8 Best Tasting Freshwater Fish To Eat, Its Health Benefits and Where to Catch Them

Anglers around the world love to talk about their catch. Do you know which the best tasting freshwater fish is? If you ask among anglers, the answers may vary geographically. One type of freshwater fish may or may not be available in some location.

I think it is important to know which ones will fare well when served on the table. You may not be a fan of freshwater fish but after reading this, you might just head to the nearest wet market and buy fish for dinner.

Here are EIGHT of the best tasting freshwater fish, its health benefits and where you can catch them.



walleye fish

Source: startribune.com

Anglers from North America and Canada seem to agree that the walleye is the cream of the crop, or should I say the school of fish. While they admit that the walleye is difficult to catch, this freshwater fish is worth the chase.

Walleyes thrive in the bottom of lakes and streams. But the best time to catch them is early morning or late afternoon when they come to the surface. Use a jig head rather than a bait holder hook.

Anglers suggest filleting, broiling, frying and baking walleye. These cooking methods are the best to bring out the natural flavors of this fish.​

Lake bottoms and streams in North America and Canada



trout fish

Source: wideopenspaces.com

The fresher is better when it comes to eating trout. Smoked trout is a good treat if you are eating by the shore. When you catch one, clean it up and get a fire ready. In minutes, you will have a delicious meal.

Most common types of trout are brown, brook, and rainbow. Check if the flesh has an orange or pink color. Anglers confirm that these factors make the fish taste better.

Bigger trouts are cut up in specimens for easy frying. Others enjoy filleting and broiling. Personally, I love the exotic flavor of smoked trout.

Cool, clear streams, ponds and lakes




catfish - source: sciencing.com

Catfish has been a staple freshwater fish across the world. They can be found in coastal and inland waters, except in the Arctic and Antarctic regions. In some areas, catfish are farmed to provide local food.

Catfish meat is not as white as most freshwater fish. There’s a hint of yellow hue in their flesh. Frying catfish is one of the easiest ways to enjoy it.

However, some anglers argue that catfish has a distinct taste to it. It can’t be easily broiled. An expert of catfish cooking will use spices to balance the strong flavor inherent in its flesh.

Coastal and inland waters




Source: cmaquatic.com

The bluegill is native to North America. Anglers enjoy the thrill of catching a bluegill and pan frying it to perfection. It has a white, flaky meat and is sweet to the palate.

Bluegills are speed swimmers. However, expert anglers suggest looking for bluegills in structures submerged in water and tree stumps. These fish also hide under tree shades planted along riverbanks.

The bluegill loves live bait. They are easily attracted to vibrant colors like red, orange, green and yellow.​

Streams, ponds, rivers and lakes



bass fish

Source: bodyhacks.com

According to anglers, bass is one of the best tasting freshwater fish out there but it is the thrill of the catch that keeps them coming back. Bass launches an airborne movement to let go from the hook. Just imagine an angler trying to get hold of a largemouth bass.

It is a common practice among anglers to release larger specimens back to water because these types are breeding females. They want to preserve the natural breeding environment for freshwater bass.

Like with most freshwater fish, habitat influences the taste of freshwater fish. For bass, those coming from clean, clear and cold water are the tastiest.

Shallow water covers and around mass patches of aquatic vegetation




Source: pureinstincthunting.com

Crappie is a popular freshwater fish in South and North America. It has a sweet, white meat perfect for filleting and frying.

Lakes and streams


Freshwater drum

Freshwater Drum

Source: fieldandstream.com

Also known as sheepshead, some anglers argue that its flesh is inedible. For most anglers, they enjoy eating freshwater drum. There is also a growing commercial market to farm freshwater drum.

This freshwater fish can grow large and is suitable for filleting. However, you need to put them in ice as soon as you catch and make sure to clean it up fast if you plan to store them in the freezer.

Cool waters like lakes and streams


White bass

small white bass

Source: tnfish.org

White bass has a distinct dark red stripe or bloodline in its meat. Anglers strongly advise to remove this before cooking. White bass are best enjoyed pan-fried.

Lakes and rivers

Freshwater fish health benefits

Freshwater fish has a lot of health benefits. Primarily, they are rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which help reduce heart disease risk and other degenerative diseases. Omega 3 is also known to reduce depression.

If you want low acid and high protein diet, include these best tasting freshwater fish in your diet. Regular consumption will help you develop lean muscles.

Because freshwater fish feed on natural food like other small fishes and crustaceans found in lakes, streams and rivers, they are low in calorie and carbohydrates.

Some freshwater fish have special health benefits. For example, walleye can be a good alternative for cheese, milk and yogurt, a perfect food for lactose intolerant. Bluegill is rich in iron and vitamin B12, essential minerals that help form red blood cells.

Fish are good sources of protein and considered as best red meat substitutes. If you want to try something new, head to the nearest market or grocery and check out the best tasting freshwater fish available in your area. If you are feeling adventurous, connect with anglers or explore fishing on your next weekend activity.

Proper cleaning, handling and storing of freshwater fish is important to preserve its taste. There are several recipes available to help you with cooking freshwater fish. You can check these tips and recipes here.

Got something to ask? Leave a comment below and we will be happy to assist you.

Megan Ann

I’m Megan Ann, mama to 2 and wife to James F. Core. I love meeting new people and hearing their stories. I try to write useful and informative articles to help you as much as I can with my knowledge. Thank you for reading.

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