(Stizostedion vitreum): WILD CAUGHT
WALLEYE PIKE is perhaps the most popular freshwater game fish in North America. Distributed throughout the continent’s lakes and rivers, the walleye pike offers even expert fisherman the ultimate challenge. Elusive in their deep water habitats, walleyes are tough fighters and, when finally landed, are a dinner-plate trophy that is commonly thought to be unequaled by any other freshwater species.
Walleyes (walleyed pike, jackfish, dore, ol’ marble eyes) are not actually true pike – but a closer member of the lake perch family. They tend to congregate at the sandy depths of lakes, reservoirs and rivers with steady currents. Extremely sensitive to light, they feed in dim-light periods (dawn, dusk) primarily on smaller fish and aquatic insects. Their particular habits and feeding patterns make them even more difficult to acquire. In fact, the scientific name vitreum is Latin for “glassy,” a reference to the fish’s opaque eyeballs and nocturnal foraging behavior.
Averaging about 3 to 6 pounds each (world record catch was a 46 pounder!), they are olive green on their sides with gold spots, and are distinguished by a spiny dorsal fin and a protruding lower jaw. Female pike are typically larger than the males, and can live as long as 26 years. Our walleye pike comes from the Great Lakes region where it is commercial fished on the Canadian waters. Commercial harvest in the U.S. is extremely limited as stocks are favored for recreational fishing – millions of pike fry are raised and released into the U.S. Great Lakes just to sustain the sport fishing industry alone. Recreational pike fishing in the U.S. is further managed to protect the long term health of the stocks – a tribute to its great popularity with fishermen.
Walleye pike flesh is snowy white, delicately flaky and “sole-like” in texture, sweet in flavor, and is generally considered the premium freshwater species for the dining table. The meat of the pike is lean and has a robust shelf life. Prepare in just about any manner imaginable, and the pike is sure to be the center of attention. Current catch sizes average between 4 to 6 pounds each. Seasonal & Limited Catch Availability is not uncommon.
Catch Region: Lake Erie, Canada
Seasonality: Late Spring-Summer/Limited
Catch Method: Gillnet, Trap Net
Yield (Fillet Percentage): 49 %
Flavor Profile: Sweet, Medium Flavor
Texture Profile: Delicate, Finely Flaked