Friday 18 June 2010

This is a public service announcement ...

... with FISH!

When you think fresh, tasty fish in Manitoba, what do you think of? When you go fishing in the Whiteshell for something to cook up over the fire with a stick of butter, freshly squeezed lemon, and a sprinkle of pepper, what are you trying to catch? Jack fish? Didn't think so. Pickerel? Ya, that's more like it!

Well I've got news for you, buddy. That wasn't a pickerel that they served you at Fude the other day. The fish that everybody calls pickerel in these parts isn't pickerel at all, but walleye. At one time, I thought pickerel was just another name for walleye. In fact, I was so sure of it that I put money on it. I lost my money. A pickerel is a completely different fish.

So if a pickerel isn't a walleye, what is it? A pickerel is a member of family Esocidae, the family that includes the muskellunge (a.k.a. musky) and the dreaded jack fish (a.k.a. northern pike, or you might say, northern pickerel). Yes: a pickerel is a version of that ugly bony fish that you always throw back in the lake -- after taking a picture of it because it's the biggest thing that you've pulled out of the water since that incident with your drunk friend at the pool party. There are different types of pickerel -- the chain pickerel pictured below seems to be the most common -- but it's rare to catch any of them in Manitoba.

Here is a walleye (a member of the perch family):

Here is a pickerel:

Why do we call walleye pickerel? I don't know. We're not the only ones who do it, though. I saw "pickerel" on the menu of a restaurant in Saskatoon. Also, apparently in some circles walleye is called "pike" which is almost worse than calling it pickerel. However, I saw "walleye" on a menu just south of the border, so I think it's mostly a local quirk.

So there you have it. Now get your license and go out and catch yourself something to eat this weekend.


unclebob said...

What? No Sauger?

The Traveler said...

What you don't say if you caught any , Iam disappointed hahahah

cherenkov said...

@Bob: I don't believe Sauger exists.

@OC: I don't fish that much any more, but the last time I caught walleye I actually caught my limit and more. It was out at Whitemouth lake, east of Steinbach. It's a shallow lake -- not typical walleye territory -- but it's stocked with tonnes of good sized pickerel, er walleye. A little tip for you. (unless the jack have eaten them all by now.)

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