Eat What You Catch

For most anglers fishing is about the fun and excitement of heading out for a day on the water, with some friends and just having a good time. I strongly encourage the “catch and release” policy when fishing, but from time to time it doesn’t hurt to keep a few of the fish you catch to enjoy a great shore lunch. Luckily I live in Southern Ontario where most of our lakes and rivers are clean and in turn the fish are healthy which makes them great to eat. Nothing beats working for your meal and it gives you more satisfaction when you eat something that you actually caught and prepared. Shore lunches or dinners are a great way to show off your catch to your friends and family as well as a perfect way to end a day out on the water.

There are a few prized fish when it comes to taste. One of the best fish to eat is arguable walleye. This fish has a nice lean white meat and are usually easy to clean and fry up. Early in the spring when walleye season opens up you will find it best to head out and get a few of these.  After their spring spawn the fish are plentiful and if you get on a good school of them you can reach your limit very quickly. They can also be caught through the ice and nothing beats a nice fried fish when it is cold outside. Of course please check your local regulations to see how many you are allowed to keep. Also bear in mind that you should only keep when you are actually going to eat, please don’t waste any of the fish.

A great species of fish that is easy to catch and a great introduction to eating fish are perch. Perch are found in almost all waters in Southern Ontario and they can easily be caught all year long and with something as simple as a worm and bobber. They are a great way to introduce children to fishing as they can see that their catch is going to great use and they are usually enthusiastic about eating something that they caught. I remember the first fish I ever caught was a sunfish when I was 4 years old and I ate it with my grandpa. Now sunfish are not the greatest fish to eat as they tend to have a lot of bones but it showed me that there can be a great reward for a days fishing, a nice meal.

Personally my favorite fish to eat is whitefish. These fish usually tend to live the deep waters and for me the best place to go and get into some is Lake Simcoe, especially during the ice fishing season. Whitefish are similar in taste to walleye but tend to have a little more flavor for me. They are easy to clean and fry up beautifully. One average sized whitefish is good enough for 3 people so keep in mind you do not have to reach your limit for the day in order to have enough to eat.

The Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources has a guide for eating the fish that are caught in Ontario. They publish this guide every 2 years and they do extensive testing of the water and of the fish to check and make sure that they are safe to eat. We all know that fish can contain high levels of mercury but there are other chemicals in our waters that pollute a fish. Please read over the guide carefully before eating any fish and use your own common sense, if you are fishing water near a treatment plant or a nuclear plant, then it is probably not a good idea to eat a fish from those areas.

So if you haven’t already tried get out there catch some fish and enjoy a nice shore lunch with some friends and family.