Fish Consumption Guidelines

Rules to Follow When Fishing to Eat and Fish Consumption Guidelines

Most anglers nowadays go fishing to entertain themselves, to do something while wandering in the midst of a water body. For some, angling is used to escape their reality for a while. 

Fishing has been considered a game or sport nowadays, unlike in the early years where their main goal of fishing was to put food on their table. But there are still anglers who eat their catches nowadays. Freshly caught fish is the best for flavor, and fish can be a healthy food product to eat.

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This article will now discuss the things an angler should do if they intend fishing to eat, along with tips and some recipes! 

Do All 50 States of the USA Have the Same Catching Fish for Eating Rules?

All 50 states of the United States of America have their own fishing rules, although many will appear similar in nature. Sometimes rules when fishing for consumption are different depending on the type of fishing. In this article, we will discuss the standard rules to follow when fishing to eat.

Basic Rules to Follow When Fishing to Eat

  • You have to ensure the requirements needed, such as a fishing license and fishing permit.
  • In some states, fishing in freshwater and saltwater have different rules. Ensure you’re following the one that applies to your chosen fishing spot.
  • You must check what the legal methods of taking fish is.
  • It would be best not to kill or unintentionally injure fish over the daily limit for that specific water species.
  • Ensure that the fish you were eyeing to catch can be caught legally at this time of year.

Table Indicating Commission/Department Providing Permits Or Licenses

The chart below table shows where you can purchase a fishing license and permit. Also, you can access from there the fishing regulations for each state.

States In The USACommission/Department That Provides Permits Or Licenses
AlabamaWildlife Management AreaWildlife & Freshwater Fisheries Regulation Book
AlaskaAlaska Department of Fish and Games
ArizonaArizona Game and Fish Department
ArkansasArkansas Game and Fish Commission
CaliforniaCalifornia Department of Fish and Wildlife
ColoradoColorado Parks and Wildlife Commission
ConnecticutConnecticut Department of Energy & Environmental Protection
DelawareDivision of Fish and Wildlife
FloridaFish and Wildlife Conservation Commission
GeorgiaGeorgia Department of Natural Resources Wildlife Resources Division
HawaiiState Of Hawaii, Division of Forestry and WildlifeOutdoor Recreation
IdahoIdaho Department of Fish and Game Commission
IllinoisIllinois Department of National Resources Division of Fisheries
IndianaIndiana Department of Natural Resources Division of Fish and Wildlife Division
IowaIowa Department of Natural Resources
KansasKansas Fish Department & Tourism
KentuckyKentucky Department of Fish & Department
LouisianaLouisiana Department of Fisheries
MaineDepartment of Inland Fisheries & Wildlife
MarylandMaryland Department of Natural Resources
MassachusettsDivision of Fisheries and Wildlife (MASSWILDLIFE)
MichiganMichigan Department of Natural Resources
MinnesotaMinnesota Department of Natural Resources
MississippiMississippi Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks
MissouriMissouri Department of Conservation
MontanaMontana Fish, Wildlife & Park
NebraskaNebraska Game & Parks Commission
NevadaNevada Department of Wildlife
New HampshireNew Hampshire Fish and Game Department
New JerseyNew Jersey Division of Fish & Wildlife
New MexicoNew Mexico Department of Game & Fish
New YorkNew York Department of Environmental Conservation
North CarolinaNorth Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission
North DakotaNorth Dakota Dame and Fish
OhioOhio Department of Natural Resources
OklahomaOklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation
OregonOregon Department of Fish & Wildlife
PennsylvaniaPennsylvania Game Commission
Rhode IslandRhode Island Department of Environmental Management
South CarolinaSouth Carolina Department of Natural Resources
South DakotaSouth Dakota Game, Fish & Parks
TennesseeTennessee wildlife Resources Agency
TexasTexas Parks & Wildlife
UtahUtah Division of Wildlife Resources
VermontVermont Fish & Wildlife Department
VirginiaVirginia Department of Wildlife and Resources
WashingtonWashington Department of Fish and Wildlife
West VirginiaWest Virginia Department of National Resources
WisconsinWisconsin Department of Natural Resources
WyomingWyoming Game and Fish Commission (Commission

Why not cook your fish on one of these?:

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What Is the Best Fish to Catch and Eat?

Out of the numerous fish to catch and eat, here are some that top our list:


Salmon is one of the most famous water species to catch and eat. This water species can be caught from both freshwater and saltwater. One of the reasons it is famous is that this is a good source of omega-3 fatty acids. The flavor can be fantastic when prepared correctly.


This type of water species is living and can be caught from saltwater. Tuna cannot be found in freshwater. This is a famous fish to catch and eat. Tuna is rich in vitamin D.


Freshwater trout is also a healthy fish to eat. This type of water species is a very popular target for anglers who catch them for pleasure and for the table. Trout are low in calories, high in protein, and taste delicious with a little bit of fresh herb and ground pepper.

