Walleye Talk and Berny’s Elk Soup: Captain’s Column (11.5.15)
By angelamontana

Posted: November 5, 2015

Last week news came from Montana Fish Wildlife and Parks that walleye were found in Swan Lake. In fact there were two walleye’s measuring 17 inches discovered during FWP gill net sampling operations, according to FWP Region One Fisheries Manager Mark Deleray. Deleray noted that these were the first walleye reported from Swan Lake, and it is assumed that these fish originated from an illegal fish introduction. Illegal fish introductions have caused problems in hundreds of waters across the state, costing hundreds of thousands of dollars to rectify. In most cases, the illegal introduction cannot be undone often leading to lost fishing opportunity. In this case, walleye are highly predacious and could impact the native bull trout as well as the kokanee salmon fishery in Swan Lake according to FWP. I like to fish for walleyes as much as any avid walleye angler, but I am against illegal introduction of walleyes or any fish for that matter in any body of water in Montana. I travel east like most anglers that live in Western Montana that enjoy fishing for this great table fare and enjoy fishing in reservoirs that are managed for walleyes by FWP. Walleyes aren’t the only species that has been dumped in lakes by these so-called Bucket Biologists. Two years ago in September smallmouth bass were discovered in Seeley Lake once again like the walleyes found in Swan introduced illegally according to FWP. Deleray asks anyone with information on who introduced walleye into Swan Lake to call 1-800-TIP MONT.  Callers do not need to identify themselves and may be eligible for a cash reward of over $15,000.  It is clear to me that as anglers we need to also start policing ourselves more aggressively to stop anyone from dumping fish into our rivers, lakes, and streams illegally. The cash reward is nice but common sense should also prevail in discouraging this irresponsible activity.

If you are a successful elk hunter I would like to offer up my girlfriend Berny Croy’s recipe for a delicious soup. Berny’s elk soup. It is quick and easy to make.

Fry 1 pound of elk burger with onions or bacon or both and set it aside

For the soup base start with 3 cups of water and 3 cups of milk or dehydrated milk, add 2-3 cups of potatoes, 1 cup of mushrooms, ½ cup of celery, ½ cup of carrots and 1 bell pepper.

These are my favorite veggies but you can switch it up to suit your taste by using broccoli, yams, brussel sprouts etc. salt and pepper to taste. I like to add Alpine touch salt and pepper. I also like to throw in a dash of Tony Chachere’s creole seasoning.

Heat liquid and veggies to high and immediately when soup gets hot turn way down to simmer for 10-12 minutes. Milk based soup will get gummy if you boil it. Add fried elk burger and let set on stove for 10 minutes covered or in the fridge when it cools. It will only take 5 minutes to reheat when your hungry hunting party gets home. Berny says that another great variation would be to use less milk and some mushroom or celery coup in its place. Enjoy.

(Written by the Captain)