It’s common knowledge that saltwater striped bass is among some of the best fish for eating on the East Coast, but what about freshwater striped bass?
Are they good to eat? Do they have worms? How do you cook them?
This article will tell you everything you need to know about eating stripers caught in freshwater.
Table of Contents
Are Freshwater Striped Bass Good To Eat?
Freshwater stripers are just as good to eat as saltwater ones. The taste of these inland striped bass is similar to that of their saltwater cousins and their meat is of the same high quality as that of ones that live in saltwater.
In fact, most people don’t seem to be able to tell the difference between those caught in freshwater as opposed to saltwater. Freshwater stripers are sure to be good eating.
Striped bass is an anadromous fish meaning that they are born in freshwater but spend most of their adult lives in saltwater and return up rivers in freshwater to spawn.
They can adapt to living in freshwater only though and many inland lakes and fish farms have been stocked with them throughout the united states, like the world-famous Lake Mead.
What Do Freshwater Striped Bass Taste Like?
Freshwater striped bass have a mildly sweet taste with almost no fishy flavor. Some people say that it has a very oily taste, but others say that the natural oil just gives the meat a buttery flavor.
The meat of freshwater striped bass has a clean, white coloration and a terrific firm, flaky texture.
It’s one of a few large freshwater fish with enough of a meaty texture to hold up well when grilled. Add a little lemon to draw out its naturally sweet flavor and you have a delicious meal.
Are Freshwater Striped Bass Safe To Eat?
Freshwater striped bass are safe to eat, but as with most fish, they need to be eaten in moderation.
They are high in mercury and also accumulate polychlorinated biphenyls or PCBs in their meat which cannot be eliminated or reduced during the cooking process.
PCBs are industrial chemicals and compounds that are found in water and accumulate in a fish’s body as they age.
PCBs in large quantities are toxic to humans, so the FDA recommends only eating one serving of striped bass per week.
It is also important to note that the older and larger the fish the more mercury and PCBs its meat will have accumulated. You should only eat small striped bass that are 18-36 inches long to limit exposure.
Are Freshwater Striped Bass Good For You?
Freshwater stripers offer a lot of health benefits. They are high-protein and also offer a good amount of healthy unsaturated fats. They are also an excellent source of omega-3 fatty acids which contribute to both heart and brain health.
Stripers are also a rich source of Vitamin B-12 and iron. They are also packed full of enough selenium to provide 50% of your required daily intake.
If you want to increase your metabolism and energy levels while promoting your heart and brain health, then be sure to add freshwater striped bass to your diet.
How To Prepare Freshwater Striped Bass
One of the best things about striped bass is its ease of preparation. Most anglers simply fillet the bass, by creating a vertical incision just behind the pectoral fin and gill plate, and running the knife down the spine toward the tail.
Then, take you fillet and remove the skin, by turning your knife downward at a 45-degree angle between the meat and skin. Flip the fish over and repeat on the other side.
Stripers do not have a lot of pesky small pin bones like some fish, so take care to fillet, remove the skin/scales, and cut around the rib/belly and you’re good to go!
As with all fish, it’s best to eat stripers while they’re fresh if possible, but they can be frozen for up to 9-12 months if needed (use a vacuum sealer for best results).
How To Freeze Stripers
To freeze stripers, simply wrap the filets well in plastic wrap, and a freezer-safe Ziploc bag with all the air removed. Place the frozen filets in the fridge to thaw the day before you plan to cook them.
How To Cook Freshwater Striped Bass
As previously mentioned, freshwater striped bass is one of the best fish to grill because of the firmness of the meat. It is no surprise then that grilling is the most popular method of cooking freshwater striped bass.
While cooking stripers with lemon will bring out the naturally sweet flavor of the meat, grilling it allows the smokiness of the grill to blend with the sweetness giving it a delectably full but balanced flavor.
The beauty of freshwater stripers is that they are very versatile fish to cook and lend themselves nicely to several different methods of preparation.
Below are some additional ways to prepare freshwater striped bass.
- Pan seared
- Oven roasted
It is also popular to cook freshwater striped bass whole.
When cooked whole the oil from the fish interacts more with the meat bringing out a buttery flavor that doesn’t come through as much with other cooking methods.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can You Eat Freshwater Striped Bass Raw?
You can eat freshwater striped bass raw, although not many people do it. Freshwater stripers have parasites that saltwater stripers don’t have, so eating saltwater striped bass raw is much more popular.
It should be noted, however, that the parasites in freshwater striped bass are not a danger to humans and are okay to eat. They also do not live in the meat of the fish, so it is unlikely that you would consume one.
Whether or not to eat freshwater stripers raw comes down to personal preference and how adventurous of an eater someone is.
Do Freshwater Striped Bass Have Worms?
Freshwater striped bass do not have worms. They do have parasites though. Achtheres or gill maggots are tiny parasites that live inside the mouth and gills of freshwater stripers.
They only live in the mouth and/or gills and never make it into the meat of the fish. The meat will still be fine to eat.
Also, any parasites will be killed during the cooking process, so don’t let the parasites keep you from cooking a freshwater striped bass whole.
Whether you cook it whole, sautée it with a little lemon, or throw it on the grill, freshwater stripers are sure to please almost any palate.
It’s also a great fish to offer people who aren’t too keen on fishy flavors. So, if you’re lucky enough to catch this popular fish, you are definitely in for some good eating!
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