Easy Recipe for Fresh Caught Pike
Fishing for northern pike on Hayden Lake, North Idaho
Nestled in between tree covered mountains and surrounded by stunning, upscale homes is a beautiful, natural lake in north Idaho called Hayden Lake. Hayden Lake is the smaller of the two major lakes in the area, the largest being Lake Coeur d'Alene, but it is popular for locals because the water is less choppy and the boat traffic is not quite as busy. It's not too small, though. With over 3,800 acres of surface area, 40 miles of shoreline, two public and two private boat launches, the popular teen destination--Honeysuckle Beach, and the always entertaining sand bar at Mokins Bay, Hayden Lake is more than enough to keep you entertained in the summer.
Activities that visitors enjoy on this lake are swimming, water skiing, wakeboarding, tubing, kayaking, paddle boarding and fishing. After a long, fun-filled day on the lake, boaters can head toward the Hayden Marina and it's newly remodeled Boathouse Restaurant. Sitting on it's deck while watching the water and sipping an expertly mixed cocktail is a perfect ending to any day. The activity that my son enjoys more than anything, however, is fishing.
Do you enjoy fishing for pike?
Jake is now 16 and old enough to run the boat himself. We own a 20 foot Stingray Fish and Ski that we keep at the marina. He and his friends head down there just about every day to see what kind of fish they can catch. He runs that trolling motor like it's an extension of his body. Hayden Lake is home to many large mouth and small mouth bass, trout, crappie and pike. Jake likes to catch them all but pike are particularly challenging. He has lost several because their teeth are sharp and they bite off the line. While fishing with his dad last week, they lost a big pike because his dad was unable to get the net to the fish in time before it chomped the line. So, when he called home the other day to say he thinks he got that escaped pike, the whole family headed over to take a look. I'm not sure if that 28 inch pike was actually "the one that got away" but it was a nice fish and he was able to get some nice, meaty fillets off of it.
My quick recipe for pike and removing y-bones in northern pike.
A lot of people treat pike as a game fish and don't eat them. Some have said it's because they are bony. The bones were mainly in the middle of the fillet and the flesh was quite thick. My son, who is old enough that's he's past the point of wanting to eat everything he catches and often releases his caught fish really wanted to cook this one up. So, because I'm a mother who loves her child, I did exactly that. I asked around for recipes and didn't find anything that lit my fire so I ended up preparing it as described below. Jake said it was delicious and reminded him of something you would find in a restaurant. He claims the fish tasted very mild and very similar to mahi mahi. The next time we prepare it, though, we will either try and remove the y-bones or cut smaller pieces around them. My son likes to take big bites and felt that picking around the bones in the middle slowed him down. Fortunately, I discovered some clear directions for removing the y-bones from northern pike from a fishing and hunting camp, Camp Manitou, in Ontario, Canada. Armed with this helpful information, de-boning his next pike will be a breeze.
- fillets of pike
- McCormick Grill Mates Mesquite Seasoning, to taste
- about 1 tablespoon per fillet butter pieces
- lemon wedges
- canola oil, enough to coat your pan
Let me know what you think.
- Rinse fillets and pat dry. Sprinkle both sides of each fillet with the grill seasoning.
- Using a cast iron or non stick pan, coat the pan with canola oil and heat over medium high flame until smoking.
- Place the fillets in the skillet, making sure to give them plenty of space. You may have to do separate batches. You will instantly hear a beautiful sizzle.
- Cook 4-5 minutes or until the fillets start to sweat on the top side and the bottom is seared to a nice, light, golden brown. Flip using a wide spatula and tongs for control. A fish that is seared properly will not stick to the pan. If it sticks, it needs to cook a bit longer.
- Sprinkle the butter pieces on the top of each fillet. Squeeze a lemon wedge over each one. Garnish with a lemon slice if desired. Cook 2-3 minutes or until the fish feels tender and gives a little when you touch it.
Fishing for pike.
Of course I'd love for you to head over to the Coeur d'Alene, Idaho area to come and fish in our beautiful lakes. But, it you can't make it to north Idaho, you can still fish for this carnivorous breed. Most of us in the U.S. call the fish pike or northern pike, the Canadians refer to it as jack fish, our residents in the Midwest often just call it northern. In California and Maine, they consider it to be a nuisance because of their predatory nature--pike will often kill other fish. They are popular fare in Europe, I have heard. If you catch a nice big one, the y-bones aren't as much of an issue. These fish can grow to as much as 59 inches long and weigh as much as 55 pounds. Be careful when unhooking these fish, though. Their teeth are numerous and very sharp. My husband and son use pliers to remove the hook to avoid being cut. Pike are found in sluggish streams and shallow, weedy places in lakes, as well as in cold, clear, rocky waters