A good Buffalo Catholic heading out to any decent Buffalo tavern or Holy Name Society dinner for a fish fry would have expected only one Lake Erie fish to be beer-battered and fried for dinner, and it wasn’t haddock.
Before 1960, any good fish fry was made with blue pike, as was being served up at three Trautwein’s locations 60 years ago this week.
Once the most ubiquitous and tasty fish of Lake Erie, the blue pike was over-fished and saw competition from invasive species such as rainbow smelt.
As the blue pike grew more rare, Buffalonians began to acquire a taste for the haddock fish fry, which is a good thing. By the 1970s, the blue pike was generally accepted as extinct.