Here Are Recipes You Can Try with Salmon, Tuna, and Trout:

Baked Lemon Garlic Salmon Recipe


For Salmon:

  • 2 lb salmon fillet
  • Kosher salt
  • Extra virgin olive oil (I used Early Harvest Greek extra virgin olive oil)
  • ½ lemon, sliced into rounds
  • Parsley for garnish

For Lemon-Garlic Sauce:

  • Zest of 1 large lemon
  • Juice of 2 lemons
  • 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil (I used Early Harvest Greek extra virgin olive oil)
  • Five garlic cloves, chopped
  • 2 tsp dry oregano
  • 1 tsp sweet paprika
  • ½ tsp black pepper


  1. Heat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Make the lemon-garlic sauce. In a small bowl or measuring cup, mix the lemon juice, lemon zest, extra virgin olive oil, garlic, oregano, paprika, and black pepper. Give the sauce a good whisk.
  3. Prepare a sheet pan lined with a large foil piece (should be large enough to fold over salmon). Brush the top of the foil with extra virgin olive oil.
  4. Now, pat salmon dry and season well on both sides with kosher salt. Place it on the foiled sheet pan. Top with lemon garlic sauce (make sure to spread the sauce evenly.)
  5. Fold foil over the salmon (seam-side up). Bake for 15 to 20 minutes until salmon is almost completely cooked through at the thickest part (cooking time will vary based on your fish’s thickness. If your salmon is thinner, check several minutes early to ensure your salmon does not overcook. If your piece is very thick, 1 ½ or more inches, it may take a bit longer.)
  6. Carefully remove from the oven and open the foil to uncover the top of the salmon.  Place under the broiler briefly, about 3 minutes or so. Watch closely as it broils to make sure it doesn’t overcook and the garlic does not burn.)
  7. (Source)

To clean your fish you need a fillet knife:

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Seared Ahi Tuna with Soy Ginger Sauce


  • One tablespoon fresh lime juice
  • Two tablespoons soy sauce
  • Two teaspoons sesame oil
  • One 1-inch piece of fresh ginger, sliced
  • 2 6 ounces each sushi-grade ahi tuna steaks, about 1-inch each
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground pepper
  • One green onion thinly sliced


  1. In a small bowl, whisk together the fresh lime juice, soy sauce, and sesame oil. Pour the mixture into a large resealable plastic bag. Add the ginger slices.
  2. Season the ahi tuna steaks with pepper, transfer to the bag, seal it, and marinate for 15 minutes. Take care not to marinate for any longer. Otherwise, the fish will start to “cook” in the marinade.
  3. Transfer the marinade to a medium glass bowl and microwave for 1 minute.
  4. Heat a nonstick skillet, cast-iron skillet, or grill pan over medium-high heat. Sear the fish until the desired degree of doneness is reached, about 2 minutes per side.
  5. Thinly slice the ahi. Garnish with green onions and serve with the heated marinade.
  6. (Source)

Mediterranean Pan Seared Trout Recipe with Tzatziki


  • 1 ½ tsp ground coriander
  • 1 tsp sweet paprika
  • 1 tsp all-natural garlic powder (or 1 to 2 tsp garlic paste)
  • 1 ½ lb trout fillet (or butterflied trout fillet as in the pictures)
  • Salt and Pepper
  • All-purpose flour for coating (no more than ½ cup)
  • Extra virgin olive oil (I used Private Reserve Greek EVOO)
  • Lime wedges, for serving


  1. Mix the coriander, paprika, and garlic powder in a small mixing bowl.
  2. Pat the trout fillet dry. Sprinkle with salt and black pepper on both sides, then season with the spices on both sides.
  3. Coat the seasoned fish with the flour, shake off any excess flour (you only want a very thin layer).
  4. In a large cast-iron skillet, heat about 3 to 4 tbsp olive oil over medium-high heat until shimmering but not smoking (see note).
  5. Sear the trout fillets for 3 minutes on each side (start with the skin-side down, and use a spatula to carefully flip the fish fillets over).
  6. Remove the fish from the pan and place it on a tray lined with a paper towel to absorb any excess oil.
  7. Transfer to a serving platter and finish with a squeeze of fresh lime juice.
  8. (Source)

What to Do When You Catch a Fish to Eat?

After catching a fish to eat, it would be best to put it in a bucket with ice or a cool box to keep it fresh, especially if you continue to fish. Fish are perishable, and they might spoil immediately if you do not handle them carefully. Some anglers say that after the fish dies, it is recommended to bleed and clean the fish immediately because it can improve the fish’s final meat quality. If it dies before you go home, make sure it is in a cooling box with lots of ice.

How Can You Protect Yourself from Environmental Contamination Found in Fish?

Here Are Steps You Could Follow to Reduce the Health Risks from Contamination Found in Fish:

  • Find the fish consumption advisory published by your state. Advisories can be found on your state’s official website, or they can be posted in fishing areas.
  • Be selective in the kinds and sizes of fish to eat. It would be helpful if you know things about their habitat and what they eat.
  • Ensure to clean your catch correctly before cooking. Proper cleaning and cooking could lessen the levels of some chemicals in the fish.
  • Ensure to check your state’s fish consumption advisory.

What Are Fish Consumption Advisories?

