The best freshwater fish to eat in Texas are plentiful in most parts of the state and are free to anglers everywhere. Technically, a fishing license is required. However, after that, you get to go shopping in lakes, rivers, and ponds for free! Look at it this way, you are buying an exclusive membership to the freshest fish market club around. These are the top 5 freshwater fish to eat in Texas.
#1 Best Freshwater Fish to Eat in Texas is the Crappie
The best freshwater fish to catch and eat in Texas for me is hands down crappie. I remember the first time we caught these amazing eating fish. We found a creek south of Abilene, Texas loaded with them on a channel bend. We took the fillets, sprinkled them with salt, pepper, and garlic. Wrapped it in foil with a slap of butter and some veggies and threw it on the grill. You talk about melt in your mouth!
Don’t get me wrong, fried is delicious but since we are talking about healthy choices today, man, the memory of the fantabulous dinner will bring me joy if I’m hungry on my deathbed.
These little guys are delicious. They might be number one if not for the little part. It just takes so many to make a meal and cleaning can be somewhat challenging if you are feeding the kids. Again, for healthy meals, it’s tough to beat them on a grill or in the oven wrapped in foil with your favorite fish seasoning and veggies.
While I haven’t tried it yet, I have heard mixed reviews on the air fryer. It is definitely healthier than frying in vegetable oil but since I have not tried it myself I can’t make promises about the right recipe. This means an update is coming soon.
#3 Rainbow Trout
Trout is my favorite eating fish of all time. I remember my first tastes coming in Colorado while camping or climbing mountains. There is nothing…nothing…like climbing or hiking all day and then sitting at the campfire and eating fresh brook trout or rainbow trout. However, this is Texas so they aren’t quite as high on my list for the Lone Star State.
Rainbows are part of a stocking program by Texas Parks and Wildlife in some riverways and ponds. I actually eat trout more than other fish on this list in Texas because, in most locations, they will die when the weather begins to heat up. As one who is usually a catch and release fisherman, this gives me a good reason to harvest.
#4 Channel Catfish
Are catfish healthy to eat? You bet they are. The FDA ranks catfish as one of the healthiest fish to eat because of their low levels of mercury. While some species are susceptible to high levels catfish are not. Although fried catfish is a staple of the south, we highly recommend the healthy alternative of baked catfish.
Add lemons and some herbs, you have a recipe for yummy that your cardiologist would approve of. If they don’t, fire them!
#5 Multiple Sunfish Species (from Clean Water)
Sunfish are simply delicious. We include these a little separate from bluegill because gillies keep their flavor fairly well regardless of water clarity. Many sunfish species do not delight the palate when caught in turbid waters. For that reason, look for clear waters when seeking table fair in most sunfish species. This includes green sunfish, redbreast sunfish, longear sunfish, redear sunfish, and warmouth. Once again these little guys must be plentiful to feed a family but for camping or a quiet meal for two, they are delicious.
We recommend the same foil and/or air frying for the best healthy cooking of sunfish species.
The Best Freshwater Fish to Eat — One Last Cast
My recipe changes every time I cook. However, I stumbled across this fish recipe online and when someone does it right, don’t reinvent the wheel. This article is adaptable to each family’s preference and does a great job of sharing some of my favorite experiments in a way that is replicable:
So there you have it. Our favorite catch and cook options and healthy choices to boot. Let us know your favorite freshwater fish and how you fix them up healthy. We hope to explore some saltwater options soon but for now, tight lines and fin times. We would love to see you out on the water, or maybe with a grill at the campfire, searching for thePerfectCombo!