May 05, 2021
By Jeff Benda
Devils Lake, North Dakota, is a famous fishing destination where the perch and walleye populations continue to explode. The lake itself is now six times larger than it was 25 years ago, currently at 180,000 acres. That's just slightly bigger than Lake Powell, which stretches from Arizona into Utah. I've lived in North Dakota for almost 40 years, and had never fished there. Until this past winter.
My father and I rented a very reasonably priced 14-foot Ice Castle fish house with two bunks to pull behind my pickup truck for an overnight fishing trip 160 miles northwest of my home in Fargo. The lake is huge and intimidating. But after getting some advice on a general area, we found a spot to set up at a water depth of 13 feet where it quickly got deeper on one side and shallower on the other.
The first nice walleye hit one of our tip-ups outside the house at about 3 p.m. The second walleye hit a tip up at about 4:30 p.m. Two hours later, inside the fish house, my father grabbed one of the bent rods tipped with a tungsten jig and minnow, and set the hook.
When I reached down and grabbed his fat 17-inch walleye out of the hole and held it up for him to see, his eyes got huge, and I was overcome with excitement for him. Like any outdoor pursuit with my 76-year-old father, success brings a big smile and sense of accomplishment.
We caught and kept 11 nice fish that trip, splitting the fillets evenly between us. This walleye-stuffed mushroom recipe makes a great appetizer, or side dish to go along with your favorite steak.
If you don't have walleye, use whatever fish you've been lucky enough to catch.
- 8 ounces (about 12) white or bella mushrooms
- 1/3 cup fish fillets (about 2 ounces), coarsely chopped
- 1/2 teaspoon lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons each of butter, finely chopped yellow onion, vegetable cream cheese, mayonnaise, Italian style panko breadcrumbs, shredded mozzarella cheese, chopped fresh parsley
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Lightly grease 9 x 13 pan or baking sheet with 1 tablespoon butter.
- Clean mushroom caps with damp paper towel, remove stems, and set aside. Place mushroom caps on baking pan.
- Melt remaining 1 tablespoon butter in skillet over medium high heat. Add chopped onion and fish and cook for 1 minute, stirring constantly. Remove from heat and let cool for 10 minutes.
- In bowl, combine cream cheese, mayo, lemon juice, & breadcrumbs. Then mix in fish/onion mixture.
- Fill each mushroom cap with mixture. Top with shredded mozzarella and bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes until golden brown.
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