Bob Lessard’s Famous Fish Batter Recipe

It’s not too often you find a recipe gracing the Sportsman’s Blog pages.   In fact, I believe you have to go way back to the infancy of this blog site to find the last food recipe I shared with my readers.   Now, mind you, it’s not because I don’t like to both eat and to cook…but for some odd reason I just don’t usually find the topic of food preparation interesting enough to focus on it.

Nevertheless, for the sake of variety and to kick off this new fishing season…I felt that passing along a recipe today seemed like an appropriate thing to do.   Besides, this is no ordinary recipe.   What I’m about to pass along is none other than former Minnesota State Senator Bob Lessard’s “not-so-secret-anymore” fish batter recipe.   The recipe was recently printed in the Minneapolis StarTribune’s Outdoors Section in advance of the 2006 Minnesota Fishing Opener.

In a time when store shelves are filled with commercially prepared fish batter mixes costing as much as $3 or more per box, it’s kind of nice to know that a homemade batter mix can be concocted without all the exotic ingredients found with some recipes.   Give it a try!

Here’s the recipe in its entirety:


Walleye (or other fish) fillets

1 cup flour

2 teaspoons salt

1 teaspoon garlic salt

1 teaspoon lemon pepper

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 cup beer

1 or 2 eggs, as desired


• Combine eggs and beer, then mix in dry ingredients. Stir. Batter is too thick if it sticks to a finger without dripping slightly, too thin if it runs off altogether. Adjust in either case by adding more beer or more flour.

• Prepare fillets by cutting them in half. Important: Dry the fish on paper towels so the batter sticks to them. Dip fish in batter.

• Using oil of your choice, deep fry until golden brown (either in a deep fryer or deep skillet).

• Batter won’t spoil and can be reused if refrigerated. “The next day when you look at it in the refrigerator, it won’t look very good,” retired state Sen. Bob Lessard said. “But just stir it, again adding more beer or flour as necessary for desired thickness.”

Former State Senator Bob Lessard was a stalwart advocate for everything hunting and fishing in Minnesota politics for over 25 years before retiring in 2002.   Lessard is often credited as being one of the strongest supporters of sportsman’s issues to ever to sit in the legislative chambers in St. Paul.   While many folks remember Lessard for his politics…others fondly recall his legendary annual fish frys at the capitol where this recipe often proved to be the center of attention.

© 2006 Jim Braaten.  All Rights Reserved.   No Reproduction without Prior Permission.