A variety of foods from the Great Lakes, from soup, grilled salmon, berries, and freshly picked greens.

Back in 2016, Michigan Sea Grant’s communications team had an idea: We’re surrounded by people who love to cook and eat fish — why not feature some of their favorite dishes in a food blog? 

Thus, Freshwater Feasts was born. 

The blog is the spiritual successor to our popular cookbook, Wild Caught and Close to Home: Selecting and Preparing Great Lakes Whitefish. Published in 2010, the cookbook features more than 50 recipes from 15 professional chefs, all showcasing delicious lake whitefish. Freshwater Feasts widens out to include cooking tips, memorable restaurant meals, and recipes featuring other Michigan and Great Lakes edibles.

From the start, Freshwater Feasts was designed to be fish-forward but not seafood-exclusive. Our first major feature was December 2016’s post, “Catch” the holiday spirit! Bake a unique fishy gift for your favorite angler.” In the post, former MISG administrative assistant Vanessa Pollok shares her secrets for baking and decorating beautifully realistic fishy cookies. 

Since its inception in late 2016, Freshwater Feasts has accumulated nearly 70 posts by Michigan Sea Grant staff and friends. More than 19,000 unique visitors have perused the recipes and cooking tips featuring food items caught, grown, or foraged in Michigan and surrounding waters. Some perennially popular posts include:

Many recipes are flexible enough to customize with whatever Great Lakes or Michigan fish you have on hand, either fresh or frozen. 

Looking for some inspiration?

Which recipes will you try in 2024? Share a picture with us by tagging @miseagrant on social media! If you’d like to share your own favorite Michigan dish with us, send an email to miseagrant@umich.edu.