: Blue Finned Walleyes????????????

Keith H
01-02-2003, 10:29 AM
Have you ever caught walleyes with a decidedly blue tinge to their fins and tail? I mean an "Aqua Velva" blue. Now here's the weird part. The fish doesn't come out of the net or onto the ice blue but in rapid fashion turns blue as it lays on the ice, or after it dies on the fillet table. This is really apparent when ice fishing. The blue will actually leach off in the fish slime and onto the ice, turning it sno-cone blue! Get it on your fillet board and it's nearly impossible to remove. I've witnessed this phenomenon only on a handful of lakes. Any ideas, or similar occurances here? 1. No I haven't been drinking (not today, anyway!) 2. No, I don't live near a nuclear energy plant. Thanks in advance. Keith

01-02-2003, 10:45 AM
Must be papa smurf getting friendly with the walleyes at spawning season? OR could it be that blue gatorade just like Michael Jordan? Just kidding but I am looking forward to any answers you receive... Chuckles

01-02-2003, 11:21 AM
I've never heard of that, but from how you describe it, it sounds as though there is something in the water of these lakes that when combined with fish slime is oxydizing - ie: reacting to the oxygen in the air.

Do the lakes this happens to have a higher than normal content of some mineral (copper, perhaps)? Weird, for sure....


"Sometimes I think we're alone in the universe, and sometimes I think we're not.
In either case the idea is quite staggering"
- Arthur C. Clarke

01-02-2003, 11:41 AM
May want to keep those ones off the fillet board and put them back..... what color is your S(*^T after you eat those scary creatures???

Keith H
01-02-2003, 12:10 PM
I know I know. The eeriness is precluded only by our curiousity. Interesting comments all- the one lake in particular is darkly tannin stained, "rootbeer" colored in a part of the country well known for copper deposits. Chucky, I haven't noticed any changes in my scat after a meal of these fish. But I haven't been looking down lately, either- just getting the h@ll out of there! I've considered not eating these fish, and then they become the classic delicious white-pink walleye fillet begging for a dust of flour and a hot pan of oil, fried crisp and golden. Can you tell?, they are great eating fish, some of the best walleye I've ever had. As it is I release far more than I keep- generally just a possession limit in the spring and then a few fish on a single ice fishing trip. Chances are the oil will kill me faster than the mystery blue. Papa Smurf Blue, that's exactly the color! Mermaid blue?...... hmmmm.... Kidding aside, I am hoping some fish biologists will weigh in on this one, and help solve this mystery.

01-02-2003, 05:40 PM

Erie Drifter
01-02-2003, 06:17 PM
Check out the pic in this article, it's actualy a Blue Pike and is an endangered species.



Bill W. (War-N-Peace-ch 68)

keith H.
01-03-2003, 08:07 AM
Thanks for the site referral. We were talking about the blue pike even as we watched the fins turn blue on our catch last week. But our fish aren't fully blue and whitish like the photos show on that link. They are dark backed, dark gold sided and yellow-white to the belly. I'll email the site just to let them know. Thanks for the info. Keith

01-03-2003, 08:34 AM
I had this happen a few years back on a Canada trip. Fished side lake on a chain which had water with high tannin content. Walleyes had blue fins.

01-03-2003, 08:49 AM
Here is our long standing reward


Press Release: The Native Fish Conservancy (NFC) May 25 2000, http://www.nativefish.org

The NFC has received 15 plus suspect Blue Pike queries in the last 60 days as a result of our reward and increased publicity. We were recently an integral part of an In Fisherman Blue Pike article in their Walleye section of the January 2000 issue. We are working with US Fish and Wildlife Service on this issue and will turn over all suspect fish to them for DNA analysis.

To recap the NFC is offering a $500 reward to ANYONE who can produce a recently caught Blue Pike or hybrid. To win send a close up picture of the head of the suspect fish along with your collecting data to

NFC BLUE PIKE HUNT -8436 Meadow Lane-Leawood Ks.-66206

To win you must have Fish or Fish parts to DNA analyze so freeze a whole pike if you can or at least the skin and fins. We will contact you for the fish/skin if your suspect looks promising. Check out the NFC's website's Blue Pike page at www.nativefish.org for the latest Blue Pike news

NEWS FLASH: September 10 1999-A suspect Blue Pike skin from Ontario Canada has been turned over to the US Fish and Wild Life Service For Analysis. The Fisherman Involved learned about the Blue Pike here on this website. Contacted the NFC and away we went. DNA analysis is ongoing.We have a video of the capture and expect to have still up in a short time.Details to follow.

