In between training dogs, gardening and the typical activities of the 0ff-season we’ve managed to get out and do little bit of fishing. It’s a great way to help pass the time and bring some fresh seafood to the table.
Though Walleye are the primary target species for table fare on the lake, it’s fairly common to find yourself fighting the much sportier Sheepshead. These freshwater drum are native to Lake Erie, but are viewed by most anglers as bycatch. Because of my time in the uplands, I’ve learned to question the palates of sportsmen – can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard that Sharp-tailed Grouse, Sage Grouse and Timberdoodle are inedible (a hot take that is wildly inaccurate).
I’m not sure how Sheepshead got labeled unfit dinner guests. I suspect their resemblance to bottom feeders such as carp has played a role.
These fish are easy to clean with firm flesh that offers culinary options unavailable to other types of seafood. Our favorite is a simple preparation, not even really a recipe:
- Cut the filets into strips and skewer
- Season with a squeeze of lemon and some Creole spices
- Place on a hot grill for a short period of time (little charred edges add great flavor)
- Remove from the grill and hit the skewere with another squeeze of lemon
- Serve with melted lemon butter
This makes a great appetizer, very reminiscent of grilled lobster tail. Hope everyone enjoys the remaining summer months!
*We have tried freezing Sheepshead. Don’t. Those rumors are true. Only keep fish you plan to eat that day or the next.
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