During my research of pikeminnow fishing, I started to wonder if people eat them and what they taste like.
After discovering that these fish are, indeed, edible, I was curious to find out more details about the dish.
So, I did some more research and put all the facts together about the taste of pikeminnow.
Due to the common beliefs that surround the pikeminnow fish, most people don’t think twice about cooking one and eating it. However, the taste and texture characteristics of these creatures might surprise you.
Keep reading to find out everything you need to know about how pikeminnow taste, you might even decide to try it yourself.
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Table of Contents
What Does Pikeminnow Taste Like?
- Liver taste
- Dark/tender sections of meat
- Takes well to seasoning
Eating Pikeminnow (Complaints):
- Bony fish
- Unpleasant smell and aftertaste
When it comes to eating pikeminnow, there are tons of negative opinions that have been floating around in the fishing community for years.
Universally classified as a “trash fish”, pikeminnow are less than desirable to those who know what they are. Unlike salmon, trout, and bass, finding pikeminnow on the menu anywhere would be a very rare occurrence.
Although there are not many opinions out there about how pikeminnow actually taste because there are very few people that would actually give it a chance, there have been a few opinions and comparisons the have surfaced on the internet.
From the most objective standpoint possible, the taste of pikeminnow has been compared to liver.
Due to the sections of dark and tender meat on the fish, the taste and texture of the two dishes match up closely.
It has also been reported that pikeminnow takes very well to seasoning, and will basically take on any flavor that it is given. Without much of a taste of its own, you will most likely experience the flavor of whatever you’ve seasoned it with.
The first bite of a pikeminnow has a decent flavor, with a slight aftertaste that is less than pleasant.
However, as you continue to eat the dish, you will most likely begin to enjoy it more.
The most direct comparison between pikeminnow and another, more popular, type of fish is catfish.
Pikeminnow definitely has a flavor of its own, but catfish is its most closely related counterpart for the purpose of comparison, when it comes to the taste and flavor.
Additionally, pikeminnow has been reported to have a very unpleasant scent that is unlike the smell of any other fish.
While a slightly fishy smell is expected, the pikeminnow does not possess this. Instead, it has been described as having an unpleasant garbage smell.
The Texture of Pikeminnow
- Similar to cod/whitefish
- Bony (several small and sharp bones)
Similar to cod or any type of whitefish, pikeminnow has a light and fluffy texture, with a similar appearance to these other fish aside from the dark areas of meat throughout it.
Those who are less than fans of the dish would describe it as oily or dry, depending on how it is cooked and prepared.
Just like any other fish, it can be smoked, grilled, fried, or baked before eating. Overall, there have been complaints about the texture of the fish in any circumstance.
Since pikeminnow is an extremely bony fish with several sharp and tiny bones all throughout its body, it can become a nuisance while trying to eat one.
While it is true that every fish has bones, they are much more frequent throughout pikeminnow than any other species.
The process of removing every single bone is a long process, and even then some bones might be left behind.
The bones are almost clear, which makes them hard to distinguish against the fluffy white texture inside of the fish.
With so many people complaining about the taste, texture, and smell of the pikeminnow fish, most would agree that it is not worth the trouble to remove all of those bones. The reward of eating the fish is not as great as the task of preparing it.
However, the taste of pikeminnow will vary from person to person, as everyone’s taste palette is different.
How Pikeminnow is Eaten
How Pikeminnow is eaten:
- Pan Fried
The Pikeminnow fish can be prepared and eaten just like any other type of fish.
Some favorites among those who have tried it are smoked, curried, and fried.
Since Pikeminnow barely has a flavor of its own, it is always a good idea to add as many seasonings as possible to the fish before cooking, no matter how you choose to prepare it.
Additionally, pikeminnow can be baked, curried, and even marinated before cooking.
Smaller Pikeminnow can be placed in a jar and pickled as a quick snack, or canned for preservation.
It has been reported that canned Pikeminnow mixes well with party dips to go on top of crackers. However, you can’t go wrong with the traditional way of cooking it in a skillet with butter. Pikeminnow can be eaten with or without the skin on top.
When preparing a Pikeminnow, some popular recommendations are lemon, thyme, cajun seasoning, or special seafood seasonings such as Old Bay. These recipes are very simple to follow while on a fishing trip, and the fish can be prepared almost anywhere.
To conclude, the pikeminnow fish has a very bad reputation in the world of fishing. Predators to the more desirable fish such as salmon and bass, they are not usually regarded as a delicacy.
In fact, they are actually considered pests in the waters, and fishermen are rewarded for catching and removing them from these areas. Due to these stigmas, most people would never think to even try to eat one of these fish.
Are there any limits when it comes to fishing for pikeminnow?
Unlike many species of fish, there are no regulations and rules regarding how many pikeminnow can be caught and taken home in one day.
In fact, there is a rewards program in place to compensate fishermen for extracting these fish from the water, since they frequently prey on salmon and other more desirable proteins.
What is Pikeminnow Bounty Fishing?
Bounty fishing is a program that rewards people for catching these fish and removing them from the lakes and rivers.
They are considered non-gamefish, meaning that they are not caught for sport, but they do consume other valuable gamefish such as salmon. For one pikeminnow, the average reward can be anywhere from $8 to $10.
How much money can be made with the Pikeminnow Bounty Fishing program?
Although the reward for catching and removing one pikeminnow is an average of $8 to $10, there are some very serious fishermen that do this professionally and actually make a living off of their catches.
The most money that has ever been made through the program was approximately $70,000 for the year.