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Jul 8, 2010 09:46 AM

Any restaurants in Chicago that will cook fish I catch myself?

My buddy is flying in from Denver for his bachelor party in Chicago and we are going fishing on Lake Michigan. I was wondering if anyone knew of a restaurant that would allow us to bring in our catch to cook for us? Thanks in advance

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  1. I know of some byob places but no byof.

    2 Replies
    1. re: HoosierFoodie

      I would think most insurers would prohibit that.

      1. re: ferret

        I don't know about insurers - it's a good point - but in addition, I suspect that there might be sanitary and health inspection type issues with bringing in your own ingredients. Also, I suspect restaurants would not want to do this, because they would have no control over the quality of the ingredients, and would not want to get blamed if the food turned out to be less than satisfactory.

    2. Actually,I don't think it's a good idea to eat Lake Michigan fish; sadly the lake is fairly badly polluted with mercury and other heavy metals. Not too far out of town, in Wisconsin and Michigan, there are small lakes where there is good fishing, but not being a fisherman, I can't recommend any specific ones. Lake Michigan is good for boating and swimming--current water temperature is in the 60's.

      7 Replies
      1. re: lina14

        >> I don't think it's a good idea to eat Lake Michigan fish

        As a blanket statement, this overstates the level of concern. The Illinois EPA monitors the levels of 14 chemical contaminants in fish, and issues advisories which vary depending on the type of fish and the body of water where it is found. You can find an overview for fish from Lake Michigan and other Illinois waterways posted on the Illinois Department of Public Health website at and the current 2010 advisory at

        1. re: nsxtasy

          I don't know any restaurants but my family used to take our catch to Hagens Fish Market on Montrose to have them smoke it for us.

          That was a long time ago but they are still doing it. If you catch Lake Trout make sure you ask them to remove the belly portion before smoking. The belly contains a lot of fat and some stinky stuff that will ruin the whole fish. I know because they ruined my 12.5 pounder.

          1. re: cajundave

            LOL -

            I was just trying to remember the name of that place. I just got back from a trip and I have a ton of rainbows I'd like to have smoked just to try.

            1. re: gordeaux

              I never had smoked rainbow but it sounds like it might be good. Maybe a sprinkle of guajillo and ancho?

              Where did you catch rainbow?

              1. re: cajundave

                The notion that you can just go "Up North" to find fish in pristine lakes is an Illinois fantasy (that the tourism boards from Michigan, Minnesota, Ontario and Wisconsin are happy to take advantage of). Truth be told, many of our lakes look great, but best not eat too much of the fish.

                The big culprits are PCB's and mercury. PCB's were used by many of our industries and dumped in the larger lakes and rivers, where they sit in the sediments. Mercury comes from the stacks of coal-fired power plants. Coal plants also contributes to acid-rain, which leeches even more mercury from the bedrock. Ironically, mercury has most heavily impacted our most remote lakes.

                For a good source of info, see the following link from the Wisconsin DNR:


                Salmon caught from Lake Michigan isn't all that bad if you remove the fatty belly and back tissue and the skin-- the fish simply doesn't live long enough to accumulate enough to be a problem if you eat in moderation.

                1. re: cajundave

                  The bows are from a tiny little lake up in da U.P. near Gwinn, Michigan.

                  I do a charter out of St Joseph, Michigan every year as well, and I have been meaning to save some of our catch for Hagen's to smoke, but we always wind up having a huge fish fry/grill party, and kind of forget to take some over there. These bows are definitely going to Hagen's. Maybe today.

                  1. re: gordeaux

                    Let me know how it turns out. I haven't been there in a long time.

                    On their website they claim to have fresh shrimp. I don't know any place that really has fresh shrimp.