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Eating Smallmouth First Time In 15 Years...


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Had a group of 5 to feed so I kept a couple SMB, around 15-16," for the heck of it. Also had the usual 2-3 rock bass and yellow perch. Cleaned and chilled the fillets then panfried them in butter with a flour/egg-milk/breadcrumbs coating. Made sure nothing was under/overcooked.

The rock bass and perch fillets were excellent, as usual. But the smallies... really unimpressive! :tard: Firm, and yet a little mushy, not really flaky like the smaller fish, and had a bit of a meaty flavor, definitely moreso around the lateral line. Kind of reminded me of frozen tilapia. I found myself washing it down with beer. Everyone devoured the panfish.

Anyway I'm back to catch and releasing SMB again. Anyone actually like to eat bass?

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Me and my dad enjoy eating SMB. We catch with intention of eating on occasion. We fillet them and we leave the skin on. We throw the skin side on the grill and season the flesh side with lemon and pepper. It actually tastes pretty good. 

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Smallies have to be 18" to keep everywhere I fish for them, not a chance I'm keeping a smallie that big to eat. I've heard they're better than largemouth though, not that that's saying much though. 

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IMHO, smallmouth are garbage as far as eating goes. I kept a limit of 12" ers about two years ago in the fall, after the water cooled down, and compared to largemouth, of the same size, out of the same body of water, at the same time of year, the smallmouth were terrible.

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Up here in Minnesota, we have a huge lake (128k acres) known as a walleye factory - Mille Lacs.  Due to many OTHER factors, the lake's walleye population has gone down considerably in the past couple years.  However they are looking for a scapegoat and taking it out on the smallmouth population.  The lake also became a trophy smallmouth lake in the past decade with the average fish close to 18 inches, and many 20++ fish swimming around.  So, the walleye avid here decided that the reason the population was down was because the smallmouth were eating all the walleye fry.  

 

The walleye anglers influenced the DNR here to reduce the smallmouth population by opening up the limit of smallies to 6 per day.  All the launch boats are taking out big groups to catch the smallmouth now, walleye fishermen catch smallies and keep them only to throw in dumpsters, etc.  

 

Bottom line, all these smallmouth being kept are being opened up and they are not finding any walleye fry in their bellies - basically just crayfish.  But they are harvesting them in record numbers anyway.  All the resorts and walleye fishermen are having smallmouth fish frys, serving at restaurants, etc.  And the word is - they don't taste good...but lets get rid of them anyway.

 

Lots of controversy and tension up here on the walleye vs. smallmouth thing.  Walleye is king here despite a lake the might have had the next state or world record bronzeback.  But to address the OP, there has been widespread harvesting of smallmouth in clean, clear northern waters, with smallmouth of all sizes - 12 to 22 inches... prepared a number of different ways... and no they aren't a good tasting fish.  You have to wash them down with a lot of cold beer.  Better to stick to eating crappies, perch and walleyes (where available).  

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Up here in Minnesota, we have a huge lake (128k acres) known as a walleye factory - Mille Lacs.  Due to many OTHER factors, the lake's walleye population has gone down considerably in the past couple years.  However they are looking for a scapegoat and taking it out on the smallmouth population.  The lake also became a trophy smallmouth lake in the past decade with the average fish close to 18 inches, and many 20++ fish swimming around.  So, the walleye avid here decided that the reason the population was down was because the smallmouth were eating all the walleye fry.  

 

The walleye anglers influenced the DNR here to reduce the smallmouth population by opening up the limit of smallies to 6 per day.  All the launch boats are taking out big groups to catch the smallmouth now, walleye fishermen catch smallies and keep them only to throw in dumpsters, etc.  

 

Bottom line, all these smallmouth being kept are being opened up and they are not finding any walleye fry in their bellies - basically just crayfish.  But they are harvesting them in record numbers anyway.  All the resorts and walleye fishermen are having smallmouth fish frys, serving at restaurants, etc.  And the word is - they don't taste good...but lets get rid of them anyway.

 

Lots of controversy and tension up here on the walleye vs. smallmouth thing.  Walleye is king here despite a lake the might have had the next state or world record bronzeback.  But to address the OP, there has been widespread harvesting of smallmouth in clean, clear northern waters, with smallmouth of all sizes - 12 to 22 inches... prepared a number of different ways... and no they aren't a good tasting fish.  You have to wash them down with a lot of cold beer.  Better to stick to eating crappies, perch and walleyes (where available).  