NEWS FLASH: October 11 1999- The NFC has set up a $500 minimum reward for the first fishermen to provide a recently caught , live frozen Blue Pike or Hybrid. Take a picture of your suspect fish along with it's capture location and date and mail the picture to NFC Blue Pike Hunt 8436 Meadow Lane Leawood Kansas 66206. If it looks like you have a winner we will contact you within thirty days to arrange shipping of the frozen fish. After conformation by proffessionals the winner will recieve their rewards. If you'd like to contribute to the Blue Pike Hunt reward fund Please contact the NFC President at 352-337-9676 or president@nativefish.org we are looking for sponsors to make this effort even more effective.

Whats a Blue Pike ?

The blue pike (really a walleye but that's it's common name) was an endemic fish of the Great Lakes region in the United States and Canada. It was once commonly found in the waters of Lake Erie, Lake Ontario, and the Niagara River. It preferred cool, clear waters, living in deep water in summer, and switching to nearshore waters as they cooled and became less murky in the winter.

The blue pike was pursued intensely by commercial and sport fishers, who together landed a billion pounds of the fish between 1885 and 1962. At times, the blue pike made up more than 50 percent of the commercial catch in Lake Erie.

At the same time the fishing industry was growing in the Great Lakes, the number of Euroamerican settlers in the region was increasing as well. With the increasing human population came increased habitat degradation. The settlers drained marshes and wetlands, built dams in tributary rivers, and
caused large increases in the amount of pollution and sediment that entered the lakes. All of these actions contributed to the deterioration of the cool, clear habitat needed by the blue pike. During the 1900s, several non-native species of fish were introduced to the Great Lakes, including the
sea lamprey, alewife, and rainbow smelt. These contributed to the decline of the blue pike through predation and competition.

The population crashed in 1958, but the species lingered on until it became extinct in 1970. In the same general time period, three other species of fish endemic to the Great Lakes also disappeared. These were the deepwater cisco (C. johannae) in the 1950's, native to Lake Huron and Lake Michigan; the blackfin cisco (Coregonus nigripinnis) in the 1960s, native to all of the Lakes except Erie; and the longjaw cisco (C. alpenae) in the 1970's, native to Lakes Erie, Huron and Michigan. Each of these species succumbed to the cumulative effects of overexploitation by fishers, pollution, siltation and other forms of habitat degradation due to development, and predation and
competition from non-native species.

Still today , there remains conflicting stories about its demise. Fishermen report catching Blue
Colored Pike in lakes in Canada and Minnesota. Rumours have for years abounded
about the Blue Pike translocated by private individuals and goverment stocking programs outside their Great Lakes homes and still carrying on. Could it be true ?

Suspect Pike Specimens have been turned into the USFWS for genetic research. The Jury is still out. They DNA tests have begun. If the Blue Pike is out there we want to know !

So we put together this page to inform the public and collect information in a central location. We have a Blue Pike recovery Plan avaliable to view or download and a Bulletin Board where you can drop us a note and tell us of your experiences with the Blue Pike, its recovery or anything Blue Pike related that you'd like.If you'd like to further educational and conservation projects like this one Join Us here at the NFC. If you have what you believe to be a Blue Pike put it in the Freezer and email the USWS via robertrice@juno.com as soon as you can. If you have any Blue Pike photos/artwork please send them to us president@nativefish.org so we can post them in an upcoming Blue Pike gallery . The USFWS, the NFC and most of the fishing world would love to see the Blue Pike back in the Great Lakes.

01-05-2003, 08:18 AM
Yes, they exist, and I've caught them..............although admittedly not ones exactly like you're talking about where blue slime actually comes off the fish. I've spent time at a fly-in camp in Ontario, northwest of Armstrong where we caught a number of walleyes that were tinged, fins tail AND body, a gorgeous gun-metal blue. The flesh was perfectly normal, both in appearance and taste. As I understand it (and if my memory holds true), there was also a strain of "blue" walleyes in Lake Erie although they are quite rare now. No worries, mate......just fry them up and enjoy!


Walleye Express
01-05-2003, 08:30 AM
I caught what is called a Blue Pike on the Pere Marquette River years ago while fishing for Steelheads. Same deal as your walleye, but he was blue when I pulled him out of the river. All his fins and gum area around his mouth was a bright blue. After some phone calls and some confusion on the DNR's part. Come to find out, there was/is such a thing as a blue pike. Just nobody alive on the DNR's staff had ever seen one before. They figured it all has to do with the water environment they live in, along with their diet in that particular body of water.