Can You Eat Mudfish?

You can eat Mudfish, which are entirely edible but not popular. There’s a myth about Mudfish being inedible and dangerous to eat, but that is untrue.

These freshwater fishes are often called “Trash Fish” because fishermen don’t prize them for their low value and have misconceptions about them. This article will break these myths and tell you everything you need to know about Mudfish’s taste and cooking methods.

Despite the fish’s name having the word ‘mud’ in it, they are something we don’t typically associate with food. Mudfish are edible, or you could say there is nothing about them that makes them entirely inedible. You can eat them like any other fish if you cook them right. So, if you’re interested in trying it out, there’s no reason to throw it back in the water after they latch to your bait.

However, it’s not the most popular fish to eat out there, and there’s a good reason for that. There’s a lot of mixed opinions about the taste of the fish. There are also concerns regarding its safety, so you will only sometimes hear about people eating them.

Filleted Mudfish
Filleted Mudfish

Does Mudfish taste good?

Taste is subjective, but you’ll hear more people frown over the taste of Mudfish than otherwise. The taste of Mudfish isn’t up everyone’s lane. This is because of the characteristic muddiness of it. As you’re chewing the flesh, you can smell its distinct muddy flavor, which is not very pleasant to most.

The main reason is the murky environment they live in. The environment of a fish influences their flavor to a great extent. For example, bottom-feeding fishes tend to have a robust muddy taste to them as well.

Another reason behind the unpleasant taste is the natural workings of their digestive system. A mudfish’s digestive system first converts the excretory materials from digestion into urea and uric acid and then releases them. So, the urea gets mixed with the bloodstream instead of the waste products directly coming out of the body.

The taste of Mudfish cannot be called particularly good. It’s somewhat sloppy and has a robust and earthy tone.

What does Mudfish taste like?

The taste of Mudfish is often compared to catfish and salmon but is far from as flavorful. However, if cooked the right way, they can be enjoyed.

It has a lot of similarities with catfish in terms of flavor profile and texture. It’s probably because both are bottom-dwelling fishes and reside in similar environments. However, catfish do not have a muddy taste as strongly as Mudfish do.

How do you prepare Mudfish before cooking?

You can only eat Mudfish by cooking it differently. As a matter of fact, Mudfish are extremely bony, and you have to go through some extra steps to get rid of the muddy taste as much as possible. Here are ways to prepare your Mudfish before cooking it:

    • Bleed the Mudfish: First, you must extract the blood from the Mudfish. Since most of the urea is mixed with the blood, this will help eliminate much of the unpleasant taste. You have to cut off its head and the main artery for this. This will draw out the urea-mixed blood from the veins.

    • Wash with salt water: Salt water will further absorb the earthy smell from the fish. However, please don’t leave it in salt water for too long. Otherwise, the flesh might become too soft and gooey.

    • Filet it: Another reason behind the unpopularity of Mudfish is the vast amount of bones in them. So make sure to filet carefully before cooking.

    • Work on the gut: Pay attention to the gut area while fileting. That’s where the muddiness is concentrated. Take out all the belly fat out to get rid of it.


What is the best way to cook Mudfish?

Mudfish can be cooked in a variety of ways. Once you’ve prepared it, no matter how you cook it, it will give you a regular fishy experience.

You can bake or poach it or make a stew out of it, but it’s not recommended to grill or smoke it. Unfortunately, grilling it won’t yield a good result because of its oily and soft flesh.

You can add seasonings of your choice to improve the taste and reduce the murkiness further. Make sure to cook it thoroughly. If it is even slightly undercooked, it might not suit your palate.

Is Mudfish nutritional?

Mudfish may have a bad reputation in the fish community, but that doesn’t mean they don’t come with their nutritional values.

Mudfish is not only wholly edible but also healthy. You can expect to gain considerable protein and minerals if eaten in the right proportion. The fish is also rich in iodine. It’s a great fish to eat to build your muscles.

Is Mudfish safe to eat?

Rather than asking, “Can I eat mudfish?” the better question might be, “Should I eat mudfish?”

 Mudfish are generally safe to eat. Various research has been conducted on the edibility of the fish, and no serious threats have been detected.

However, it’s worth noting that Mudfish can contain levels of mercury. Mudfish from Edisto River and Pike fish from Lake Murray in South Carolina primarily have been found to have mercury levels exceeding the U.S. Food and Drug Administration guideline of 500 ppb.

If you do enjoy Mudfish enough to want to eat a lot of it, don’t. More than one or two servings might throw you at the risk of mercury poisoning, depending on where you live. You would want to investigate the levels through the FDA to see if there have been mercury-related problems in fish.

In conclusion, you can eat Mudfish if you want, but you must know how to prepare them before cooking. Otherwise, you will enjoy it less. Also, make sure to eat only a few servings of it at a time, and you’ll be good to go.

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