Best Tasting Freshwater Fish To Eat: A Few of Our Favorites, Recipe Ideas, and Tips

Fishes are not only nutritious but also provide essential protein and heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids. They are delicious and easy to clean.

As most anglers know, freshwater fish are an excellent addition to any meal. We would like to share some of our favorite fish and give you some tips and ideas for recipes.

Keep reading if you are new to fish preparation or want to learn more about it. Here are some of the best freshwater fish you can eat.

The Best Freshwater Fish to Eat


Bluegill is named after the striking color found on the gill plate of the humble bluegill, located at the backside of the head. Bluegills are easy to catch and can be found almost anywhere east of the Rocky Mountains. They are also popular in fish fries, from northern Michigan to southern Louisiana.

Do you want to catch more bluegills? Our bluegill fishing tips will help you!

Panfish is one of many species. There’s a reason why they are called that. After a light coating of seasoned flour such as Zatarain’s and Louisiana Fish Fry, they’re the perfect size for pan-frying. People like to fillet bluegill. This technique yields small, clean fish that can be pan-fried on the stove.

This video by Kent Dickinson provides a masterclass on filleting these tiny guys.

The bodies of bluegill are best left intact. This is my personal favorite way to serve them. Scale them, remove the head and gut the meat. After I have given them a quick fry, I will place them in a large pan of 375-degree oil and heat it on a propane burner. This allows me to fry fish for my entire family or large group of friends. It also eliminates fishy smells in the kitchen.

A pan is not inferior if you don’t have such a setup.

You can make me happy with a few drops of Tabasco, homemade cocktail sauce, or a squeeze of lime.


Ictalurus furcatus, Ictalurus punctatus, and Pylodictis Olivares

My first catch was a catfish.

My family owned a fishing camp in Cocodrie, Louisiana. There was no doubt that the catfish was going to be a hot commodity!

Three species are very common in the US: flatheads, channels, or blues. All three of these make great meals. Although they are not the easiest to clean, some tips will make it easy for you to process them like a pro.

Catfish have leathery skin, which is different from traditional scales. To help you accomplish this task, I highly recommend you invest in a pair of catfish scissors!

Do you want to catch more catfish than others? Take a look at our tips for catfish fishing!

This video will help you if you are not familiar with how to clean them or just want to refresh your memory.

Walleye are large fish that can produce fillets of great quality in a short time. Do not be intimidated when cleaning them. It is very simple:

The possibilities are endless once you have your fillets. They can be grilled, fried, sauteed, baked, or any other type of cooking you want, just like catfish.

You can also skip filleting and treat your walleye as the trout. After giving your walleye a quick scrape and gut, you can rub it with some olive oil, salt, and pepper. Toss the fish in a hot oven by making a few incisions on each end.

Fish Frying Tips

There are many different ways to cook fish and all of them are delicious. Fried fish is a popular choice for dinner, as many people prefer to eat it with breading or hot oil.

If you are new to the art of frying fish, here are some tips.

Use a thermometer

Oil should be between 350-375 degrees for fish. My favorite cooks don’t make guesses about the temperature of the oil. They use a thermometer each time. The oil should not be too hot. If it is too cold, the fish will brown without being cooked through.

A clip-on frying thermometer is a great choice for me. I use it every time I deep fry.

Do not crowd too many people

You shouldn’t overcrowd the pan, no matter if you are frying fish in a pot or pan, on the stovetop with a propane burner, or over a bed hot coals by the river. Don’t allow the fish pieces to touch each other, as this can lead to steaming instead of frying. If you deep fry in a large pot, too many fish will cause the oil to cool too quickly.

The oil will begin to cool.

The oil will cool as you add fish. This effect will be more noticeable the more fish you add and the less oil that you use. This is why I heat my oil to 375 degrees before adding the fish in small quantities. The oil is allowed to cool between them.

Most seafood (including fish) can be caught when it floats.

How long should fish be fried?

If the oil is sufficiently deep, the fish will float if it is done!

Dry on a rack

Although it may sound odd, never drain your fried fish by placing it on paper towels. This is a common technique. However, it keeps the oil close to the fish while it rests. This reduces its crispiness and encourages it to absorb more.

Instead, I recommend drying your oil on an oven rack or cookie sheet. To catch any oil that may drip from the rack’s feet, place paper towels underneath the feet. But let the air dry.

You will be a delight to your taste buds!

Last Thoughts

Fish is my favorite food. I fondly remember fish fries, fresh trout from the oven, and grilling parties. We hope you find this article helpful and that you enjoy the fresh fish you just caught.

These recipes are worth a try. Let us know what you think!

Lewis Mark is a vastly experienced fly fisher. His encyclopedic knowledge of fly tying has led to start blog on fishing. He also review Fishing equipment based on his knowledge and experience.