Fran’s Favorites: Fish Ohio Day & Walleye Tacos


Forty years ago, Governor Jim Rhodes created Fish Ohio Day to promote fishing on Lake Erie. He brought his children and grandchildren to Lake Erie for a great day of fishing. This past week, Mike and I continued the tradition.

We were joined by outdoor newspaper writers as well as TV reporters, 18 members of the General Assembly, Lake Erie enthusiasts, and 15 of our children and grandchildren, as we fished for walleye on Lake Erie. Mike has made the protection of Lake Erie one of his priorities throughout his career. He considers it a magnificent jewel that we must protect. Three million Ohioans get their drinking water each day from the lake and it is so important.

It was a great day on the lake! Even though Mike and the kids have been fishing there many times, it was the first time for me. I’ve usually opted to stay behinds with the ones that were too little. But I had a wonderful time. My skills aren’t great — at least I caught one, but I loved seeing my 6-year-old grandson bring in six big walleye! Captain Mark and Justin could not have been nicer and more helpful with all the kids. Mike and more grandkids were on another boat. Our family had three boats, and caught a total of 96 fish! What a day!

We brought home a lot of beautiful walleye, which I froze for later use. But I did save some to fix for dinner the next day. A favorite recipe of mine is George Voinovich’s Pan Fried Walleye, which Janet gave me years ago. But I decided to try something new and fresh — fish tacos. I looked through many recipes to see how other people were making them. I experimented, and finally came up with a recipe that was easy to make, and used many of the fresh ingredients I already had in the garden. I grilled them on a heavy grill/griddle on top of my stove, but they would also be great outside on the grill. (But it was raining!) Mike gave it a thumbs up!

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George Voinovich’s Pan-Fried Walleye

1/2 cup flour

salt, pepper

4- 6 oz. walleye fillets

2 tablespoons butter

2 tablespoons olive oil

1/4 cup capers, drained

1 lemon

Combine flour, salt and pepper; dredge fish to thoroughly coat. Heat butter and oil until sizzling; saute fish three minutes. Turn fillets. Top with capers; cook 2-3 minutes longer, until firm. Remove from heat. Squeeze lemon to taste over each fillet.

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Fran’s Favorite Walleye Tacos with Fresh Peach Salsa

Peach Salsa:

3-4 fresh peaches, chopped (about 2 ½ cups)

¼ cup red onion, finely diced

1 tsp. jalapeno pepper, finely diced

½ tsp. fresh minced garlic

¼ c. fresh cilantro, chopped

1 lime, juiced, plus a little of grated lime zest

1/8 tsp. kosher salt

Gently mix together and set aside.

Cream Sauce:

½ cup sour cream

¼ cup mayonnaise

1 lime juiced, plus a little of the grated zest

Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

Mix together and set aside.


1 lb. Walleye or other white fish

¼ cup canola oil

1 lime, juiced

1 Tbs. Chili powder

1 jalapeno pepper, chopped

¼ cup fresh cilantro, chopped

8 corn tortillas

Mix together oil, lime juice, chili powder, chopped jalapeno, and chopped cilantro. Pour over fish and let marinate for about 15 minutes.

Preheat grill or griddle to medium high heat.

Remove the fish from the marinade and place on the hot grill. Grill for about 4 minutes, then flip over and grill on other side for about 30 seconds or until it begins to flake. Remove and let rest for 5 minutes. Put the corn tortillas on the grill to warm up and get grill marks on them. (30 seconds).

Divide the fish among the tortillas and add the peach salsa and cream sauce as a garnish. Or let everyone create their own!

By Fran DeWine

First Lady Fran DeWine is a Cedarville resident, Yellow Springs native and guest columnist.

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