The Northern Pikeminnow is an intriguing species of fish, with its aggressive, carnivorous tendencies and the threat that it poses to nearby gamefish.
While pikeminnow are frequent targets for bounty fishers, the topic of eating them is rarely discussed among the fishing community.
While Northern Pikeminnow are not usually regarded as a delicacy for those who catch them, they absolutely are edible and can be both cooked and prepared in many different ways.
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Table of Contents
How to Prepare Northern Pikeminnow For Cooking
How to prepare pikeminnow:
- Scale the fish
- Remove the skin
- Clean and gut the fish
- Fillet the fish
- Add seasonings
The steps that go into preparing Northern Pikeminnow for cooking are very similar to any other type of fish.
To begin, you will need to remove the scales from the outside of the fish.
This can be done with a special scaling tool, or just with the back of a regular knife. The idea of this process is to shave off all of the scales, and when done correctly, they should fall off like crushed up glitter.
Next, you will need to use a sharp knife to remove the skin from the outside of the Pikeminnow. Depending on how you will be cooking the fish, you might want to leave some of the skin on.
For example, pan-fried pikeminnow tastes great with crispy skin on one side. Additionally, smoked pikeminnow can retain all of its skin before cooking.
After all of the scales and skin are removed from the fish as desired, you will need to clean the exterior and remove the internal organs. This can be done by cutting into the middle of the fish’ body and simply removing the guts from the inside.
Once the insides are removed, you will obviously need to clean it out to get rid of any excess toxins that might have been inside of the fish’ body.
The next step of preparing a Northern Pikeminnow will require cutting the meat into fillets.
Unlike most other types of fish, Pikeminnow have been reported to have an extremely strong rib bone.
As a result, you will need to adapt to another filleting technique in order to successfully prepare this type of fish in particular.
Instead of cutting across the rib bones to remove them from the fillet as you would with other fish such as trout, you will need to cut the meat away from these rib bones, leaving the entire carcass behind when you are finished.
Due to the fact that the rib bones are so sturdy, you will most likely dull your knife when trying to fillet the fish traditionally, which is where this alternative technique comes in handy.
As far as the tiny pin-sized bones that are found all throughout the fillets of pikeminnow, there is really no way to remove every trace of sharp bone before cooking and eating.
One of the disadvantages that comes with eating Northern Pikeminnow is the structure of their skeleton and bones. In comparison to similar fish, they have the most pin bones out of all of them.
Although you could spend hours trying to pull out every single piece of bone, you will most likely still come across some traces while you are eating.
As a result, it is best to just fillet the fish off of the carcass without worrying about the pin bones that you will inevitably come across.
Finally, you will add any seasonings or other ingredients to your freshly cut and cleaned fillets as desired, and proceed to cooking your delicious dish.
How to Cook Northern Pikeminnow
How Northern Pikeminnow Can Be Cooked:
As mentioned earlier sections, Northern Pikeminnow can be cooked almost identically to any other type of fish. This includes baking, frying, and smoking the fillets, as well as pickling, currying, and canning the meat.
Since Northern Pikeminnow are best enjoyed while fresh, and do not typically last long as leftovers or frozen goods, you might consider bringing a cooking setup with you on your next fishing trip in order to enjoy your meal while it is as fresh as possible.
Take a look at the list of ingredients below to find out what you will need to pan fry a pikeminnow on the go, no matter where you decide to set up camp.
What you will need:
- Paper/plastic plates and silverware
- Salt and Pepper
- Other seasonings (optional)
- Lemon and thyme (optional)
Step by Step Guide to Cook Northern Pikeminnow
- After you have skinned, cleaned, and filleted your fresh pikeminnow according to the instructions in the above sections, you will need to dust the fish in a mixture of salt, flour, and pepper.
- This can be done in the large ziplock bag for the easiest coating of the fillet with little to no mess. If you will be adding any additional seasonings, you can add them to this mixture.
- Then, you will place a generous spoonful of butter into your hot pan that has been heated for a few minutes on top of your portable propane stove.
- Once the butter is sizzling, you can place your flour-dusted fish into the steaming liquid.
- If you will be using fresh lemon and thyme, they can also be added to the pan to cook into the meat. You can also cut a few fresh slices of lemon to garnish your plate after cooking.
- When both sides of the fish become golden brown and crispy after flipping it to the opposite side, you will be able to plate your fish and enjoy.
Alternatively, if you do not have access to a portable stove and pan during your time of travel, you can repeat the steps of cleaning and preparing your pikeminnow, and place the fresh fillets into some aluminum foil with all of your seasonings and fresh garnishes. Instead of cooking it over the propane fire, you can slowly roast it over a campfire.
In conclusion, the Northern Pikeminnow is a species of fish that is not usually given a fair chance when it comes to cooking and eating them, but that shouldn’t stop you from enjoying the dish yourself.
Next time you go on a Pikeminnow fishing trip, you might consider firing up your portable stove and digging into a fresh catch.
What do Northern Pikeminnow eat?
Pikeminnow fish are a very aggressive species, and will eat almost anything they can get their hands on. This includes, but is not limited to fish eggs, insects, dead animal matter, other fish of all sizes, and even other pikeminnow. These carnivorous species are always on the hunt for something they can eat, even if its plastic or garbage.
Where can Northern Pikeminnow be found?
Pikeminnow fish are most commonly found in slow-moving water bodies such as lakes and calm streams. As far as geographical locations, the most dense populations of pikeminnow can be found in Washington and Oregon in the United States, among other places around the world.
Do I need a fishing license for Northern Pikeminnow?
In order to participate in the activity of fishing in any way, you will need to obtain and show proof of a valid fishing license. Even if you plan to “catch and release” the fish that you capture. Fishing licenses can be obtained through a simple process that involves offering some personal information and paying a small fee.
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