Tango Diva : Travel Stories for Women, by Women

Super Tango Diva Ginger Nichols reports that in May 2015 she discovered the holy grail of fish. She is a hero to the many people who have tried to find the elusive chubs, even resorting to ordering them via Tango Diva! (Sorry, we don’t have our fish resale license yet.)
Bearcats in ALgoma, WI, heart of Door County, has CHUBS for sale. Ginger reports that her recent purchase was $11.99 a pound.

Bearcats Fish House
295 4th St
Algoma, WI 54201

Chubs Hotline (920) 487-2372


open Mon – Sun 9a-5p
(they should switch to 24hours/day)



I swear this is big big BIG news.

If you are a connoisseur of regional foods, you can share my pain, having spent the last five years schlepping up to Port Washington, WI, eagerly dashing in to Ewig’s Fish Market only to be told that once again, the chubs are not being fished. In case you’re not from these parts, chubs are fresh water fish from the Great Lakes, specifically Lake Michigan.

I was first told that chubs just aren’t profitable to fish anymore. Then it was “check back in October”, followed by “check back in February” in an endless loop of unexplained excuses.
I returned to San Francisco trying to wrap my head around the fact that my most favored childhood treat was extinct.

Cue heavenly angelic music! Chubs are not extinct and March is the best time to find them. My father called me to report that he had scored an entire box of chubs for me. Pushing aside thoughts that this was yet another trick to get me to visit in the dead of winter I called AirTran, the only airline to fly direct and non-stop from San Francisco to Milwaukee, thank you very much. Arriving at the airport assuming I would buy an on-board meal I discovered my choices were limited to an open soda bar. Luckily the friendly mid-western culture did me a solid. The steward slipped me an entire 12 pack of pretzels. No never mind, I was off to beat the three-week shelf life of my beloved fish sitting in the parents fridge.

Once in Wisconsin I stood on the parent’s door step ringing the bell, my first words being … “hi, where are they?” They knew what I meant. Gosh the fish were awfully small, but incredibly delicious, just like I remembered them, best served with farm fresh tomatoes and crackers. If you want to go all Eastern European gourmet, add a side of raw onions, lots of salt, matzoh, and herring in wine sauce for a tart contrast. Trust me, this is food bliss.

Another trip to Port Washington was in order. According to the friendly honest guy behind the Ewig’s Market counter, the culprits are zebra mussels and the larger quagga mussels that hitch-hike aboard ocean-going ships. These invasive species are eating chub food, the plankton that smaller fish like to eat. The mussels promote clear water by munching on enough green stuff to open up the feeding area to sunlight. Sunlight promotes the growth of killer algae. Scientists have yet to figure out a way to completely control this ecological disaster. But I digress, they are delicious.


Ewig’s Market
(yes, they ship)

AirTran Airlines
(non-stop direct flights to Milwaukee)

Port Washington, WI
(great tourist destination
less than an hour north of Milwaukee)

12 thoughts on “Wisconsin Fish Report: Smoked Chubs Are Back! … AGAIN in 2015

  1. My fav fish, everytime I find them it might be the last time they are fished. Must eat cold with raw onion and fresh tomato.

  2. I’d like to have 5 lbs. So good the fresher the better. We used to have them around NewYears. and during summers for dinner. A woman I worked with used to order ten lbs. and give me 5. Such a treat. I shared with family and a couple of friends. All gone before the weekend was over.

  3. Can somebody please please please tell me where I can have smoked chubs shipped to me in Denton Maryland. Please

    • Thanks so much for this wonderful blog entry! We are very proud of our product and appreciate you showcasing it. We are able to ship chubs – please call the store during store hours (9:00-5:00) and we will be happy to take care of you!

  4. Greetings fellow lover of fresh water chub fish from Wisconsin. Despite my many personal appearances at Ewigs the fish are not being fished. It’s a long story involving lack of profit and an evil parasite. If you wish to contact Ewigs personally, email them jwewig (at) sbcglobal.net or check their website http://ewigsmokedfish.com. Unfortunately TangoDiva does not have a fish re-sellers license. If you find those fish please let us know asap! They occasionally reappear for a couple of weeks.

    oh, and here’s my google something or other they make me post.

  5. I just ordered 8 pounds from Bearcats in Algoma Wisconsin and they are delicious. They $11.99 a pounds and yes they do ship. I gave some to my brother and sister and I may have to order some more…….Wink

    • Ginger, you are my hero! I’m planning my road trip ASAP. Since you already have your 8 pounds of gourmet heaven I will alert the masses. Thank you times 10. Your new fan, Lynn

  6. I’ve been fishing chubs in lake superior for the past 4 yrs. sell to King fishery naubinway, mi lifting nets tomorrow.

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