Can You Eat Muskie?

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Hey there my fellow fishing enthusiasts and welcome to my post covering an often asked question when it comes to Muskellunge fishing… can you eat Muskie? Now, the short answer is absolutely, if fact, it is actually a nice tasting table fish if skinned and prepared correctly.

It is however not as common to keep them for the table as many of the saltwater species we see in most restaurants so let’s check out the ins and outs of the consumption of this species below…

What are Muskie?


can you eat Muskie - muskie in water

So, before we start, let’s just quickly recap what we are talking about here.

Muskellunge  – usually referred to as Muskies – are an aggressive, carnivorous freshwater gamefish found in lakes and river systems from northern Michigan, northern Wisconsin, and northern Minnesota through the Great Lakes region, Chautauqua Lake in western New York, north into Canada.

Also referred to as Musky, Lunge, Maskinonge or Ugly Pike (they are a member of the Pike family), they live predominately in shallow, slow moving lakes and rivers where there is generally a lot of structure such as weed (they love weed) and fallen logs etc.

The have long, torpedo shaped bodies that are most often light silver, brown or green with dark vertical stripes or spots on the flanks with a white belly. They have flat snouts that are almost alligator like in appearance which are filled with razor sharp teeth as well.

Can you eat Muskie?

Although not as common as many saltwater species, Muskie can definitely be eaten with a flaky texture and sweet taste. As with most fish caught in fresh water however, the quality of its flesh can be reduced dramatically if they are caught in muddy or stagnant water or not consumed immediately after catching.

Are they any good?

Look, as above, the smell and feel of these species can be a real turn off when caught leading to many chasing them purely for their size as a sports fish. If however you can get past that they have a white or pinkish flesh (depending on location) that is sweet to taste.

Some fish eating connoisseurs even describe them as a little bland making them popular with those that don’t enjoy ‘fishy’ tasting fish.

As with most freshwater species however they will take on many of the characteristics of their environment such as:

  • They will take on the flavor of their surroundings – so avoid eating if they are caught in murky, stagnant or dirty water.
  • The older varieties tend to taste a lot stronger or ‘fishier’ so if you are planning to keep one for dinner, it doesn’t necessarily have to be the biggest one you catch. Watch out for mercury here as well.
  • Larger varieties are also more susceptible to worms, parasites and increased absorbsion of waterway contaminants.

In most cases, as long as the water is clean and you are within your slot limit, then you are generally ok.


As a rule of thumb, most white meated fish do not need to be bled upon capture – however if you wanted to keep a larger catch, then it might be worthwhile giving it a quick cut and then place them on ice as soon as possible after it is landed. Many use an ice slurry in a cooler which is generally a ratio of 2 parts ice to 1 part water for this purpose.

Due to their eating habits, freshwater fish must be thoroughly cleaned and rinsed prior to consumption. And in the case of Musky – they will need to be skinned too. Keep the meat refrigerated or on ice at all times before and after preparation.

From here, preparation will be determined by your planned consumption. If you plan to pan fry, then you can scale or skin the fillet or if deep frying, you can chop into smaller pieces and cover in breadcrumbs etc.

can you eat Muskie - muskie on bench

Can you freeze uncooked fillets?

Yes – Raw Muskie can be frozen for up to 5 months. It must at the very least be gutted and cleaned and placed in an airtight bag (ziplock bags are good here) and covered in water prior to being placed in the freezer.

Note: I have read in a few places however that the flesh is not as ‘fresh’ as other species when thawed again.

Can they be eaten raw?

No – This is not a good species for the sushi or sashimi wheel.

How to cook Muskie

At the end of the day, due to its whitish flesh, Muskie can be prepared in the same manner as most other fish varieties of this type (such as Largemouth Bass for example) in that they can be:


Muskie fillets can be cooked over charcoal or gas grills with any and all spices and seasonings as you see fit. Below is a common recipe:

  1. Heat a grill hot but not smoking.
  2. Pat fillets dry then spread butter or oil over both sides of the fillet along with salt and pepper.
  3. Grill fillets until just cooked (fillets start to flake) – Do not overcook as the meat will go dry.
  4. Consume with salad or grilled vegetables.

You can of course use any other herbs or spices on the flesh to taste.

Pan Fried

As above, but in a pan – I like to add garlic to the butter when I pan fry white fish fillets with the salt and pepper as well. I have seen many Pike recipes with Asian or Mexican spices used too (they make great fish tacos) so that is also worth a try. Of course, they can also be crumbed as well which entails:

  1. Gather three bowls and in the first, place some flour, eggs (beaten) in the second and breadcrumbs in the third.
  2. Pat dry each fillet (skin on or off to preference) and then cover in flour.
  3. Sink the flour covered fillets into the egg mixture and then cover in breadcrumbs
  4. Shallow fry in the oil of your choice in a pan large enough to hold the full size of the fillet.
  5. Spritz with lemon juice and consume with fries (chips), salad or whatever else takes your fancy.

Note: For extra flavor, add salt and pepper – or any of the spices above – to the flour or even some grated Parmesan cheese to the breadcrumbs. I have even seen some good recipes using BBQ rubs on the fillets as well.

Fish cakes

A common recipe for most freshwater fish, here is a basic recipe for fish cakes using Muskie:

  1. Fillet and skin then cut the fillets into small chunks – roughly 1inch cubes or slices (you can even blitz in a food processor if you prefer).
  2. Boil and mash 5 medium potatoes.
  3. Mix potato and fish chunks with diced onion and season/spice to personal preference (I mean you can put anything in the herb or spice line here – salt and pepper at the very least).
  4. Pan fry until golden and enjoy with a salad or even as a burger.

Other options

In mt research I also found a couple of other popular options such as:

  • Pickled – this is popular in easter European countries
  • Baked whole in the oven – lemon and spices is a good addition here
  • Fish curry – a very good fish for a curry – as long as it is fresh
Can you eat northern pike - whole northern pike


And there you go – my response to the question of whether you can eat Muskie. I hope it has been helpful and as usual, please let me know of your experiences – or recipes – would love to see your recipes below too.

Also, please do not hesitate to comment below if you have any questions, concerns, corrections, or would like me to check anything else out for you.

Until next time

Have fun

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Hi, I'm Paul

I am a passionate fishing, camping and four wheeled driving hobbyist who researches, tests and educates around issues and equipment relevant to them.

I am by no means a professional however my passion is to assist you in making informed decisions about buying and using awesome gear that will give you the best chance of success at whatever you are doing for the best price.

Please get in touch if you have any questions.