye --certainly wild-caught--sold at restaurants in Minnesota are from Canada.

                  ~TDQ

                  1. re: Loren3

                    There are a couple of points on the (non)availability of MN walleye as I understand it:

                    1. Commercial fishing of any kind in Minnesota (if I remember correctly) is only granted to Native Americans

                    2. The specific nature of our lake bottoms (sandy vs rocky) means that MN lakes tend to have a higher mercury content than other places.

                    As to the original question - panfish is very hard to find on any restaurant menu... the only place I have run across it has been G's Cafe in Anoka, and that for only a very short time this spring.

                    1. re: djohnson22

                      Here's some pretty good information from MPR about Walleye fishing by the Red Lake band in Minnesota and some of the overfishing issues, etc.

                      From 2006
                      http://minnesota.publicradio.org/disp...

                      From 1998 (when the problems were at their worst:
                      )http://news.minnesota.publicradio.org...

                      ~TDQ