Fishing Lake Superior

Something special is happening on the North Shore of Lake Superior. Amidst all the concerns of dwindling fish populations worldwide, the commercial fishermen in Minnesota have a positive fish tale to tell. Thanks to sustainable fishing methods and management the Lake Superior Herring (Coregonus artedi) is back.

The Confused Herring project has been created to tell that tale. We aim to explain why this is such a positive story. Provide information about the Lake Superior Herring. Seek answers to why it has so many names: lake herring, cisco, tulibee, blue fin, okewis. And most importantly, does it taste like the pickled herring my dad used to eat!?

Rediscover an old world delicacy

Something special is happening in the kitchens of the North. Chefs and home cooks alike are rediscovering the Lake Superior Herring.

Nutrition Information

Lake Superior Herring are an excellent source of Omega-3 fatty acids.
They are low in contaminants like mercury and PCB's.

Nutrition Facts 8 oz serving
Calories 300
Total Fat (g) 13
Saturated Fat (g) 2
Cholesterol (mg) 134
Sodium (mg) 114
Total Carbohydrate (g) 0
Dietary Fiber (g) 0
Sugar (g) 0
Protein (g) 43

MN Whitefish information PDF
MN Sea Grant fish information

From Avery Cassar

Rye and Dijon Herring:

  • fresh Lake Superior Herring fillets
  • salt
  • pepper
  • dijon mustard
  • rye bread crumbs

Place the herring fillets on a baking surface. Salt and pepper to taste. Coat them lightly with dijon mustard. Cover them with the rye bread crumbs. Place the baking pan into a preheated 450 degree oven. Cook for 8 to 12 minutes. During the last minute of cooking turn the oven to broil to darken your bread crumbs. Fish is done as soon as it flakes easily with a fork.

Warm German Potato Salad:

  • fingerling potatoes par boiled and cut to one inch
  • 4 oz bacon cut into small pieces
  • 1/2 of a chopped red onion
  • 1 tbls mustard seed
  • 1/4 c dill
  • 4 sprigs of chopped green onion
  • 3/4 c apple cider vinegar
  • 1/4 c canola oil

In a hot skillet cook the bacon pieces to render out the fat. Place the cooked bacon on a separate plate. Add the red onions to the rendered out bacon fat. Saute until nearly opaque. Salt and Pepper to taste. Add the mustard seed. Add the apple cider vinegar. Saute for a moment. Add the dill, green onion, canola oil, potatoes and then bacon back to the pan. Reduce heat, simmer and stir until all ingredients are hot.

Total Allowable Catch

Don Schreiner, area supervisor for the Lake Superior Fisheries Office of Minnesota's Department of Natural Resources, discusses sustainable fisheries on Lake Superior.

Total Allowable Catch (TAC)

For three days every summer the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) takes hydroacoustic measurements in the Minnesota waters of Lake Superior. These measurements help estimate the total biomass of spawning fish. Ten percent of the average of three years estimates is what is currently being used to set the quota (TAC) fishermen are allowed to take.

The recent history of the Lake Herring fishery is a positive story in sustainable fishing. However, Don Schreiner reminds us that this method and the data gathered are still new. In order to ensure that the Lake Superior Herring fishery is sustainable far into the future we need to proceed with caution. The lake has gone through incredible change during the last century. If we continue to take care of Lake Superior it will continue to take care of us.