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From Stream to Plate: What Does Walleye Taste Like?

Walleye is a freshwater fish that is native to North America.

They are popular in the Great Lakes region and can also be found in other lakes across Canada and United States.

Walleyes are closely related to perch and pike. They can grow up to 30 inches long and weigh over 20 pounds.

If you are not familiar with walleye, you might be wondering what does walleye taste like?

What is Walleye Fish?

what is walleye

Walleye fish is a freshwater perciform fish of the pike family. It is found in North America, primarily in Canada and the northern contiguous United States.

The walleye is a popular game fish for anglers, who often catch the fish using small jigs or flies.

Walleye are usually found in warmer water than their cousins, the pickerels.

The name “walleye” comes from its large eye that resembles a human’s eye when seen through binoculars (think of it as an all-seeing little peeper).

The fish has a white, yellow, or olive green background color with many large dark spots outlined in light.

Walleye was the second most popular freshwater fish caught by American anglers, according to “The North American Sport Fish Survey.”

Only bass is more heavily fished than walleye. Walleyes’ favorite foods are smaller baitfish like minnows and shiners. They also dine on crayfish, frogs, small mammals, waterbirds, and their eggs.

Their strangely shaped mouths allow them to feed both at the surface and beneath it.

Walleyes are a trendy sport and commercial fish because they’re easy to catch, abundant in the Midwest region of North America, have great flavor when cooked fresh or smoked, and can be stocked with ease into lakes.

Health Benefits of Eating Walleye

A lot of people prefer salmon, tuna, and trout as their favorite fish. 

But what about walleye? It has been reported to have more omega-fatty acids than salmon or sardines.

It’s low in calories and high in protein and fat. It’s also a great source of vitamins like Vitamin B-12, A, and E, as well as selenium, an antioxidant that boosts immunity to heart disease and cancer.

Walleye usually live near shorelines, so they are not exposed to the same level of pollution found in open waters or deepwater habitats where larger fish species reside.

The vitamin D and selenium in walleye can lessen the effects of mercury poisoning.

What Does Walleye Taste Like? Does Walleye Taste Good?

what does walleye taste like

Many anglers love walleye but don’t know what to expect when they catch them.

Walleye are usually seen in cooler water at night because they feed heavily during this time of day or season when they spawn.

Walleye is a fish with an interesting flavor. When cooked, it can be delightful and delicate; but depending on where you find the walleye in North America, its taste may vary to include different spices or seasonings. It also features a firm and flaky texture that you’ll love.

The flesh color can also range from “pink to dark red,” depending on the fish’s diet.

Once cooked, the walleye’s flesh becomes “white to off-white.” You can serve it with a wide variety of sauces or use it in fish tacos.

What Other Fish Taste like Walleye?

If you’ve never tasted walleye before, you might find it challenging to understand the hype surrounding this dish.

It’s known for having a firm flesh texture reminiscent of salmon and its delicate flavor profile when appropriately prepared.

If you’re a fan of walleye and want to try other types, we recommend trying perch or grouper.

They have the same firm texture as well being known for delicate flavors when cooked correctly.

Cod is another fish that can be substituted for walleye, while pike offers similar flavor characteristics but with a lighter taste than walleye or cod.

The fish that don’t usually have the same flavor profile as walleye include salmon and tuna as they’re more delicate in taste.

How to Clean and Prepare Walleye?

One thing that prevents people from cooking walleye is the time it takes to prepare.

Walleye can be gutted, scaled, and de-headed in just a few minutes with the right tools:

  • A sharp knife or fillet knife
  • Kitchen shears for scales (fish scaler)

There are many ways to clean walleye. Some people like to remove the innards before cooking, while others like to cook them in.

It’s important to bleed the fish before cooking to make sure that the blood doesn’t taint the taste of your walleye.

To do this, take a sharp knife and slit from head to tail on both sides (front and back) until it’s gushing out.

You should remove the scales with kitchen shears for scales (fish scaler).

Once you’ve finished cleaning, rinse off any excess scale residue or leftover guts in cold water, so they don’t cook onto the fish during frying or baking.

Slice into desired thicknesses for dishes like oven fries or pan-fried breaded fillets. Add any herbs of choice before cooking.

Finally, add salt, pepper, thyme, and dill as well to taste. For more flavor, try marinating overnight beforehand too.

How to Cook Walleye?

how to cook walleye

It is not easy for a beginner to cook the walleye and get an excellent result.

If you don’t know how to cook it, your meal will be tasteless or even inedible.

The most common ways anglers cook walleye are frying, baking, and grilling.

Frying is the most popular cooking technique among anglers because it tastes good with a crispy crust around the fish while still keeping moisture in the flesh.

It requires less oil than pan-frying or deep-frying as well, so you can cook more pieces of food at once without having to worry about them sticking together or breaking apart from each other.

Many anglers also use baking walleye because it gives the fish a crispy texture on top and even white coloration. A lot of people also bake walleye with breadcrumbs to give it extra flavor.

Grilling is also a prevalent way to cook walleye due to its simplicity in preparation.

The hot coals will make your food taste better and with less effort than boiling or steaming would take you just like baking does, which means more time for relaxation while grilling.

If you’re looking for a healthier alternative, try preparing them as though they were stir-fried.

If you want to make oven fries out of your walleyes, then you should slice them into thin pieces before covering them with breadcrumbs mixed with any herbs and spices that are right up your alley.

Put these onto two baking sheets, put one tray at 350°F while leaving the other temperature at 400°F degrees Fahrenheit so they can crisp up nicely without burning away from too much heat.

After five minutes, take both trays out, flip the fries on each tray, and then cook them for another five minutes.

Feel free to serve these with ketchup, tartar sauce, or any other dipping sauces that you enjoy.


To sum up, walleye is a white, flaky fish that has an excellent taste. It is a high-quality protein that will make any dish taste amazing.

If you are looking for a new fish to try, we recommend you give walleye a chance.

If you have any other questions about walleye or anything else on our blog, we would love to hear from you below.

what does walleye taste like

What Does Walleye Taste Like? Does Walleye Taste Good?

5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Course Food Taste
Servings 1 Serving


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