Episode 26: Smoke & Ice

KevinCharcuterie, Cooking w/ Fire, Fish, Fishing, From the Cellar, From The Wild, Ice Fishing, Kevin TV, Northern Pike, Perch, Smoked Fish, Smoking w/ Fire, Whitefish18 Comments

I grew up hunting and gardening, abandoned them both as a young adult, then fell in love with both again later in life. Apparently, same goes for ice fishing. I have semi-fond memories of exhausty ski-doo-trailer rides on to the lake, sitting on a pail getting blasted by the elements, eye lashes freezing together, not catching much of anything, getting cold, and hearing stories about how at one time you caught way more and way bigger fish. When you’re a kid, those kind of stories are far from any form of consolation.

A friend of mine [who I met when shooting another video, coincidentally] invited me out ice fishing with him and a co-worker of his, and I just couldn’t say no. It’s January. In my usually busy food world, action had slowed. Gardening season was over. Hunting season was over. But ice fishing is just getting started. And I had a blast, despite it being a particularly slow day. Ice fishing is immeasurably more enjoyable when you’re protected from the elements in a shack, and more importantly, can see down the hole to watch the fish swim about. Add to that some camaraderie and wild-food action – I now get why folks enjoy it. I’m hooked. I want to go again.

Music courtesy of The AwesomeHots

18 Comments on “Episode 26: Smoke & Ice”

  1. Deb Krause

    That is so cool being able to see the fishes all the way down there!
    It’s been a very very long time since I’ve been ice fishing… now that I’m starting a family I want to be able to give her the same experiences with the outdoors that I had.
    I dont think I’ll be taking her ice fishing soon (16months is a little early, no? lol) but members of my family go at least once a month. more than often enough for me to tag along :)
    How did the flavours turn out? I would’ve been tempted to put crushed chilies or cayenne powder on a fillet with the brown sugar cure… but only cuz I know my other half would love me for it ;)

  2. The Kitchen Magpie

    Love the video and love the gator you caught. Even pike tastes great in the freezing January waters, pretty much the only time I find them palatable, actually! That’s why ice fishing is the best, cold water= best tasting fish of the year. Wanna come to our perch ice fishing derby in a couple weeks ;) they’re trying to rid the lake thanks to some idiot who thought dumping perch in a trout lake was a good thing. City slickers. Little garbage fish might make good for canning! (you dig up a recipe yet?)

  3. Becky

    I love watching your videos. I have never been ice fishing though I can remember when my cousins went with a house made of wood. I totally see the attraction but then I have always loved fishing anyway.

  4. A Canadian Foodie

    The Great Northern Pike (was that what this one was) is supposed to be incredibly delicious. First, compelling work, excellent music (did you get the Canadian content music you tweeted out for?) and a real Canadian adventure.
    Second, I would have loved to have seen the scaling and gutting part. And, instead of throwing out the carcass, did you keep it for fish stock?
    This would be an incredible treat this time of year. I can completely understand why you are hooked.
    Standing Ovation!

  5. Kevin

    Deb – I know! I really wanted to get out there just to see down the hole. Funny how so many of us grew up ice fishing, yet none of us do it anymore. Very smoky after 2 hours, but solid. Can’t wait to get it into a cream sauce on pasta.
    Magpie – Ice fishing indeed has some major advantages over boat fishing, hadn’t considered that. A perch ice fishing derby sounds fun!! Where? My mom has a recipe. She told me the other day. Then I forgot it.
    Becky – glad you like them.
    Valerie – not familiar with a ‘great’ subspecies of pike like there is with the Canada goose, say, but yes, it was a Northern Pike. I have indeed had a number of local musical talent contribute their work to this project – I’m so pleased. It was whole and unscaled when I filleted it – you didn’t miss a part – it was filleted guts-in [you can see them], and the scales stayed on as the skin was not going to be eaten post-smoking anyway. Pike stock is not on my list of favorable stock items – it gets majorly snotty-slimy, to begin with over time. If I get into some trout, I will be making stock.

  6. jeff

    Great Video!! Really makes me want to get a hook in the water. That was really cool how you could see the fish swimming around under there. No way could you do that in the summer eh.

  7. Andrew

    Sweet! Nice color on the cured pike.

    I’ve been having good success on pond trout lately with mealworms and super small everything: 2 lb line, size 14 hook, dust shot, inch long float. Have typically been limiting out — may be a good way to get those perch to bite. Haven’t had a chance though for perch or pike yet.

  8. john schneider

    Great tutorial Kevin…having spent most of my adult life catching, eating and smoking fish I found your video very informative and enjoyable. The fish we used to catch in the NWT were often smoked just because we ran out of ways to eat them…Lake Trout, Pike, Grayling. We were responsible for shore lunch every day so we got pretty good at cooking fish over a fire…fried, broiled, fish chowder, poached. Watching you do it now brought back many memories of my guiding days. Thanks!

  9. Kevin

    Jeff – I know. So cool. Used to what’s under the water being a mystery.
    Andrew – Oh, envy. I’m secretly itching to catch some trout. Personal fav. Thanks for the tips – I fully intend on getting out again sooner rather than later.
    John – you used to be a fishing guide too?!? Next time we’re chatting over beer I want to hear stories.

  10. adalynfarm

    Kevin, You make me wish the lakes here in the PNW iced over! I’d have to drive a few hours to be able to ‘look into the aquarium’. I’ve always wanted to try it though, so cool! You mention ‘some heat’ in the smoking process, which makes me think you are cold smoking the fish. If that’s the case, do you flash freeze them first to kill any possible parasites? I know I’ve heard that even if you plan on hot smoking fish, (especially fresh water fish) it’s really important to freeze them, as most of them have tapeworm (or tapeworm cysts)…. Or does the cure take care of them?

  11. Kevin

    Andrew – I need to get into some trout. It’s on my to-do list.
    AF – It is really, really neat. My intention was to…let’s say… cool smoke the fish to start, then finish with a hot smoke. Good point re: the eating raw lake fish. I’d asked a friend in wildlife conservation about this prior to shooting – I had asked about hole-side sashimi. Wasn’t a good idea for the reasons you mention. I’m assuming that salting, then cooking the fish via hot smoking makes it a non-issue – just as it would were you to pan-fry them. Clearly I’m no expert. Thanks for asking.
    Claude – glad you liked it.

  12. Raina

    That’s my pa out there! Very nice video, I really like the music. I also like the close ups on the fishing box. That stuff is so old it’s burned into my memory forever and I can recognize it anywhere. It’s so nice to see a video of something so fond to me. Thanks!

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