Helpful ReplyMushy walleye fillets

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JerryS
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2022/06/05 21:43:32 (permalink)

Mushy walleye fillets

Caught 4 small walleye (16"-17") this morning on Erie.  My usual routine is to keep them alive in the livewell until we're done fishing.  Before heading back to the marina, I "bleed" them.  After loading the boat, I will immediately dump ice on them, then make the 1.5 hour drive home.  While cleaning, and eating them, the meat on these 4 fish was very soft/mushy.  The larger fish (23"-25") we caught last week were very firm. 
 
I'm not accustomed to catching walleyes this small on Erie.  Are the mushy fillets due to the young age?  The only difference in my routine today was instead of cleaning immediately, the fish sat in my fridge for two hours.  I wouldn't think this softened the meat.
 
Any thoughts?
 
 
#1
walleyehunter53
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Re: Mushy walleye fillets 2022/06/06 22:06:23 (permalink)
i found out keeping on ice after bleeding helps.
 
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pensfan1
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Re: Mushy walleye fillets 2022/06/07 08:45:05 (permalink)
Ya we gill em instantly. Clip em and put em in the live well, or death well however you wanna look at it. Soon as they die, which is about 10 to 15mins, they go on the ice. We've never had a problem. I know someone that gills them and hangs em on a stringer over the side. With that water running over those gills, they clean out a little quicker.

We are in FLA right now for family vacation. Soon as we get home, I'm heading Northward for the first trip of the season. I hope the lake cooperates.
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Porktown
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Re: Mushy walleye fillets 2022/06/07 08:48:01 (permalink)
From what I have read fish in live wells/stringers will get stressed out and start producing the amino acids or whatever it is that gives an undesirable effect on their flesh. Best is to kill and bleed immediately. Then put into a slurry of ice and water.
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psu_fish
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Re: Mushy walleye fillets 2022/06/07 09:00:06 (permalink)
We fished this past weekend out of Walnut,  they went from the net straight into a cooler with ice. No clipping of gills or anything. They tasted great. 
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Porktown
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Re: Mushy walleye fillets 2022/06/07 14:57:31 (permalink)
https://www.vox.com/videos/2019/6/27/18744387/right-way-kill-fish-ikejime
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pensfan1
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Re: Mushy walleye fillets 2022/06/07 19:30:42 (permalink)
psu_fish
We fished this past weekend out of Walnut,  they went from the net straight into a cooler with ice. No clipping of gills or anything. They tasted great. 


You stay in close?
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JerryS
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Re: Mushy walleye fillets 2022/06/07 21:06:20 (permalink)
Thanks for the tips.  Interesting video Pork. 
 
I only have a 16 footer, so I've avoided bringing a large cooler to ice them immediately.  Just seemed strange I've never had this issue before.  They were very soft while filleting, and literally mush after cooking.    While I had mentioned I put them in the fridge for two hours before cleaning, I didn't mention they were in a plastic bag.  Another factor?  Won't do that again.
 
With that said, It sounds like bleeding and/or icing immediately gives the best results.  I'll look at my options. 
 
Last three weekends, we caught them in the 25 ft range.  Not a lot of eyes shallow, just enough to keep it interesting when you throw in the smallies and sheep.
 
 
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Porktown
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Re: Mushy walleye fillets 2022/06/07 21:54:32 (permalink)
I’ve had mushy fish at the beach before and definitely from getting warm. Possibly from not killing and bleeding. I personally have just started that ikejime thing. I usually did what psu did with most fish. Walleye and crappie don’t have huge bloodlines so have always come out just fine on ice. The ocean fish that have gotten soft on me, have a bit more bloodline. I started bleeding fish maybe 5 years ago and always having ice in some form. Often on the beach it is a cooler bag with ice packs (frozen water bottles). On my boat, either ice with water or a bunch of ice packs and water. I have yet to have a mushy since then. On the boat, I do the same as Pens and make my live well a death well. I do a kill shot to the brain, then clip the gills. They bleed out pretty well. I’ve heard that they pump more without the brain shot, but I haven’t noticed the difference. I’d rather kill then quick. Nerves will have them flop for a minute or two, then rinse out my well and toss in the cooler. For crappie and perch, I don’t bleed, but give them a kill shot. I hate when I go to clean them 6-7 hours after catching and most are still alive. Regardless if they feel pain or don’t, I’d rather put down as soon as I know I am keeping. OL’ Yeller!!!
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eyesandgillz
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Re: Mushy walleye fillets 2022/06/09 06:07:15 (permalink)
We always just put them on ice right away......never bled them, and they always turned out fine.  Have friends that do the bleeding method and I think it does improve the quality of the fillets, esp. on the larger fish (6+ lbers), but to me, it wasn't enough of an improvement for the mess and effort it took on our boat.  Never trusted the stringer/clip over the side so we had to do upside down in a 5 gallon bucket, and with 3 or 4 6+ lbers (back when you needed huge coolers for the haul) in there...sloshing around....that mess would get into the bilge on rougher days...no thanks.  After 2 trips, we went back to the old way and were fine with it. 
With the overall "smaller" fish that are up there these days, I am not sure it is really worth the effort but if you have the set-up to do it, why not.   
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pensfan1
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Re: Mushy walleye fillets 2022/06/09 08:37:06 (permalink)
Bleeding them does make a huge mess, I'll give ya that. I have a vinyl floor. When we get home I just pull the plug and hose it out. Fillets do come out very clean. I guess to each his own. We try to "slot size" the ones we keep. 17 to 24s seem like the best ones. I kept a 29" last year, probably won't do that again. It definitely had a stronger taste and cooking time goes way up when you have a piece of fish that thick. Some great info and opinions on this one👍.
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JerryS
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Re: Mushy walleye fillets 2022/06/09 10:44:12 (permalink)
pensfan1
Bleeding them does make a huge mess, I'll give ya that. I have a vinyl floor. When we get home I just pull the plug and hose it out. Fillets do come out very clean. I guess to each his own. We try to "slot size" the ones we keep. 17 to 24s seem like the best ones. I kept a 29" last year, probably won't do that again. It definitely had a stronger taste and cooking time goes way up when you have a piece of fish that thick. Some great info and opinions on this one👍.



