BY JIM BAIRD

In the shallow, weedy lakes that make up the headwaters of the Du Pas, the fishing for Northern Pike is very good. We found we’d even get strikes while paddling at good clip with our lures skipping across the surface of the water behind us. We actually stopped trolling because catching so many fish began to slow us down. It would usually only take a matter of minutes to catch one for dinner. No need to go hungry in this country.

The skin provides extra calories. Fry it in some oil–the meat will come right off and it tastes just like potato chips.

Pike are bony fish and a lot of people don’t bother with them because of this. Granted, there is more than one way to clean a Pike that will minimize the bones, for example, you can fillet a pike and then cut out the “Y” bone–a technique which works best on larger pike. The method I demonstrate here has always worked for me. Whether you just need a refresher or are trying this for the first time, these steps will help you impress your friends come dinner time.

1. Cut down to the spine from the back of the head and then slice along the spine to the tail to remove the back strap.
2. Slice off the skin after lying it skin side down.
3. Placing the pike on it’s belly, cut down the inside of the skin on the fish’s sides from the top on either side.
4. Following the spine with the knife, cut the skin-less, meaty fillets off from the head to the dorsal fin.
5. Fillet the remaining meat from the dorsal fin to the tail on both sides and remove the skin.

Don’t be surprised if you find a partially digested muskrat in the stomach of a big pike! We did. (Yes, we have a picture and no, you don’t want to see it.)

Each Wednesday, C&K will release a new episode of Lessons From the Trail, presented by Nova Craft Canoe and Brunton, makers of the TruArc compass.