Eat Wisconsin Fish

Enjoy local fish from a Great Lakes fisherman or Wisconsin fish farm!


Eat Wisconsin Fish Summit a Success!
The Eat Wisconsin Fish Summit, held on January 13, brought together Wisconsin fish producers, chefs and retailers to discuss ways to strengthen our local fish food system. Read more...

Why Eat Fish?

It's a Healthy Choice
Fish is a healthy food choice for people of all ages. It’s rich in vitamin and minerals, and it’s a lower-calorie, lower-fat source of protein compared to meat and poultry.  Since different types of fish offer different nutrients (such as vitamin D, A, C and E, and iodine, calcium, phosphorus and selenium), it’s best to eat a variety of fish to ensure you receive these valuable nutrients as part of your healthy diet.

It's a Great Source of Omega-3
Fish is the main dietary source of two important omega-3 fatty acids—EPA and DHA—that can help reduce the risk of heart disease in adults and contribute to healthy brain and vision development in infants, among other potential health benefits.  Some local fish contain levels of healthy omega-3 fatty acids equal to or nearly equal to levels in salmon.

Why Buy Local?

Support Your Local Economy
In 2011, more than 90% of the seafood eaten by Americans was imported from other countries. By purchasing fish from Wisconsin fish farmers and Great Lakes commercial fishers, you’re keeping your food dollars close to home and supporting local family businesses.

Support Sustainability
Fewer fossil fuels are used to bring local fish to your table. Also, unlike many international seafood producers, Wisconsin fish farmers and Great Lakes commercial fishermen are strictly regulated by federal and state laws that protect fish populations, human health and the environment.

Where to Buy Wisconsin Fish
View a map of Wisconsin businesses that supply local Wisconsin fish. Read more...

Great Lakes Fish

Commercial fishing on the Great Lakes began in the 1820s and continues today. Overfishing was a major concern a hundred years ago and, together with industrial pollution, habitat destruction and the arrival of invasive species, it almost wiped out several important species, such as lake trout and yellow perch. As a result, today’s Great Lakes food web is very different from previous versions, and much research goes into determining which fish and how many of them can be harvested from the lakes. Read more...

Most commercial fishers will readily agree that burbot is a little-known delicacy. Its firm, white flesh resembles that of cod and haddock, which should be no surprise since it is a member of the freshwater cod family. Read more...

Bloater chubs have the highest amount of omega-3 fatty acids (EPA and DHA) of the Great Lakes commercial fish species—more than sockeye salmon. They are very oily, and they make a wonderful smoked fish. Read more...

Lake Herring (Cisco)
Ciscoes have roughly the same amount of omega-3 fatty acids (EPA and DHA) as sockeye salmon. They can be used fresh, smoked and frozen; they can be steamed, fried, broiled and baked. Making ciscoes into fish cakes is a North Shore Scandinavian tradition. Read more...

Lake Trout
Lake trout have roughly the same amount of omega-3 fatty acids (EPA and DHA) as sockeye salmon. The flesh of lake trout is firm, rich in flavor and white to red (often orange) in color. It is oily and is often enjoyed smoked. Read more...

Lake Whitefish
Lake whitefish is considered to have the finest flavor of any of Wisconsin’s commercial fishes, and it contains higher omega-3 fatty acid (EPA and DHA) levels than Atlantic cod. Read more...

Smelt are oily, and their flesh has a soft texture. Their odor is like freshly cut cucumber. Lake smelt are considered less oily than saltwater smelt. Most smelt are headed and gutted, but people eat them with the bones intact. Read more...

The flesh of walleye is firm, white, fairly dry and virtually free of bones. Read more...

Yellow Perch
Yellow perch, also known as lake perch, has a mild, sweet flavor with firm, flaky white flesh. It has slightly more omega-3 fatty acids (EPA and DHA) than Atlantic cod. Read more...

Farm-Raised Fish

Approximately half the seafood eaten worldwide—including in the United States—is farm-raised. Because harvest from many wild fisheries has peaked globally, aquaculture is widely recognized as an effective way to meet the seafood demands of a growing population. As a result, aquaculture is the fastest growing form of food production in the world. Read more...

Arctic Char
Arctic char has roughly the same amount of omega-3 fatty acids (EPA and DHA) as sockeye salmon. The taste of Arctic char falls somewhere between salmon and trout. Read more...

Atlantic Salmon
Salmon is the second most-popular fish eaten in the United States. It tastes savory and earthy, yet slightly sweet, and is among the richest sources of omega-3 fatty acids. It is also full of high-quality protein, vitamins and minerals. Read more...

Pacific White Shrimp

Many chefs prefer white shrimp because they have a clean, sweet taste with a classic shrimp flavor and firm texture. They are bluish-gray or greenish-gray when raw but turn pink when cooked. While all shrimp have more cholesterol than other types of seafood, they are lower in total and saturated fat than most meat and poultry.


Rainbow Trout
The flesh of the rainbow trout is white, pink or orange in the raw state and lightens when cooked. It is a mild flavored fish with delicate small flakes and a nut-like flavor. Read more...

Tilapia are flaky and mild-tasting. They are lean fish that have lower levels of omega-3 fatty acids than fattier fish species. Read more...

Yellow Perch
Yellow perch, also known as lake perch, has a mild, sweet flavor with firm, flaky white flesh. It has slightly more omega-3 fatty acids (EPA and DHA) than Atlantic cod. Read more...

Home Preservation of Fish

Home Canning
Canning is widely used commercially for preserving fish and other seafoods. Canned salmon, tuna, mackerel, sardines, crab, clams and oysters can be found in almost every grocery store. Fish can also be safely canned at home if proper processing procedures are used.  Download the PDF

Home Freezing
Freezing is the method most people choose for preserving fresh fish and other seafood products. However, this preservation technique is effective only if the product is handled in such a way that its quality is kept near peak freshness.  Download the PDF

Home Pickling
As applied to fish, pickling generally means a fish product that has been processed with vinegar as an ingredient in the curing process. If this is the first time you have tried pickling at home, you will be pleasantly surprised at how easy it is— and what a delight a freshly pickled fish is to eat.  Download the PDF

Home Smoking
Historians say that as far back as the Stone Age, people were using heat and smoke—smoking—as a means of preserving fish and other flesh foods. The technique apparently evolved as Stone Age people began to use fire instead of the sun to dry fish for long-term storage.  Download the PDF


Planking Your Fish
Grilling fish on wood boards produces subtle, smoky flavors. Check out pages 7 & 8 for tips on how to grill using a wood plank. Remember to soak your plank in water for at least 2 hours before placing on the grill, and be sure to have a spray bottle nearby for flare-ups.

Fish isn't just for frying! The wide variety of fish available locally in Wisconsin can be served many delicious ways. Read more...