We release anything over 23", since we have also noticed a difference in taste.  I have people tell me the big ones eat as good as the small ones.  Maybe it is all in the preparation (bleeding, icing, etc...)
 
Remember a few years ago when PA consumption guidelines had two tiers.  I recall over 22" once a month, under 22" once a week.  It is funny comparing PA-NY-OH consumption guidelines.  Last I looked PA was once a month, NY once a week, and Ohio anytime you want.  All from the same lake!
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Fisherlady2
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Re: Mushy walleye fillets 2022/06/09 23:20:00 (permalink)
For those who like chowder, those big fish make perfect meat chunks for walleye chowder. In fact, anything about 25" or bigger are usually just called "chowder fish" and we keep the filets separate and vacuum seal in 2# batches (amount I use in recipe). The meat definitely is more dense and sometimes rubbery but is perfect for the chowder cooking process.
 
The smaller pieces from the tail end of the zipper (any size fish) I also separate. These go into 12-14oz packs labeled as "taco" packs. We frequently do fish tacos through the winter, it doesn't matter that those little filet pieces fall apart in the pan when they are being used as taco filling or salad topping anyway.  Gordon's Food has approx 1qt sized containers of taco seasoning in their spice area. This is perfect for making odd sized batches of taco meats and no extra cost of buying the taco kits. 
 
And to add to the debate... our boat has a 30 gallon box under the floor, we plumbed it as a live well but actually use it as a bleeding tank. Get fish out of net, cut gill feathers with kitchen shears, drop fish into tank and let it swim till it bleeds out. Then put them on ice.  Exchange water every 4 to 6 fish. 
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Porktown
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Re: Mushy walleye fillets 2022/06/10 09:31:10 (permalink)
Fisherlady2
Get fish out of net, cut gill feathers with kitchen shears, drop fish into tank and let it swim till it bleeds out. Then put them on ice.  Exchange water every 4 to 6 fish. 

I have found the Harbor Freight multipurpose heavy duty scissors to be one of my most used tools while fishing and around the house.  I have 5-6 pairs of them.  They cut through thick gills with no effort.  Us inland anglers that aren't very good, use them on clipping channel cat gills...  But work well on the 1-2 keeper walleye that I catch too!  Sharp enough point for a brain blow as well.  For crappie, I just make a cut or two at the brain area to put them out.  Not really sure if a necessity if bleeding, the gill clip kills them pretty quickly.  I usually don't bleed crappie, but like to put them down if keeping.
 
Great tip on that "zipper" portion.  That is just about any fish, that meat back there falls apart and often has a bit more flavor with those blood line dots.  Chowder sounds great.  Wish that I would have that issue of catching fish that are too big for normal recipes!
 
https://www.harborfreight...el-scissors-97049.html
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Fisherlady2
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Re: Mushy walleye fillets 2022/06/10 20:45:41 (permalink)
Porktown
 
I have found the Harbor Freight multipurpose heavy duty scissors to be one of my most used tools while fishing and around the house.  I have 5-6 pairs of them.  They cut through thick gills with no effort.  Us inland anglers that aren't very good, use them on clipping channel cat gills...  But work well on the 1-2 keeper walleye that I catch too!  Sharp enough point for a brain blow as well.  



I will check those scissors out, thanks!
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DeadGator401
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Re: Mushy walleye fillets 2022/06/14 20:48:49 (permalink)
Fisherlady2
Porktown
 
I have found the Harbor Freight multipurpose heavy duty scissors to be one of my most used tools while fishing and around the house.  I have 5-6 pairs of them.  They cut through thick gills with no effort.  Us inland anglers that aren't very good, use them on clipping channel cat gills...  But work well on the 1-2 keeper walleye that I catch too!  Sharp enough point for a brain blow as well.  



