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Help! Spotted flesh

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Hello everyone,

So I was casting off the dock fishing for muskie when I landed a 4lbs smallmouth---not too difficult when using 20lbs test line and a huge Rapala.

Anyways, I cleaned and skinned the fish and then I noticed that the meat was full of small black spots, not just near the skin but throughout the meat.

What am I to make of this? I'm not a Bass expert, I'm more of a walleye/pike/muskie fisherman. Bass was introduced to the lake recently but this is the first one I've caught....the small ones don't usually go for my lures.

Is it safe to eat?

The fish is in the fidge. I decided to be safe and learn a bit more before feeding it to the family.

Thanks for the help!

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Never ate smallmouth...

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When I was in Canada this Spring we were at a smallmouth lake. Caught dozens of them, fried up a few batches as well. We had about 5-6 with those black spots in the meat. Reminded me of welding splatter because it wasn't really concentrated anywhere, just scattered throughout the meat. We discarded a couple of the worst ones, ate the rest. It didn't affect the taste of the meat and nobody got sick.

The lake we were on is very clear and very deep. 10'-15' visibility easily. We were also in the only cabin on the lake so there wasn't a lot of pollution sources (other than our outhouse  :o ). The spots had to be caused by something natural, perhaps mineral deposits in the water.

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call your local conservation office...

they will know and if you have an illness they may want a sample

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Most likely "black spot", do a search on it and you'll likely come up with pictures. Looks like coarse pepper. It's a parasite that does not infect humans and is killed when cooked -- safe to eat.

- Ray

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"Black spot"or "tang disease" is on the outside though.  It is a black version of ich.

These spots are in the flesh as opposed to on the exterior and fins.  I've seen this in false albacore but never in freshwater but that may have somthing to do with the fact that I've never kept a fish to eat but even if I did,it wouldn't be a smallie.

Have you seen it in any of the muskie , Pike, Etc?

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Yep, looks like black grub.

Looks like the fish is safe to eat.....but really unappetizing.

I don't know what to do....it's sad to think the rest of the lake may be infected. I'm disappointed.

Thanks for the insight. Funny how I was unable to turn up much with my own searches yesturday but once I knew the name of the disease, google pulled up all sorts of info.

Thanks!

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[smiley=cry.gif  

Right:  they are harmless, and the old guys used to say they'll "cook out."  These li'l bugs are common to virtually all inland lakes throughout the upper Midwest, and elsewhere, too.  You seldom see a bluegill that has none.  Michigan DNR has more good info on them for you.  I tend to discard a filet that is loaded with them, just because it's ugly.  Other than that, no sweat.  They are natural citizens, though the fact that people release snails into our ponds has not helped:  snails are one of the vectors.

Around here, their numbers in fish seem to decrease as summer wanes.  

But there is a really easy solution for bg:  release your bass!  If you've got walleyes, there's no reason to eat a smallmouth (though some lakes produce very tasty ones, I'll admit).  However, black spot should  show up in your walleyes, too.

You may also find a larger, yellow one.  It, too, is judged harmless, but we nip those out.  They are alive; if you look close, you will see them move!  Ooky, ooky.  Ever step on a slug in your bare feet?

Pleasant dreams, fishin' friends.  You don't want to know too much about parasites, especially since they comprise more than half the species on earth.  I figure the little black spot guys to be the seeds of the aliens who walk among us.  Oooky.  

Besides, who isn't a parasite?    :P

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The link Low Budget Hooker provided is a particularly nasty case of black grub. I don't think I've ever seen a case that bad. Not very appetizing.

Fish that I intend on eating, I carefully look over the outside of the fish for problems before commiting the fish. Black spot shows up on the outside of the fish as well, most obviously on the fins and tail. If I see a lot of black spot on the outside, my guess is the inside will have a lot as well and toss it back but even when I can't detect it on the outside, I sometimes still find it on the inside.

- Ray

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