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“What’s Bugging That Fish?”

Trying to think of something to blog about today when I was asked a familiar question, “What are these black specks on my fish?”

There are a variety of fish parasites that are present in our waters.  They are there all the time and nothing can be done about that.  From time to time, those parasites will be obvious on or in the fish.

Of course the first concern is usually if those fish are safe to eat?

There are no parasites of our Nebraska fish that are a threat to humans especially if the fish are thoroughly cooked.  I would however, be careful if your favorite sushi bar was located next to a bait shop.


In most cases the parasites can be trimmed or removed from the fillets and the fish prepared as usual.  In the worse cases, no one likes the thought of eating parasites and the fish get discarded.

Years ago we had a little pamphlet with the same title as this blog.  It was a short course in freshwater fish parasites.  You can see most of it in our Private Waters Pond Management Guide Series, in the chapter on Fish Parasites and Diseases.

Let me “copy and paste” much of that here:







Let me point out that you can always catch & release.  Then you do not have to worry about what might be in or on the fish!


About daryl bauer

Daryl is a lifelong resident of Nebraska (except for a couple of years spent going to graduate school in South Dakota). He has been employed as a fisheries biologist for the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission for 25 years, and his current tour of duty is as the fisheries outreach program manager. Daryl loves to share his educational knowledge and is an avid multi-species angler. He holds more than 120 Nebraska Master Angler Awards for 14 different species and holds more than 30 In-Fisherman Master Angler Awards for eight different species. He loves to talk fishing and answer questions about fishing in Nebraska, be sure to check out his blog at outdoornebraska.org.

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