W;;;;;;; ;;; ;;;;;;;;;; ;;;; ;;;;;;; ;; Minnesota, and not just because they’re the state fish. They’re challenging to catch, swim in more than 1,500
lakes, and their value as table fare is unmatched. No ma;er
how it’s prepared, the flaky, thick and mild-tasting fish is a feast
fit for royalty.
While some people swear by coating walleye with
breadcrumbs and spices and deep-frying it, others prefer
simple seasoning and a few minutes in the oven. Fishermen
who prize freshness above all else may catch a few walleyes
in the morning, pull their boat ashore at lunch and cook their
catch over an open fire.
There’s a certain satisfaction that comes with eating
walleyes you caught yourself, and there’s no other way to get
a fresher fillet. For the average person who isn’t a walleye-fishing expert, hiring a professional guide not only reduces the
learning curve, but also provides the best opportunity to catch
your next meal. Guides have intimate knowledge of the waters
they fish and generally know exactly where to go.
Fishing guides throughout the state specialize in leading
people to walleyes. Some of them include shore lunches in
their packages, which involves the guide cooking the fish their
clients catch. These services make it possible for anglers to
catch their fish and eat them just minutes or hours later.
If hiring a guide isn’t in the cards or you’d rather give it a
shot on your own, consider lakes such as Lake of the Woods,
Leech, Mille Lacs, Minnetonka, O;er Tail, Sarah, Upper Red and
Vermilion. All have robust walleye populations.
Once caught, eating walleye is the reward for all your
hard work. Most people prefer to cook their own catch,
but some restaurants—including Border View Lodge in
Baude;e, Outpost Bar & Grill in Deer River, Splashing
Rock Restaurant in Two Harbors and Twin Pines Resort in
Garrison—will prepare the fish you’ve caught while you relax
a;er a long pursuit.
The Red Lake Band of Chippewa in northwest Minnesota
provides walleye to a variety of restaurants in the state. Tribal
members catch all of the band’s walleyes by hand from Lower
Red Lake. People can order walleye fillets directly from Red
Lake Fishery, or go to one of the restaurants that serve them,
which include Gianni’s Steakhouse in Wayzata, Minnesota
Nice Cafe in Bemidji, FireLake Grill House in Minneapolis and
Bloomington, and Riverside Inn in Side Lake.
Save for the band’s limited distribution, it’s illegal to fish
for walleyes in Minnesota commercially. As a result, many
restaurants serve walleye that was caught in Canada and
imported. But it tastes the same as Minnesota-caught walleye,
and very few people would be able to tell the di;erence.
From luxurious to low key, hundreds of Minnesota
restaurants serve excellent walleye in a variety of ways,
including Burntside Lodge in Ely, Interlachen Inn in
Alexandria, Lord Fletcher’s in Spring Park, Tavern on
Grand in St. Paul and The Boulders in Walker, to name a few.
Where to Eat Walleye
Whether you catch it yourself or not,
Minnesota knows how to serve up our state fish. | JOE ALBERT
Vr n l p o
FIRELAKE GRILL HOUSE, BLOOMINGTON & MINNEAPOLIS