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cbrooks

eater size northerns

38 posts in this topic

Doesn't matter what species I'm fishing, I seem to catch at least a few pike. Which is a good thing other wise I would be getting skunk alot of the time. I've never keep the pike I caught and I was thinking of giving them a try for the frying pan. What is a good length for eaters 18 to 24 inches? Should I pickle them? At what size would you consider to big to keep (the ones with trophy potetial)?

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people normally pickle them... because then the bones get soft and you don't have to really worry about deboning a northern.. seeing as they are quite the pain in the a$$ to debone...

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20 to 24 are good eating, one thing you may want to look at also is the color of the fins, the yellow fins have a yellowish meat that I don't find as desirable as the red finned fish that have a more clear and pinkish meat that you'll never be able to tell the difference between in a pile of eye fillets, the Y bones take some practice but its nothing once you get it down.

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Yeah 20-24 is a good range. Smaller than that there really isn't a whole lot of meat and larger than that they would be getting fishy. Plus every lake has plenty of fish in that size range, not many lakes have plenty of fish larger than that.

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I prefer 4-6 lb'ers for filleting as you get nicer sized fillets and it only takes a fish or 2 to feed the family, pickle the 2-4 lb'ers, and let the larger ones swim. I would say eat or release standards vary by lake as some lakes are full of 24" fish and others that receive lighter fishing pressure will have high numbers of larger fish.

Steve

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Muskiefool,

Do you know if the fin colors vary by lake or are multiple subspecies present in some lakes? Some of the lakes I fish also have pike with green fins as well. I was just looking at some pictures and noticed most of the fish I caught were either green or red fins.

Steve

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I've never noticed the meat color or should I say make the connection between the meat color and the fin color, that's a pretty good observation. I've also noticed that the yellower colored meat wasn't as tastey as the pinker/whiter fillets.

I tend to keep northerns in the 3-5 pound range for eating. I've been eating them since I was a kid.

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last year I had some with those yellower fins and I got this when I filleted them : anybody know what causes this? hopefully this isnt in violation of the picture posting rules but i don't know how to describe it

073.jpg

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i don't think it's a disease, i'm thinking something from the liver or something in its diet that causes a yellow stain? It only showed up once I cut it open, didn't show yellow on the outside

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That is what happens when you cut into the internal organs. I think the kidney or gallbladder. not sure. be sure to clean the fillet right away as it is not very good tasting.

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I was told about the fins and difference in quality of meat by an old timer about 6-7 years ago, Ive seen both come from the same lake and even on the same spot.

I theorized it came from Crayfish but thats just a hunch.

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Thats a good point. I never paid much attention to the fins before but will do so going forward. It would be interesting to know if it is diet/other living factor related or if they are separate subspecies like the difference between a redfin and siskiwit laker.

Steve

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I only keep a few to eat each year, mostly through the ice and generaly 3-8 pounders. Summertime we keep anything over 33" and donate to the local Taxidermy school. Anythting 40 or better goes on our walls grin

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There's nothing I hate more than pickled fish. GROSS.

Scandinavian food is weird.

That said, pike that are caught, filleted, and fried the same day are fantastic. I never keep ones over 24 inches.

Pan fried, batter/breaded, with whatever seasonings you happen to like is the way to go.

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If you really mean you kill all the pike you catch over 33, I hope you stay in Iowa. Or perhaps I misunderstood.

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If I keep them, it's 24" or less for three reasons:

-under 24" are so common anyway

-not very tasty when larger than this

-at mid 20's" they can start to eat the larger prey and have a chance for trophy size someday

Keep waiting for that 42" plus fish. Would love to get a replica mount done someday if I ever get the chance.

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No we don't kill them all but mount worthy ones go to the school for the class to learn on. 40+ though will go on my wall, and the next 8 pound + silver to. We donate 6-10 a year rest go back.

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There's nothing I hate more than pickled fish. GROSS.

Scandinavian food is weird.

That said, pike that are caught, filleted, and fried the same day are fantastic. I never keep ones over 24 inches.

Pan fried, batter/breaded, with whatever seasonings you happen to like is the way to go.

i agree... pickled food is disgusting.. im polish.. and my mother loves pickled herring.. YUCK

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I like to keep them from 20 - 24 inches. Anything bigger goes back. They taste great in a good beer batter.

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I'm Prussian and pickled herring or pickled pike is top shelf stuff around here...mmmm good.

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I'm Prussian and pickled herring or pickled pike is top shelf stuff around here...mmmm good.

Prussian.. Polish.. almost one in the same...

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Prussian.. Polish.. almost one in the same...

Great gramps just rolled in his grave. shockedgrin

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This almost calls for a favorite pickling recipe post, there is nothing better than pickled fish and a few crackers if done correctly !!!

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