Fall is the time for sport anglers to fill their coolers with Lake Erie’s yellow perch. The same holds true for commercial fishing enterprises like Szuch Fisheries.

“When you throw away fish like that, you got some good fishing going,” Holly Szuch said. “Right now in the fall, we usually fish here in Cleveland.”

Holly and her husband own the operation. Where they’re catching is a secret, but on this day, their 42-foot vessel, “The Whip,” found the fish, and lots of them: 8,000 pounds to be exact.

They unload their haul of yellow perch here at Catanese Classic Seafood in the Flats. These fish have a special designation.

“In 2015, we got our fish MSE certified as a sustainable resource,” Holly said. “Lake Erie is the first lake in the US to get this certification.”

The fish go straight to the processing room where they are scaled, filleted, and packed for sale at local restaurants, like Alley Cat Oyster House, where chef Andy Dombrowski serves up hundreds of perch dinners a week.

“One of the best thing about being a chef is getting fresh, local ingredients,” Dombrowski said. “You cant get anything better than when the boats come in and we get perch that afternoon.”

And that freshness gets passed along to you, either in a restaurant, or in the seafood case of your favorite grocery store.

“That makes me proud to hear people appreciate what I do for a living, just like a farmer,” Holly said.

Plowing the waters of Lake Erie to harvest gold, taking it from lake to table.

© 2017 WKYC-TV

Media Credit: WKYC News Cleveland, Carl Bachtel