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Jonny

Taste in Fish

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Taste in Fish

 

… meaning how they taste, not what species are preferred for catching. Can where they are caught noticeably affect the flavour? I haven’t noticed much difference but I’ve very seldom fished south of the French River. Nipissing/French up to north of Cochrane, and Quebec border to west of Sudbury have been my “stomping grounds” for all my life. I've made forays elsewhere but only once in a while.

 

Pickerel seem to be consistently good no matter where they’re caught. Some people may detect subtle differences, but I never have.

 

Perch are great.

 

I’ve eaten a few (very few) pike that seemed to be “off”. Some people say pike is OK as long as you catch it out of cold water. In Northern Ontario I don’t think there’s ever much chance to prove otherwise. I’ve always considered it to be more a mental thing, but I could be wrong.

 

Bass is actually what got me wondering about this whole thing. There seem to be some people dead set against eating bass. Are bass out of some lakes poor eating? I’ve never run across it but I’m prepared to be enlightened.

 

The salmonids – various trout and salmon and char – have more of a “fish” taste than fish with light-coloured flesh. Specks are wonderful, at least the size I usually catch out of creeks (8 – 12”). Salmon are great. Lake trout I find generally taste too strong to be as enjoyable as other fish.

 

Catfish and ling, I've eaten some very tasty ones. Drum recently too.

 

Anyway, just a few thoughts.

Edited by Jocko

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You're pretty close with your diagnosis of fish tasting..well.. fishy. I've always found fish from cold clear water have less of a pronounced taste, as the water warms, some species have more of that taste. Most panfish are very mild, walleye, rarely ever a bad taste, pike, for me, best left for winter fishing. Nothing wrong at all with bass, just make sure to clean them quick and get them into the cooler or fridge and eat them fresh. Salmon, trout, whitefish and any others that have the dark coloured lateral line under the skin must have that removed during filleting otherwise it will taste like rancid codliver oil..real bad. On lakers, don't forget to scrape out the body cavity with a spatula, and along the upper edge of the back, you'll be surprised how much fat there is. Mmmm..deep fried bass, a squirt of lemon & some home fries.

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With some species, water condition affects flavour. There is a big difference between cold water and warm water cats. I won't eat Niagara cats once the waters warm. Muddy taste from warm muddy waters. Warm water bass are not the same in taste as those up North, but not as pronounced.

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I think we were cleaning our lake trout properly. We always left a thin layer of meat on the fillet skins and we did not take belly meat. Still they had a strong taste.

 

We never kept a whole fish - we always filleted them.

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I don't keep alot of fish, but, here's my experiences.

Great Lakes Salmon and Steelhead, a bit of a muddy taste.

Largemouth bass, grassy taste.

Smallmouth bass and perch fairly mild and not bad.

Pike, excellent.

Sucker, very mild and neutral taste.

Walleye and whitefish good.

I believe it makes a big difference where and when you catch the fish. Like all animals, they are what they eat.

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I dont eat fish much, when i do, its walleye and perch.........no surprise there, they seem to be the most popular eater fish. I Only gather up a meal one week a year however.

 

I have eaten smallmouth, YEARS ago so i dont recall much about it, also have had small stocked trout, and pike on the bar-b-q in years past.........and remember them being a good meal.

 

In general, as said, i think alot of it has to do with water condition, temperature, and fish diet on a particular body of water.

 

I go to Oneida in New York, and theres a guy that has a trailer at the camp i go to , hes there every summer so i chat with him every time im up and usually have a fish fry with him (eyes) and he swears that hes never tasted better walleye from anywhere else hes fished than out of oneida lake lol. Im not buyin it.

 

Taste buds differ though, they are like snowflakes.

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Like all animals, they are what they eat.

 

I believe that to be true. I kept a couple of ling a couple of years ago, caught in a river system. Kept ling before from deep lake trout lakes and no issue, they tasted great. But the two I caught in 6 ft. of water in this river had a definitely muddy taste to them. The tail ends were fine, the main body of them had the muddy taste.

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the lateral line in trout? Fill me in -- did not know to remove anything. I never fish for trout but OFTEN get them at the grocery store......is there something i can do to improve the taste.

 

As for the others....

 

SMB - actually quite good if you clean them quickly (which makes all the difference in the world with bass). Light flesh,a nd almost a nutty flavour

 

pike - my favourite if cleaned well and from deeper water (vs. shallow/weedy/warm)

 

walleye - can't go wrong

 

perch - teh best

 

LMB - won\t touch them

 

Muskies - YUM!!

(kidding)

 

 

btw - something everyone should know...the fat in fish is where the heavy metals are stored....if you want to eat "cleaner" meat, be sure to cut out the belly part (and anywhere else there is a lot of fat)

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Put a platter of pickerel and pike in front of me and I'll take as much pike as I do pickerel. Mix some bass in there and I'll have to pay close attention to tell the difference.

 

Whitefish I've never been able to cotton on to. Any fried whitefish I've tasted has always been too strongly fishy, and I've tried it quite a number of times, done different ways.

 

When I smoked whitefish or canned it in my pressure canner, it was fine --- good eating.

 

Its close look-alike, lake herring, on the other hand, is good from Nipissing. We catch quite a few of them when jigging thru the ice. But some have worms and end up as fertilizer.

 

I wonder where all the guys are from that other thread who were down on eating bass? Maybe they were just bustin' our chops! :D

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I like all fish. They all taste good in thier own way.

 

I have noticed that swampy taste in crappies from certain lakes, when compared to crappies from different lakes. I call it a "bassy" smell :)

 

S.

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I agree that the water conditions definately play a role. I won't say its a big role for all species, but it has an effect. Spring bullheads can't be beat. Summer bullheads taste like mud and the flesh is soft and spongy.

 

I pretty much agree with everything else the others have said so far. I just a great feed of bass (both large and small mouth) last weekend from north of Kingston and they were both great. Can't say as I or anyone else could tell the difference.

 

I've never had the lateral line spoil the meat in Salmonids or whitefish. I always fillet them and freeze them in water. However, I never keep belly meat of any fish and I do usually remove the black part on whitefish. I'm not saying there isn't any truth to what was said just that I never noticed a difference. Of course, I'm not a connoisseur.

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