Can You Eat Northern Pikeminnow?

Wonder if you can eat pike?

When the topic of eating Northern Pikeminnow came up in recent conversation, I was surprised to hear that most people have never thought to give it a try.

So, I came up with a quick guide on the best way to eat Northern Pikeminnow, my way!

Can You Eat Northern Pikeminnow?

Similar to almost any other type of fish, Northern Pikeminnow can be baked, smoked, fried, steamed, and just about anything else. The best way to eat Northern Pikeminnow is preparing it while it is fresh, instead of trying to preserve the meat.

Are you still doubting if you can eat pike? Check out this guide on how to cook Pikeminnow.

Have you ever been curious to try Northern Pikeminnow, but you weren’t sure how to prepare it?

With all of the rumors that circle around the pikeminnow implying that it tastes bad or it’s a “trash” fish, it can be hard to find a good recipe online.

Keep reading to find out more about how you can prepare a delicious Northern Pikeminnow.

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How to Eat Northern Pikeminnow

Can You Eat Northern Pikeminnow? Northern Pikeminnow can be cooked and prepared like almost any other type of fish.

The texture of the meat is light and fluffy, similar to whitefish, so you can manipulate it as you please to make it taste good.

Additionally, pikeminnow takes well to seasonings, so whatever you choose to put on the fish will reflect in the flavor.

When eating Northern Pikeminnow, it is important to keep a few things in mind that will ensure that you have the best possible experience.

Take a look at the list down below to find out some helpful tips for eating Northern Pikeminnow, or keep reading for more details.

Tips for eating Northern Pikeminnow:

  • Eat while fresh
  • Do not refrigerate/freeze
  • Beware of bones

Although the Northern Pikeminnow fish is definitely edible, there is only a small window of time that it will stay fresh after catching it.

More specifically, you should always eat your pikeminnow as soon as possible, instead of trying to preserve it. These fish do not do well as leftovers, and whether you refrigerate or freeze them, they will not stay fresh.

Even though many other types of fish and proteins, as well as most foods in general, will last up to half of the year when stored in an air-tight container in the freezer, this does not apply to pikeminnow.

If you are not able to get your fish over a fire within a few hours of catching it, don’t expect it to taste good.

Also, make sure that you eat the entire thing, because you likely will not be able to save it for more than an additional day.

One of the most universal complaints about the Northern Pikeminnow is the fact that the fish is absolutely filled with tiny, sharp bones.

These bones are extremely small and almost opaque in color, which makes them very difficult to see within the white meat of the fish. Because there are so many bones all throughout the fish, you will not have much luck trying to remove all of them before cooking or eating.

While eating pikeminnow, it is best to consider the fish as you would a crab or shrimp.

When you eat other types of seafood like this, you constantly have to crack or remove shells. Although the pikeminnow has many more bones than the average trout, the task of eating it can be done if you’re careful about removing them while eating.

Overall, the bones in a pikeminnow are not the end of the world.

Although many people complain about the taste and texture of these fish, they can be very enjoyable if they are prepared, preserved, and eaten the right way.

Want to catch Northern Pikeminnow? Read about Northern Pikeminnow spawning barriers here.

Best Ways to Prepare Northern Pikeminnow

Some of the best ways to eat pikeminnow are baked, pan-fried, smoked, and steamed. They can also be more heavily breaded and fried in oil instead.

How Northern Pikeminnow Can Be Cooked:

  • Baked
  • Pan-Fried
  • Fried
  • Smoked
  • Steamed

No matter what you decide to season your pikeminnow with, this fish has the potential to be equally as delicious as more traditional types of fish such as trout and cod.

Before you cook your Northern Pikeminnow, you will need to make sure that you properly clean and prepare it for eating.

This will include scaling and skinning the fish, before you proceed to gutting and cleaning it.

The process of cutting a pikeminnow into fillets is a little more complicated than other types of fish. This is due to the fact that the rib bones on these fish are ridiculously strong and sturdy.

Instead of trying to glide your knife toward the bone to fillet the fish traditionally, you will need to adapt to a different way of removing the meat.

This can be done by cutting the meat away from the rib bones, leaving the carcass behind.

How to Eat Northern Pikeminnow While Camping

As mentioned in the previous section, Northern Pikeminnow is best eaten when it is fresh, and there is no better way to do this than to cook the fish right after you catch it.

With a few small, portable supplies that can be taken on a fishing and camping trip in your bag, you can fry up a freshly caught pikeminnow right next to the lake you pulled it out of.

This list will help you get the supplies together for your next fishing trip.


  • Portable Propane Stove
  • Cast Iron Skillet
  • Large Ziplock Bag
  • Paper/plastic plates and silverware
  • Butter
  • Flour
  • Salt and Pepper
  • Other seasonings (optional)
  • Lemon and thyme (optional)

This quick guide will tell you exactly how to pan-fry your fresh pikeminnow right at your campsite. The first thing you will need to do is prepare the fish for cooking by skinning and cleaning it.

When this is done, you will toss it in a mixture of flour, salt, and pepper, as well as any other dry seasonings you will be adding.

All of these ingredients can mix together in a large Ziplock bag.

Next, you will heat up some butter in your cast iron skillet on top of your portable propane stove.

Cook until both sides are crispy and golden, and add lemon, thyme, and any other fresh garnishes as desired.

In conclusion, the Northern Pikeminnow is more than just a target for bounty fishers that are out for a cash voucher.

If given the proper chance, the taste of a deliciously prepared pikeminnow might surprise you!

Related Questions

Where are the best places to fish for Northern Pike?

Northern Pike can be found almost anywhere in Northern Rivers around the world. Specifically in the United States, you can fish for Northern Pike in the states of Maine, New York, New Hampshire, Maryland, West Virginia, Ohio, Michigan, North Dakota, Nebraska, and Kansas, among many other areas.

More specifically, you can look for these fish in slow and shallow areas.

What is the best way to catch pikeminnow?

While fishing for pikeminnow, the best Northern Pikeminnow bait to use is either live bait or some kind of fresh meat. Since pikeminnow are carnivorous fish, they will be interested in worms or chicken liver on your line. It is also a good idea to put a small weight on your fishing line in order to allow the bait to sink down to the same level of your target.

How much can you make from fishing for Northern Pikeminnow?

In the same year, one fisherman made almost $120,000 from just catching Northern Pikeminnow alone in the year 2016. Just one year later, another fisherman caught over $80,000 worth of Pikeminnow in a period of 5 months. With no limit of how many qualifying Pikeminnow can be caught in one day, the earning possibilities are endless.

Bob Hoffmann

The author of this post is Bob Hoffmann. Bob has spend most of his childhood fishing with his father and now share all his knowledge with other anglers. Feel free to leave a comment below.

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