A friend took me ice fishing today. He managed to catch a 14+ inch crappie. I've never seen one before. It's a lot like a sunfish, only this guy was huge:
We also caught several large mouth bass, which are unfortunately out of season right now so we had to throw them back. Here's the biggest one:
I tried my hand at making fish stock. I filleted all of the fish (sunfish, perch, and the crappie) and reserved the meat. I used the fish heads and bones (minus the gills and guts) and made some fish stock:
I plan to make a chowder with the meat and stock. The fish stock smelled fantastic while it was simmering. We used some for Matzo Ball soup. This time around, however, it seemed to make the whole house smell like fish when we re-boiled the stock.
Some of the perch that we brought home had large white internal organs. It made me nervous, because some of the fish had it and others didn't. I thought that it might be a parasite or some kind of malady in the fish. I emailed a picture of the gutted fish to someone at the NYS DEC, and they explained that it is the male fish's reproductive organs (testes), and that they become very large prior to spawning season, which is coming up for the perch as soon as the ice melts.