Is It Safe To Eat Lake Erie Walleye? – Ultimate Guide

Is It Safe To Eat Lake Erie Walleye? The answer is yes; Lake Erie walleyes larger than the size of 25 Inches are safe to consume once a month and 12 meals per year. While walleye from Lake Erie, smaller than 25 inches, is safe to be consumed once a week and 52 meals a year.

Most of the people reading this article are fish meat lovers like me. And let me tell you, for an angler, nothing gets your heart pumping more than catching a fresh fish out of water. A cherry on top is getting that fish cooked to eat.

Is It Safe To Eat Lake Erie Walleye

But recently, there has been some news about the contamination of water and different advisories by the authorities about not eating walleye from Lake Erie. Let’s discuss this in detail.

check How To Troll For Walleye.


Why the Food Chain Matters

As we all know, each species in this world depends on other species or organisms for their food. The same is the process for the walleyes. As the pollution in the world is increasing day by day, it’s not only affecting the environment overall but also the water reserves as well. 

The pollutant chemicals cause bioconcentration in the water. Now, there are some algae and fungi beneath the water reserves, which feed on by filtering the water. As a result, these contaminants like PCBs and heavy metals or chemicals become part of them.

Why the Food Chain Matters

Now, move recall when we said all organisms or species depend upon each other for their food source. The small fish species eat these micro herbs, mollusks, algae, etc. Next, these small fish become a source of food for larger fish, and so on.

When walleye eat these small fish, these contaminants become part of their body as well. The reason eating these large fish species is harmful to human health is because they contain all those containment metals and chemicals eaten by those small fish, which are filtered by microorganisms like mollusks.

When you see the advisory of not eating fish from a particular river or lake, this is the reason because the bioconcentration level in such lakes and rivers become so high that it can be a serious threat to human health.

Check Is walleye A Good Fish To Eat?


Why Are Lake Erie Walleyes Safe?

Thankfully, Lake Erie’s walleyes are considered among the safest fish to consume because the lake has become much cleaner in the last several decades. The Ohio EPA even eased advisories on walleye and other Lake Erie fish in 2008

The contamination of water in Lake Erie has been a great concern for the authorities in the past year. Historically, the lake was so polluted that the river feeding the lake caught fire due to the chemicals. But for the past couple of years, the authorities have worked hard to overcome this issue and spent millions to clear the water.

Why Are Lake Erie Walleyes Safe

But still, some continents don’t compose easily, so it may take some time before fish can be entirely safe to eat in large quantities.

Check Best Crankbaits And Jerkbaits For Walleye

The US and Canadian governments signed an agreement in 2018 to work together and decrease the amount of contaminants, especially sulfur, from entering Lake Erie by 40% compared to the level of 2008. 


How often should you eat walleye from Lake Erie?

As mentioned earlier in the intro part, you can eat walleye above 25 inches once a month and 12 times a year. On the other hand, walleyes less than 25 inches can be eaten once a week and 52 times per year. 

The reason behind this classification is that the larger walleye have grown by eating more prey; hence, chances are there that they might contain more contaminants and the opposite in the case of smaller fish. It makes smaller walleye less dangerous to human health.

How often should you eat walleye from Lake Erie

Check How To Catch Walleye?


Why can’t you eat fish in Lake Erie? | Is It Safe To Eat Lake Erie Walleye

It’s not about Why can’t you eat fish in Lake Erie? It is about your health. You can eat fish from Lake Erie, But remember that according to some official sources, normal fish in  Lake Erie have 11 parts per trillion of a toxin called PFAS. Such a high level of PFAS can be dangerous to your health. 

Why can't you eat fish in Lake Erie

You can eat all kinds of fish from lake Erie but keep a balance in the consumption quantity and follow the general guideline on it by the advisory authorities. 

You can check NY health department guidelines on fish consumption from Lake Erie by following the link below.
https://www.health.ny.gov/publications/2792.pdf.


Is Lake Erie still contaminated?

As per the Associate Executive Director of Citizens Campaign for the Environment, Mr Brian Smith, The water of Lake Erie is somehow drinkable, and a significant amount has reduced the proportion of containment and chemicals. But still, there is a lot to do.

This statement clearly reflects that Lake Erie is still contaminated. Still, the proportion of contamination is significantly reduced as compared to the past.

Is Lake Erie still contaminated

Now that I know Lake Erie walleye is safe, how shall I cook it?

When it comes to the taste, there might be a few fish which can beat walleye. Honestly, there are a lot of methods to cook walleye. It all depends on your choice and your taste buds; Pan Fried Walleye, Crispy Baked Walleye, Parmesan-Crusted Walleye, and Pan Seared Walleye (Lemon Pepper) are some famous walleye recipes.


frequently asked question

What do Lake Erie walleye eat?

Lake Erie walleye mostly feed on smaller fish such as gizzard shad, emerald shiners, yellow perch including  insects and crustaceans. 

What is the deepest point of Lake Erie?

The deepest point in Lake Erie is almost 210 feet (64 meters) deep. It is near the eastern end of the lake near Erie, Pennsylvania.

Is Lake Erie walleye high in mercury?

Walleye from Lake Erie have low to moderate levels of mercury, which are generally considered safe for consumption.

Is it safe to eat yellow perch from Lake Erie?

Yellow perch from Lake Erie are considered safe to eat. They are a popular and tasty fish commonly consumed from the lake.

What fish should I eat to avoid mercury?

To minimize mercury intake, it’s advisable to eat fish that are lower in mercury content. Species like salmon, shrimp, catfish, and trout have lower levels of mercury. While the larger predatory fish like shark, swordfish, king mackerel, and tilefish have higher mercury content.

Can you eat drum from Lake Erie?

Drum fish from Lake Erie are safe to eat. They are commonly consumed and are not associated with high levels of contaminants or health risks.

What is the fish virus in Lake Erie?

There have been instances of fish diseases in Lake Erie, but a notable one is Viral Hemorrhagic Septicemia (VHS), a virus that has affected a variety of fish species. However, VHS primarily poses a threat to various species of freshwater fish and is not a risk to humans.

Can you eat lake trout from Lake Erie?

Lake trout from Lake Erie can be consumed, but it’s essential to check and follow local advisories and guidelines.

Can you eat Lake Erie carp?

Eating Lake Erie carp is not recommended due to the potential accumulation of contaminants in their flesh, which might affect their edibility.

What is the best tasting fish in Lake Erie?

The best-tasting fish in Lake Erie is subjective and often depends on personal preferences. Many people enjoy the taste of walleye, yellow perch, and smallmouth bass from Lake Erie due to their mild flavor and tender flesh.


Final Thoughts

Let’s end our discussion: Is It Safe To Eat Lake Erie Walleye? Again, my answer is yes, but I would advise you to take care and follow the guidelines of the health and advisory councils. Even though there is no risk in eating Walleye from Lake Erie, still try to refrain from feeding it to children and pregnant ladies. Have a Healthy Fishing and Eating

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