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Archive for the ‘Ice Fishing’ Category

FTW – ‘NOT ALWAYS ABOUT THE FISH’

01.23.15

buck lake ice holeThree years. It’s only been three years that I’ve actually enjoyed ice fishing, all starting with this trip, and the discovery of ice fishing shelters. When you’re not cold, and even more importantly can see the fish down the hole, ice fishing’s vastly more fun. Two years ago, something of a tradition started with our friends at Nature’s Green Acres hosting a weekend in January at Buck Lake, Alberta. Like wine, ice fishing is still enjoyable alone, but far more enjoyable with friends. We were able to land some pike for dinner, a memorable moment being the raw milt from pike dipped in soy. One more piece of off-cut that now is in regular use in the kitchen. Took a big bowl of the stuff done right in Japan while shooting Springhammer to open my eyes. I know people will ask ‘but how do you prepare it?!?‘: you take it out of the fish [white stuff where a roe sac would be on a female], pull off a piece, and pop it in the mouth. The dip in soy does give the creamy fattiness some needed salt. The finish is fantastic.

This break with friends seemed like a good time to produce a short about being on the ice – wanted to release something free other than an episode trailer as I hadn’t for ages.

FROM THE WILD – S1E2 – MEADOW

03.22.14

Northern Pike, Saskatchewan

“the level of excitement when you catch a fish, that could only be measured against the incredible periods of boredom, and the immense amount of struggling – you’re battling the elements, and you’re suffering. Only through that suffering can you know the joy of when you actually get a fish up on the ice” – Jeff Senger, From The Wild, S1E1

What he said. Shooting at Spray lakes was epic and unforgettable despite the slow action, and thanks to a standing offer from my dad to go visit him at his place in Saskatchewan, episode two was equally memorable for different reasons – one being we caught piles of fish. The province of Saskatchewan has a vastly higher lake-to-fisherman ratio than Alberta, which means there’s more fish, and fewer folks after them. We headed off every morning on sleds through the bush to get to the larger nearby lake that regularly produces 20lb+ pike and donky-whopper perch [a term I'm stealing from Jeff, and that autocorrect wants to call 'dinky whopper']. I landed the biggest pike of my life to date hand bombing braided line in bare hands off a tip up. We pigged out on fresh fish and roe, and took photos of fish like it was 1972.


FULL EPISODES AVAILABLE HERE

FROM THE WILD – SPRAY

02.01.14

Spray Lakes Ice FishingI’m not even sure where to start on this one. ‘From The Wild’ will be a 12-part/season series exploring wild food outdoors – hunting, fishing, foraging, and the inevitable adventures they send you on. They’re 22 minute shows, and this is the intro/trailer for episode 1, which we just finished shooting on the epic Spray Lakes. The full length shows will be available on Vimeo on Demand starting in Februray 2014. We’re sickly and blissfully in love with this project.

I’ve talked about and piloted a variety of video series concepts over the past few years, dabbled in a variety of approaches to video production in the world of food, and this one’s the first with a solid production schedule, budget, and exciting potential distribution partners. It’s the concept that seems to best fit they way I’m comfortable producing content from an artsy-fartsy production standpoint. I’ve been exploring the pay-per-view video content model for at least a year or two, but the online mechanisms weren’t quite ready, and nor were the videos I was producing at the time. Now they are. It’s a model that I’m sure will rub some the wrong way, but it’s what will allow us to produce the best quality content we can on a regular basis. Shooting of Episode 2 happens in the next 2-3 weeks.

FULL EPISODES AVAILABLE HERE

Field to Fire – Whitefish

03.05.13

Field to Fire - WhitefishYes, episode 1. Don’t get it? Don’t blame you.

This series [Field to Fire] is going to strictly be about exploring regional ingredients, and preparing them a couple ways outdoors. Same format. Every time. I liked the idea, but a major problem with it is that it excluded other fun content that I’d normally shoot and get involved with. So rather than kevinTV being one ‘thing’, it now is multiple ‘things’. Multiple ‘shows’. This will be one of them. More about this switch-up here.

Instagram feed watchers have been witness to my posts about ice fishing. Action went from absolutely dead in Dec/Jan to limiting out in an hour in late Feb, so I had some whitefish to work with for this episode. They’re a strange species – one that I had no experience with until lately. I hardly feel bad about it though, as while showing off some instagram photos recently to chefs, I got some questions about what species they were. They just aren’t solidly part of our food culture beyond certain niche pockets. Hence my interest in featuring them. Many more ‘Field to Fire’ episodes on deck. Enjoy.

Ice Fishing – First of the Season

12.19.12

Lac Ste Anne - Ice FishingIt strikes me as rather convenient that after a couple months of pork, game, and beef, nature’s thoughtful next step in seasonal food offering is some fresh fish. I’ll take it. Was out at Lac Ste Anne this time around as it was a convenient location for meeting Jeff Senger for a 8 hr business meeting. Between he and I we have 6 girls and 1 boy, so meetings at our homes is rather…inefficient. Ice fishing meeting. We’ve decided that these are a very good idea.

