Yellow Pike Meat: Is It Any Good?

Northern pike can be a very delicious fish, but many people are surprised to learn that the color of the flesh can differ depending on location, fish health, and a variety of other environmental influences. If you have only fished in one place for pike your whole life and then go somewhere else, you might be in for a bit of a surprise when it’s time to clean your catch.

Generally speaking, yellow northern pike meat is nothing to be worried about in most cases. Most pike fillets vary from white to yellow, or have a yellowish tint. As long as this isn’t extremely abnormal for an area the yellow pike meat is safe to eat and should be just as tasty.

This surprises those of us who started pike fishing in areas where pike meat is very white, and it brings up questions on whether or not yellow pike meat is edible, and why the color difference.

Yellow pike meat tastes exactly the same as white pike meat, so feel free to enjoy it!

white vs yellow pike fillets
Case in point: two northern pike fillets. One very white in color, one very much yellow in color.

Why Is Some Pike Meat White & Some Yellow?

This generally depends on the food sources and water. For example, if you’re fishing in northern Ontario you are going to see a lot of white pike meat. However, as many anglers have discussed in person and in forums, if you fish throughout Wisconsin, many pike fillets there have varying degrees of a yellowish tint to them.

The meat is still safe, it tastes perfectly fine (and man, as we’ve discussed before, pike is really good eating), and prepares the same as white pike meat no matter how you’re preparing it.

Use your favorite recipes as normal and get ready for a good meal and don’t worry – the fish is safe and it will be delicious. In the same way different foods can cause your tongue to change color, what pike eat on in lakes or rivers will change what their flesh looks like, but the taste is the same and it’s perfectly edible. The coloration has nothing to do with the quality of meat.

Just make sure to stop cutting at the dark red line…just like you should with any northern pike fillet!

Pike Meat Is Even Pink In Some Locations

While not nearly as common, there are even some places where pike meat has a pinkish or even light red tinge to it. This is rare, but in lakes or areas known for having an overabundance of freshwater shrimp, these have a strong effect on the coloration of northern pike fillets.

You always want to check around with local anglers to make sure you know what the normal coloration in the area is when the pike are healthy, but assuming this is normal then you have no reason to worry.

Does Northern Pike Yellow Meat Taste Different?

No. As long as they’re from healthy northern pike, the taste is going to be the same whether white, yellow, or pink. The same meaty flavor, the same awesome taste that you can prepare in so many. Either freeze immediately or put straight in the frying pan. Either way is outstanding, and leads to the type of meal that is worthy of following up a good day of fishing on the water.

The taste should be the same so don’t do anything different from your favorite recipe. Just prepare it as you normally would.

Yellow Pike Meat & Pink Pike Meat

Whatever the color of pike meat, whether yellow, pink, or white, you’ll be good to go. Why is some pike meat yellow and some isn’t? It’s just about whatever the pike in the area eat. Nothing nefarious, nothing to worry about. Northern pike is a good meal, and if someone isn’t going to eat the pike because of a little coloration difference…well that’s more for you!

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