By Montana Grant

Posted: February 21, 2021

Fish live in wild waters. Even though the water may look fine, who knows what is coming downstream. Fish can get sick from a variety of cooties. With Sushi becoming a popular way to enjoy fish, here are some things to consider before you eat it raw!

The Broadfish Tapeworm is the most common parasite in freshwater fish. These worms can grow to 30 feet long and an inch wide inside of humans. You can get them from fish when you clean them or eat them raw. Hygiene is important. These parasites live between temperatures of 145 degrees to -4 degrees. Proper cooking or freezing will kill the worms.

Walleye, perch, pike, burbot, and salmonoids can carry the tapeworms. Years ago, I watched a seagull take a crap in Yellowstone lake. When the dump hit the water, a big Cutthroat trout rose an ate it.  Later when we cleaned our catch, a huge worm was found inside the body cavity. You could grab it with the knife tip and extend it out a few inches! Yeech! Birds and small mammals can also pass worms and other parasites along.

On a Spring Crappie and perch run trip, we fileted a stringer full of crappies. As they sat in a tub of rinse water, they suddenly grew hair! It was hundreds of tiny worms emerging from the filets! When cooked, they are consumable but…

Polluted and more urban waters tend to have a higher risk. Sewage treatment plants are not always perfect. Wild critters use wild waters as their toilets too. The Tapeworms sections are easily broken off and drift into the ecosystem.

Cooking is a smart way to consume fish. Consider the Consumption Warnings identified by the local fishery agencies. Wearing rubber gloves helps with any parasite transfer from a fish into an open cut. Avoid splashing and other poor hygiene transfers.

To be safe, assume the fish has parasites.

Montana Grant

For more Montana Grant, find him cleaning and cooking his fish at

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