What Spearers Do With Their Sturgeon - WBAY

What Spearers Do With Their Sturgeon

Fox Valley -

We have seen a lot of big sturgeon come from Lake Winnebago and the upriver lakes this season.  It had some of us wondering, What do you do with a fish that big?

John Skahen of Chilton caught only his second sturgeon in 40 years Wednesday.

It weighs a whopping 161 pounds measuring in at 77 inches.

"It makes me feel really happy," he said.

For him, it's a feast.

"We normally fry it and deep fry it and fry it in a pan, that's what we normally do with it.  Sometimes, you smoke some of it. You know, that's really good too," he added.

Skahen plans to process the fish through a friend.  He hopes he can get six meals out of it after frying and smoking it to share with his family and friends.

His wife Ruth says it will keep her busy in the kitchen for a while.

"You can bake it and smoke it but I like it fried. And, I've deep fried it already, so we'll have to try it out, it's been quite a few years since I made it again," Ruth Skahen said.

A lot of spearers clean and slice the fish themselves.

Places like Niemuth's south side meat market in Appleton can help make them into fillets or smoke them.

"What we see on the processing end of it is primarily a chunk of sturgeon that they bring in or a fillet of sturgeon. They'll bring in to have smoked and we make smoked sturgeon out of it for them," Richard Niemuth, Niemuth's Southside Meat Market owner.

Spearers say some of their favorite recipes are passed down from generations.

"My dad and his dad, they fished through the years..and I've been doing it since I was 12. And, it's just carried on through the years, and that's how we make it and stuff. It tastes good," David Vander Bloomer of Kaukauna, said.

When cooked just right, some say it tastes rich, like a lobster.

Some even manage to get caviar from females with eggs.

But very few spearers we found mount their catch, probably because most of them are just too big.

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