Great Outdoors: Northern Foragers

LAKE VERMILION, Minn. – Lake Vermillion is the host to the invasive species Rusty Crawfish. This species of crawfish was introduced to the lake a long time ago when anglers brought them in to use as bait, and have since grown as a threat to all other life in the water. Northern Foragers, a family run business is doing their part by trapping and turning these crawfish into a hearty meal.

“Every crawfish I take out of here is doing the lake a better justice. Everyone says, “oh it’s food for the small mouth bass, if you dove down there it is absolutely disgusting what is on the bottom, it’s just a biomass of crawfish. So, we are trying to help that out as well,” said Timothy Fischer of Northern Foragers.

For Timothy Fischer, an executive chef who has 35 years of in fine-dining experience, trapping crawfish started as an educational process.

“We looked forward to seeing how the Rusty Crawfish got here, what the decline of the fishing has been, what it’s done to the Walleye population where did it put all the weeds. So, it’s actually a great thing that we are taking them out of there because their invasive. We may see some regular crawfish in there, some natives today. We always let the natives go and keep the Rustys, the natives are sometimes three ounces,” said Timothy Fischer.

Because of DNR regulations, crawfish can’t be brought in from Louisiana or anywhere else and the Fischer family is one of the only people doing the hard work in Northern Minnesota, providing the state with this extremely hyper local food.

Along with the crawfish, Northern Foragers also forage a variety of other ingredients.

“Everything you see here from the bird syrup to the maple syrup to the fermented black garlic, it’s all done in house by hand, except for my honey here the bees made that, but my wife son and I foraged these morels not far from here so that’s our mojo, that’s what gets us going and that’s what keeps us going,” said Timothy Fischer.

Northern Foragers runs adventure tours on the lake, allowing people to get a full experience of what it’s like to forage mushrooms, trap crawfish, and cook your own crawfish lunch.

“It’s fun to be out on the lake doing stuff, going out in the woods finding mushrooms, cooking, it’s awesome,” said Vince Fischer of Northern Foragers.

“It’s the little things in life that you can actually give back to nature and get a whole lot out of it and spend tons of time with my family,” said Timothy Fischer.

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