I will check those scissors out, thanks!


I can vouch. Legit the best thing I've ever owned from Harbor. 

I recently bought a universal submersible pump from there too, works pretty good!
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psu_fish
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Re: Mushy walleye fillets 2022/06/15 10:06:35 (permalink)
pensfan1
psu_fish
We fished this past weekend out of Walnut,  they went from the net straight into a cooler with ice. No clipping of gills or anything. They tasted great. 


You stay in close?

30-40 FOW. Bandits back 95-100 did good. Worm harness did too with 2 oz weights. 
#17
pensfan1
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Re: Mushy walleye fillets 2022/06/19 08:54:58 (permalink)
I have question for all you Big Lake vets.. with this blow finishing up end of the week(Thrusday) how long do you think it will take to square away again? All the north wind and coldfront undoubtedly brought a ton of cold water inshore. What's everyone think about it being ready to fish again by Sunday?
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Lundyman
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Re: Mushy walleye fillets 2022/06/19 09:30:56 (permalink)
Let you know tomorrow evening!
With fish in closer, might not make that much difference.
Later in the year when they're deep and stacked, big winds slow things down until the water T gets readjusted.
post edited by Lundyman - 2022/06/19 09:32:21
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pensfan1
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Re: Mushy walleye fillets 2022/06/19 09:39:02 (permalink)
Thanks. Good luck and we'll expect a report. 🤞👍
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Lundyman
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Re: Mushy walleye fillets 2022/06/20 15:58:16 (permalink)
Three man ticket in 4 hours.  Tossed a lot of smalls back or would have been done sooner.
Keepers all 18-20", nice fat fish.
Meat and small stinger spoons, 40-41 FOW, west of Walnut.
Only 1 sheep and 1 white bass, not bad for fishing crawlers!
Lake was perfect, light chop, 1-2 ', decent breeze to blow bugs away.
Great day on the lake for the first trip of the year!
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pensfan1
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Re: Mushy walleye fillets 2022/06/20 15:59:32 (permalink)
💪. Thanks. Hopefully the Lake cooperates Wednesday. If not, we might have to wait till the weekend.
post edited by pensfan1 - 2022/06/20 16:51:36
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pensfan1
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Re: Mushy walleye fillets 2022/06/23 09:52:59 (permalink)
What's the latest? She's gonna fish tomorrow n Saturday for sure with 1ftrs.
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pensfan1
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Re: Mushy walleye fillets 2022/06/25 19:11:43 (permalink)
2 man ticket. 45FOW outta Elk. Meat n dipseys took 11, I did get 1 flatlining a Bandit with 2 lunker splitshots. The creek is very low and that sand bar runs out about 50 yards. Not real sure how much longer that's gonna to be an option, even for us 16ftrs. Was fantastic conditions. Just enough breeze to keep the heat and the black flies away.
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Fisherlady2
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Re: Mushy walleye fillets 2022/06/25 21:49:03 (permalink)
We were finally out, first trip of year (since hand surgery delayed things) we had our 12 by about 1030 and threw back 2 for each one we kept. We didn't have worms with us. Ours were mostly on super bright mid sized spoons behind dipsies with probably 10 on stick bait either flat lined or with 2 oz aimed at the 24 to 30 ft range.
We trolled anywhere from 38 to 44 fow and started a few miles east of elk, trolled over to Virginia's Beach and then back east till we limited. Was a gorgeous day to be out.
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walleyehunter53
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Re: Mushy walleye fillets 2022/06/27 07:57:58 (permalink) ☄ Helpfulby Lundyman 2022/06/27 10:27:26
also first trip friday14 Saturday 18 limit. 60ft. Saturday  53 ft. Friday all meat on big Jons back 55 1setting 65 3 setting from shades to past surewood. they are here mix catch nice fish.
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Lundyman
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Re: Mushy walleye fillets 2022/06/27 10:28:28 (permalink)
It's all about the weather now.
Fish will be here all summer, just how deep.
Going to be fun, that's for sure!
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pensfan1
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Re: Mushy walleye fillets 2022/06/27 14:14:16 (permalink)
I'm looking at Wednesday perhaps. 🤞🤷‍♂️
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pensfan1
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Re: Mushy walleye fillets 2022/06/27 14:17:37 (permalink)
walleyehunter53
also first trip friday14 Saturday 18 limit. 60ft. Saturday  53 ft. Friday all meat on big Jons back 55 1setting 65 3 setting from shades to past surewood. they are here mix catch nice fish.


I love that area. Nice report. 💪
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pensfan1
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Re: Mushy walleye fillets 2022/07/16 19:45:49 (permalink)
2 man today outta Elk. 38 to 41 then finished up 28 to 30 per some sound advice from a local "yaker". Biggest was 20" with a buncha skillet sizers for the rest. Tomorrow should fish and even Monday, but I'm seeing a blow coming mid week. Which will shut dahn us smaller vessels.
#30
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