Eat Wisconsin Fish is sponsored by Wisconsin Sea Grant at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Wisconsin Sea Grant supports scientific research, education and outreach to foster the wise use, conservation and sustainable development of Great Lakes and coastal resources.

Please visit, follow us on social media and become part of the sustainability conversation.

Vern Hacker’s Fish Chowder

Eat Wisconsin Fish / Vern Hacker’s Fish Chowder



5 pounds white potatoes, preferably Idaho
1 onion, 3-inch diameter
1 3/4 tablespoon salt
4 pounds boned fish (thaw if frozen)
28-ounce can of whole tomatoes
1/4 pounds soda crackers, reduced to meal in blender–add hot water to make a slurry
51-ounce can of tomato soup
3/4 tablespoons black pepper
1/2 pound butter
1 pint half & half cream


Peel, quarter and thinly slice potatoes. Rinse in cold water until water is clear of excess starch. Place potatoes in a 12-quart kettle, cover with water and then add 2 extra quarts of water. Put onion in blender with a little water and reduce it to liquid. Add onion and salt to potatoes. Boil until potatoes are soft. DO NOT POUR OFF LIQUID. With potato masher, reduce about 3/4 of the potatoes to a puree. Cut fish into chunks and add to potato puree. Put whole tomatoes in blender for 2 seconds to break them up and add to potato puree along with tomato soup. Cook until the fish flakes, then turn down heat. Add pepper, butter, half & half and soda crackers. Add hot water to give mixture the consistency of a medium-thick soup. Simmer for a half hour. Then eat and enjoy. Freezes nicely.