In this article, we will discuss the best freshwater fish to eat and why they are so good for you. We’ll also cover some of the health risks associated with eating certain types of fish, and provide tips on how to select fresh fish at the grocery store.
There are a few types of fish that remain at the top of the list among fish enthusiasts’ list of favorites. However, some of them might be hard to locate and obtain. But that’s no reason not to try them, as those fish species are truly some of the most highly recommended freshwater fish for eating.
Best Freshwater Fish for Eating
Here, we’d like to talk about a few of our absolute favorite tasty freshwater fish and provide some practical advice on why they are the best freshwater fish for eating.
There’s a good chance that your local fish market or grocery store offers many types of salmon from which you can choose easily. And you can make a variety of meals with salmon and serve them to your friends and family.
Salmon is an anadromous fish, meaning it moves from freshwater, to saltwater, and returns for reproduction purposes. In many areas of the world, there are landlocked salmon that live their entire lives in freshwater, so salmon is considered both a freshwater and saltwater fish.
There are many ways you can eat salmon. It can be baked, roasted, fried, or even grilled.
Salmon works well even now in an air fryer. This adds diversity to a straightforward fish. It has plenty of Omega-3-rich fatty acids as well which is really good for your health overall.
Salmon has a moderate flavor, so you will not get any significant fish-type flavor, which is why it is often enjoyed by those with little experience consuming fish.
There are several types of trout that are often consumed:
Rainbow trout, brown trout, cutthroat trout, brook trout (not technically a trout, but widely included in this group), lake trout, and other species of trout.
Roasted trout is one of the best trout dishes there is. However, it also tastes great when fried or grilled. Just make sure that you cut the trout into tiny chunks if you decide to fry it.
We recommend some brown rice and maybe some steaming or vegetables on the side when you’re ready to serve the trout. If you are camping, it is easy to place trout in some foil over a fire and have an incredibly meal while camping.
As opposed to the majority of the other fish we’ve discussed here, you should expect a slightly fishy flavor from this fish.
The majority of people, however, use flavorful seasonings and inventive recipes to mask the fishiness. The fishy flavor will appeal to seafood lovers. When it comes to cooking pike, you may relish its rich flavors and flaky meat, so it’s quite adaptable.
Baking is the most typical method of preparing pike. The results from broiling or grilling these fish are rather good. A word of caution with pike: it’s bony, which means you want to take a bit of extra care when cleaning and eating. This is a fish where some local fish and wildlife may suggest not eating them based on water conditions.
Bluegill can be an exquisite choice if it is obtained in the proper environment. Bluegills are known for being some of the best tasting warm water fish species, but they taste can differ based on environment quite a bit. Bluegill in cold water vs hot water, in a lake, vs a pond, vs a river can all have some different flavors. This can make for some fun variation and experimenting.
Bluegill is most often fried, or cooked whole. Bluegill are small fish almost always less than 12 inches long, with a mild taste, firm meat, and it does not have a fishy taste.
Since the bass typically has a mild flavor, you can cook it pretty much however you like and still have a delicious meal.
Similar to bluegill, bass can have a slight note of sweet flavor. Although they don’t taste particularly fishy, you will detect some can detect a fishy flavor to them. Bass is such a commonly targeted sport fish, that is generally overlooked as a fish to consume, but in some regions, you’ll find this as a very common fish to eat.
People who just love spending time fishing in the nearby river or pond frequently catch this species of fish. They are considered one of the easiest fish species to catch, which makes them a great fish to target for beginners or family.
Crappie have a mild and sweet flavor. The texture of the meat is flaky but firm, which some people find to be similar to lobster or crab.
While you can fry crappie, many fishermen will say that baking or grilling provides the best flavor.
There are many different ways to enjoy freshwater fish. These are just a few of the most common and best-tasting options that you’ll find.
This fish is a bit of an acquired taste for some because it can have a muddy flavor.
This flavor is not present in all freshwater drums, however. If you catch one from clean water, you will be pleasantly surprised by its delicate and mild taste. The texture of its meat is also quite firm.
If you have never had freshwater drum before, baking is probably the best way to prepare it and get a feel for its flavor. You could also fry it or grill it if you’re feeling adventurous.
When it comes to taste, a smaller to medium-sized catfish is preferable, especially if you are worried about fishy flavors. The smaller the fish, the milder the taste will be.
There are many different ways to cook catfish. One popular way is to fry it, but you could also bake it, or even grill it.
No matter how you choose to prepare it, be sure to remove the skin and any dark meat before cooking as this can make the taste quite strong.
Perch is a mild-tasting fish that is popular among fishermen and seafood-lovers alike. It has a delicate flavor with firm, white flesh.
One of the best things about perch is that it can be cooked in many different ways and still taste great.
Cusk is a freshwater fish that is lesser known but definitely worth trying.
This type of fish is frequently compared to cod, haddock, or pollock because they have a very similar taste and appearance. They are whitefish with rather large flakes. They also have a moist texture and a delicate flavor which makes them perfect for people who are not fans of fishy tastes.
Cusk is a great option for people who want to try something new but don’t want to stray too far from what they’re used to. It is versatile and can be used in many different recipes.
If you want to try cusk, it is best to baked, grilled, or poached.
There are many different freshwater fish to choose from if you want to add fish to your diet. These are just some of the best options available. Not only are these fish best for eating, but you can also try different recipes and have an amazing lunch or dinner with your family and friends.
Frequently Asked Questions
Do Fish From Freshwater Have Parasites?
Fish in freshwater are parasitized by a variety of cestodes (tapeworms) as well as trematodes (flukes). However, one tapeworm is Ligula, which has various life stages that are parasitic on fish, crustaceans, and birds in order. In most cases, fully cooking fish prevents the passing of any parasites.
Can You Acquire Worms Via Fish Consumption?
When a person consumes fish that is infected with the worm Diphyllobothrium latum, such as undercooked or raw fish, they may become infected with fish tapeworms. They key is to fully cook your fish. Fish tapeworm is the most frequently used name for the worm. This particular species of tapeworm develops in raw fish-eating big animals and small aquatic organisms as victims. This generally can be fixed easily without long lasting effects.
What Types Of Freshwater Fish Are Unsafe To Eat?
Do some research on the best freshwater fish in your area to find out what’s available and what would be the best option for you and your family. Some local areas have populations of fish that may not be safe to consume, or contain contaminants that can be harmful to your health. A simple search on the local fish and wildlife organization will likely supply you with all the needed information.
Max DesMarais is the founder of hikingandfishing.com. He has a passion for the outdoors and making outdoor education and adventure more accessible. Max is a published author for various outdoor adventure, travel, and marketing websites. He is an experienced hiker, backpacker, fly fisherman, trail runner, and spends his free time in the outdoors. These adventures allow him to test gear, learn new skills, and experience new places so that he can educate others. Max grew up hiking all around New Hampshire and New England. He became obsessed with the New Hampshire mountains, and the NH 48, where he guided hikes and trail runs in the White Mountains. Since moving out west, Max has continued his frequent adventures in the mountains, always testing gear, learning skills, gaining experience, and building his endurance for outdoor sports. You can read more about his experience here: hikingandfishing/about