 

I find this very interesting as around here it is always the Muskie being blamed for the decreasing Walleye numbers.  Forget the fact that guys keep walleye like there is an endless supply, no, it's the Muskie's (in your case, Smallmouth) eating them all.  How dumb can people be?

 

As to the OP question, no, I have never eaten a Smallmouth and I can't envision a situation that I ever would (unless my family was starving and for some reason the Smallmouth Bass was the only fish available to catch.  Heck, in that situation, I would probably eat a Musky as well, but I pray I am never in that situation).

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I find this very interesting as around here it is always the Muskie being blamed for the decreasing Walleye numbers.  Forget the fact that guys keep walleye like there is an endless supply, no, it's the Muskie's (in your case, Smallmouth) eating them all.  How dumb can people be?

 

As to the OP question, no, I have never eaten a Smallmouth and I can't envision a situation that I ever would (unless my family was starving and for some reason the Smallmouth Bass was the only fish available to catch.  Heck, in that situation, I would probably eat a Musky as well, but I pray I am never in that situation).

 

 

Muskys have no taste at all. They prefer smallies to walleye & we all know that is backward. I have never tasted smallmouth so I can't offer an opinion but I did eat a lake St Clair musky back in the early 70's and it was not very good. In my defense back then muskys were not protected by catch & release policys like they are today.

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I think the under-eaten fish are the small northern pike.  If you learn how to remove the Y bones, the meat is on par (some think even better) than walleye.  Less small pike in the 2-4 pound range is usually a good thing in most lakes up here.  Hard to imagine those that throw the 3 pound pike back and keep the 4 pound smallmouth to eat but some actually do and think its a good thing!  

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I think the under-eaten fish are the small northern pike.  If you learn how to remove the Y bones, the meat is on par (some think even better) than walleye.  Less small pike in the 2-4 pound range is usually a good thing in most lakes up here.  

 

+1

 

I rank northerns up there with walleye, though I rarely take home fish (other than some crappies now and then and panfish during ice fishing season).  I have a couple of fishing buddies who prefer northerns to walleyes for eating.  

 

I don't know anyone who likes to eat smallmouths or largemouths....

 

Tight lines,

Bob

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In my eating experience, Smallmouth in the 12-14 inch range are pretty much indistinguishable from walleye.  I have had fish fries in which I swore the smallies tasted better, in fact.  On the other hand, once I tried to eat a 3+ lb smallie.  That was an adventure in nasty.  But who would want to eat a large walleye, or a large anything for that matter?  

 

I think bass get a bad reputation for taste because of their weedier, muddier habitats; this is especially true for largemouth.  But in my experience, small-sized, open-water smallies are among the best freshwater fish to eat.  

 

Some of the glacial lakes of South Dakota are way overpopulated with stunted smallies.  And I am more than happy to help these lakes out by eating some of the little guys.  Our DNR wisely put in a 14-18 inch restriction on bass, which is pretty awesome way to go in my opinion.    

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I find this very interesting as around here it is always the Muskie being blamed for the decreasing Walleye numbers.  Forget the fact that guys keep walleye like there is an endless supply, no, it's the Muskie's (in your case, Smallmouth) eating them all.  How dumb can people be?

 

 

That statement is true of many salt species in my area.

 

I don`t eat lmb or smb,but given a must do ,lmb would be my choice.I think the water quality has lots to do with taste.

 

C22

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I have eaten green bass, but I will never keep a smallie. They take so long to attain trophy size and where I fish for them, the big ones are not common. Keep crappie, bluegill and goggle eyes all you want, put the smallies back.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Water quality is exceptional on the lake I took the smallmouth from. I think they were just big crusty old bass. Maybe more like 18+ inches now that I look back and probably way over 10+ years old. I never really measured them but they were good size. I did throw back a 20" from that day and am glad I did.

Anyways... I've learned- stick to small fish now. Perch, rock bass and pumpkinseed.. And even with those.... may want to toss back the big ones. This big pumpkinseed (below) for example. On the plate was not terrible, but definitely not as good as the perch or an average size rock bass. Smaller fish are just tastier I guess.

lwr6f.jpg

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I cant believe this! With all the pike and panfish to catch. Eating bass! Well if the idiot force called the"dnr" would know how to manage a precious resource like mille lacs they would'nt be in this quandry they are in. whats going to happen in 5 or 10 years when theres zillions of peanut smallies in that lake and the anglers are griping "what happened to the smallies" well where will you point your fingie. Junebugman p.s. i'm ashamed of people who destroy one resource for the greed of another nuff'said

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