The Freshwater Fish Directory
The following is a guide to all the main species of freshwater fish that can be eaten, listed by their common names, although some fish, confusingly, are known by a variety of different names. The potted profile for each fish details the various forms in with it can be purchased, for example whole or in fillets, fresh or canned, and the most suitable cooking methods.
There are many species of catfish, many of which are frozen. It is available whole or as fillets and its tough skin must be removed before cooking. It can be fried, grilled, poached, steamed, baked or used in soups or stews.
There are many varieties of trout, including river, brown, rainbow and salmon trout. It is usually cooked whole and can be baked, fried, grilled, poached or steamed. It is also available smoked, in the same way as smoked salmon.
Char is similar to trout in size and appearance, but more colourful. Its flesh is firm and usually white, or sometimes pale pink. Artic char is now commonly available, thanks to farming in Iceland and Canada. It is usually sold filleted and can be fried, baked or steamed.
Tilapia/St Peter’s Fish
Farming has made tilapia more widely available and it can now be purchased whole or as fillets. It has a firm texture and is suitable for all cooking methods. An interesting feature of this fish is that the females carry their young in their mouths. They are smaller than the males.
This snake-like fish, smaller than the seawater conger eel, lives in rivers and streams then swims thousands of kilometres to return to the sea and spawn, after which it dies (the opposite migratory habit of salmon). Elvers are baby eels and are no longer eaten, but used to restock fisheries. Eels are currently overfished and should be avoided at the present time.