Perch roe is the caviar of yellow perch. The most popular roe, or Caviar, comes from sturgeon. Paddlefish and several other species produce Roe that is tasty and a delicacy. For those who don’t know, Roe is fish eggs.
During the Spring spawning run, anglers target the fatter and bigger Roe, or female perch. Perch caught ice fishing are mainly “Roes”. Smaller male perch are called “Bucks”. The eggs are formed in 2 large sacs. When the female releases the sacs, they extend to a few feet in length. A hormone is released that stimulates the Bucks to release milt onto the skeins of eggs. These long skeins often attach to sticks or debris where they spread out and become fertilized.
Back in the day, most Perch anglers relished the Roe more than the perch. The fish would not go to waste, but the delicacy was in the eggs. Other species like White and Hickory Shad also were most valued for their skeins of eggs.
Rarely do I see anglers enjoying the Roe. It is usually tossed out with the guts. For every 3 lbs. of perch, that adds up to 1 lb. of Roe. 23% of your catch is lost. At several dollars a pound, this seems like a waste.
Here is a tasty recipe to give Perch Roe a tasty try!
- 1 Beaten egg
- 1 tbsp. of flour
- 1 tbsp of cornmeal
- Enough milk to make a thin batter.
- Old Bay seasoning or salt and pepper. You can also add some parsley, thyme, chives, lemon juice, or chopped garlic. Some folks prefer less spice and more natural flavors.
- The fresh Roe should be chilled, after being removed from the perch. Try not to break the sacs open.
Melt some butter in a frying pan. Drench the roe in the batter and place it into the pan. The eggs will cook very fast. 30 seconds is fine except when frying a bigger skein. No more than 1 minute is required. I have seen many hungry perch anglers cut the roe out while on the ice. They place the eggs onto a foil bowl, and cook over a heater or grill, on the spot.
Other folks enjoy the Perch Roe added into their regular scrambled eggs for breakfast. If people are comfortable eating Caviar, raw oysters, shellfish, or sushi, Perch Roe should be a perfect flavor to try!
Enjoy the whole catch!