Episode 34: Caviar?


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.

9 Responses

  1. jeff says:

    that vid was awesome. especially loved when the whitey took the bait. suspensefull!!!

    too bad about the lack of roe eh. next time buddy!!

  2. Deb Krause says:

    WHAT?! no caviar… next time :)
    loved watching you hook the fish!

  3. I’m guessing it is because females need to eat more to sustain. At least that’s the way it works with our mammals. Egg production, pregnancy and lactation are hard work!

    Great video!

  4. Isabelle says:

    The way you shot this video is beautiful, Kevin. Better luck next time!

  5. Kevin says:

    Jeff – glad you liked it. Thought of you while I was out there.
    Deb – I know. I know.
    TTC – your theory is likely correct. Good to hear from you!
    Isabelle – thanks. There’s only 3 weeks or so left in the ice fishing season, but I’m confident I’ll succeed on this front by then. ;)

  6. David says:

    Another sweet episode. We always save and either cook (saute or fry) or brine any and all roe we get from any fish we catch. I’ve always had a fondness for bluegill and perch roe, probably because it calls up memories from when I was a kid. Have been enjoying your videos and blog in recent weeks, Kevin…we’ve been planning to do some filming ourselves for the past year and this year looks like we’ll begin, as soon as we revamp and update our website. I’ll be sharing your site with our friends. You’re doing excellent work and I eagerly look forward to each new entry or video episode. Love the final “Damn” that closes this clip. Good stuff.

  7. Tip of the day: Whitefish spawn in the fall… like other Salmonidae… Try Pike this time of year!

  8. Kevin says:

    David – thanks for all the kind words, and glad you’re doing some shooting of your projects.
    Marshall – always value your wisdom, and I laughed at my lack thereof when I read this. Makes sense, given what I’ve been seeing in the fish. I did up perch instead. ;)

  9. Tracy says:

    Well although we didn’t catch a fish yesterday, I really enjoyed our day and will be going fishing at Spray Lakes all the time now. Love it!

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