Fish Consumption Advisories are warnings published by each state to warn their people when fish and its kind are not safe to consume. Every state issues a fish consumption advisory when there is a potential threat to the people’s health from consuming the fish that can be contaminated with chemicals like mercury, chemicals such as fertilizers, like pesticides, fishes can also be biologically contaminated, especially if the water they came from has a poor condition, polluted.

Consuming contaminated fish is not good for everyone, especially to elderly, expecting mothers, nursing mothers, and kids. It can make anyone ill.

You can learn more about this fish consumption advisory in the United States Environmental Protection Agency

Keep you fish chilled with one of these:

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Here Are the Fish Consumption Advisories from Top Five States for Fishing:

Alaska’s Fish Consumption Advisory

Though Alaska’s fishes are rich in nutrients, Alaska’s health department continues to remind the public that too much mercury can affect the developing nervous system of unborn babies. They recommend pregnant women, nursing mothers, children, and the elderly to be selective in the type of fish they consume. 

Alaska’s health department created a guideline which they called the “Fish Consumption Point System.” This guideline illustrates the recommended consumption of fish per week, on average. It could also help the Alaskans mix and match between fishes and their sizes, considering that it will not go beyond the recommended amount.


Louisiana’s Fish Consumption Advisory

Louisiana is promoting the guidelines created by the United States Food and Drug Administration and the fpUnited States Environmental Protection Energy for pregnant women, nursing mothers, and parents to make sure they are eating healthy and safe seafood.

Below are the following guidelines:

It is suggested to eat between 8 and 12 ounces of seafood from the choices that are low in mercury per week.

For kids at the age of 2 should have one to two servings of fish per week. The average serving size is about 1 ounce. Two ounces of serving per week for children ages between 4 to 7 years old, 3 ounces of serving per week for children ages between 8 to 10 years old, and 4 ounces of serving per week for children aged 11 years old and up.

If a friend or family personally catches the fish, make sure to check the fish consumption advisory, but if there are no advisories, it would be better to eat only one serving for the rest of that week.

For current advisories and further information:

You may call the Louisiana Department of Environment Quality at 225-219-3189 or check out their website (

You may also contact the Louisiana Department of Health at 888-293-7020 or check out their website (

Minnesota’s Fish Consumption Advisory

Fishes from any source could have contaminants, and it would be a better choice to consider buying from a local store or fishes that are caught within the state. Also, you may follow these guidelines:

Ensure to review the Statewide-Safe-Eating Guidelines.

To ensure there are other restrictive guidelines for the fish you caught from Minnesota’s lakes and rivers, you may also check the Waterbody Specific Safe-Eating Guidelines.

New York’s Fish Consumption Advisory

Like the other states, New York’s health department is aware that not all water bodies are tested if it contains contaminants and not all contaminants that the fishes have are known. The most helpful reminder is to check first the fishing location that you are eyeing. You must consider your health condition, as you know contaminants can make everyone ill—lastly, research about the fish you were eyeing to catch for that meal. For further information, you may visit their website.

Wyoming’s Fish Consumption Advisory

In Wyoming, the most commonly eaten fish low in mercury are trout (rainbow and cutthroat trout) and salmon caught specifically in Wyoming. It is suggested to have two meals per week, on average. For detailed information, please visit their website.

Each state has its own fish consumption advisory. To know the fish consumption advisory in your state, please refer to the table below.

States In The USAState’s Fish Consumption Advisory
AlabamaCheck details
AlaskaCheck details
ArizonaCheck details
ArkansasCheck details
CaliforniaCheck details
ColoradoCheck details
ConnecticutCheck details
DelawareCheck details
FloridaCheck details
GeorgiaCheck details
HawaiiCheck details
IdahoCheck details
IllinoisCheck details
IndianaCheck details
IowaCheck details
KansasCheck details
KentuckyCheck details
LouisianaCheck details
MaineCheck details
MarylandCheck details
MassachusettsCheck details
MichiganCheck details
MinnesotaCheck details
MississippiCheck details
MissouriCheck details
MontanaCheck details
NebraskaCheck details
NevadaCheck details
New HampshireCheck details
New JerseyCheck details
New MexicoCheck details
New YorkCheck details
North CarolinaCheck details
North DakotaCheck details
OhioCheck details
OklahomaCheck details
OregonCheck details
PennsylvaniaCheck details
Rhode IslandCheck details
South CarolinaCheck details
South DakotaCheck details
TennesseeCheck details
TexasCheck details
UtahCheck details
VermontCheck details
VirginiaCheck details
WashingtonCheck details
West VirginiaCheck details
WisconsinCheck details
WyomingCheck details

Rules to Follow When Fishing to Eat Article Conclusion

For numerous reasons, fishing can be considered one of the best recreational activities. It could benefit you in many ways. You have to keep in mind that, like any other, fishing is fun when it’s legal.

Keep in mind the rules to follow when fishing to eat, or even when it’s game fishing.

When fishing to eat, ensure that you have followed the rules, from when you are catching the fish up to the proper procedure of cleaning and cooking it. Never forget to check the fish consumption advisory to keep yourself and your loved ones from harm.


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