Action was seriously slow. Saw a couple pike, a couple pickerel, and a variety of sizes of whitefish – including some bigger than I’d ever seen, maybe 5-6lbs. Nothing landed on the ice. Such is hunting and fishing. Next time. Still a successful ice fishing meeting. Me sitting here writing to tell about it confirms that the ice is indeed thick enough to get out there, and we were far from the first. I would, however, be mindful of where the inlets and outlets are, as the ice tends to be considerably thinner there. There was some discussion about phobia of slow death in murky water. Who knew ice fishing was so hardcore? It is in a lot of ways. Go upon a big huge sheet of ice, drill a hole in it, risk your life a touch, and be willing to sit in seriously sub-zero for hour upon hour to MAYBE catch a fish. It’s kinda zen. I highly recommend it.

I’m looking forward to taking some folks out for Shovel & Fork’s Ice Fishing 101. Doing an interview tomorrow evening for CKUA about that one, actually.

Lac Ste Anne - Ice Fishing

Late-season Whitefish

03.17.12

WhitefishI’ve been a busy boy lately, so much cool stuff that I’m having a hard time keeping up. But I couldn’t not post about some lovely fish we caught today after a long day on the ice. Not much action, but any day taking home fish is a good day for me, no matter how meagre the success. A perk to ice fishing I really do enjoy is the shooting the shit [can't do that when hunting so much], sharing some food and drink, etc – very social + you’re fishing.

I’m still enamoured with the whitefish. I had zero experience with them, despite having fished in Alberta my whole life. Just not in the lakes that had whitefish, apparently. I love their prehistoric salmon-esque look. They’re the best white fish there is for smoking as it’s oilier than perch or pike. And recently a friend and I did up some whitefish, scaled, skin-on, fried until the skin was crispy and it’s my new favorite. Lovely stuff.

Ice fishing season is coming to an end, quickly. In a couple weeks the season’s closed, and the lakes are already getting mucky around the edges, despite the 2-3′ of ice we fish on – the ice auger I was using today was up to the handles today before breaking through to water. Today was the first time ice fishing that the Canada geese were flying and honking about, a sure sign that winter is about to let go, and it’s on to growing season again.

Episode 34: Caviar?

03.06.12

It is ice. And it is a hole.

One day, a biologist will explain to me why it is that when ice fishing, the vast majority of your catch are females, or ‘hens’. As an example, the last day I had a bunch of perch in my kitchen sink, 9 out of 9 were female. So what, you ask? Well what this means to me is that I have a surplus of roe. I’ve been cooking it, mostly, then realized that perhaps I am missing the boat on converting it into something unique and special: caviar. As I’ve since learned, caviar is simply brined fish eggs. That’s pretty simple. Most recipes online [Hank's got a nice post about caviar] were from trout or salmon roe. Perhaps freshwater fish roe would suck? Nope. I’ve had Golden Caviar [Whitefish caviar]. You can buy it commercially. I had to try it.

Turns out one of my favorite ice fishing spots is a mile or two away from Doef’s Greenhouses [Ep. 33]. I shot these two episodes in the same morning. A morning I will not soon forget, as I learned that hauling all my fishing camp gear and all of my camera gear for a km or two in deep snow is not a very good idea.

So I made up a 5% brine, threw it into my ice fishing bucket, and set out to give it a go.  I’d read that you should do it with super-fresh eggs. I can attest to the fact that they do deteriorate rapidly under refrigeration. Subsequent concept: go catch a fish with a DSLR on record, then kill and de-roe the fish right then and there on the ice. Can’t get much fresher than that. If you want to give this a go, you might want to read up on freezing freshwater fish prior to eating a raw preparation, so you can manage any bug-risks yourself. I’ve done my homework. So how was it? Watch the video.

Crispy Perch Roe

02.25.12

Perch

Some Grant MacEwan University students were at my house the other day doing a photo doc about me, and my dad showed up with a box of 9 perch he’d caught. One of them was a giant 14.5″ long [the fish, not the student], and weighed 830g. The roe sac in the thing was giant, filling my open hand. In fact, every single one of them was female, and I removed all the roe sacs, adding up to a whopping half-kilo+ of perch roe. That’s a lot of roe. What on earth was I going to do with that much roe.

The man who guided me last month for Episode 26, and as a consequence got me hooked on this ice fishing thing [I've gone every single week since then], suggested frying the roe until crispy. Sounded interesting – I’d only ever cooked roe until just done. Crispy things, generally speaking, are tasty. As it turns out, fish eggs take a long time to get crispy – but they do. They also pop all over, many an egg making an escape from the pan like popcorn might do without a lid. I recommend covering the pan with a screen. I added a bit of red  onion, salt, and it definitely benefited from some pepper. Happened to have some re-fried mashed potato to go with it, and those to things get along. Fried eggs and potatoes, outside the box. The cous-cous-like fish eggs kind of end up like a fried breadcrumb topping, which is very pleasant. I would do this again, but would love to try it when there are fresh chives, parsley, maybe some chervil in the garden to finish and toss them with. More roe R&D is on its way soon.

Crispy perch eggs on potato