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Whitefish: Main Image

Buying Tips

Quality whitefish is easy to recognize. Fresh whitefish never smells fishy; it smells fresh like the ocean. The eyes should appear bright and clear, almost alive. The gills should be reddish, and the skin moist and with tightly adhering, shiny scales. Fresh whitefish flesh will give slightly when you press it with a finger, then spring back into shape. When choosing whitefish steaks or fillets, whether they’re fresh or previously frozen, look for moist, translucent (never dried out) flesh.


Lake whitefish are caught commercially in the Great Lakes and Canada, and their high quality roe is sold under the name “golden whitefish caviar.” Cisco (also called chub, lake herring, and tullibee) are a smaller, bonier fish, often sold smoked.

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The information presented in the Food Guide is for informational purposes only and was created by a team of US–registered dietitians and food experts. Consult your doctor, practitioner, and/or pharmacist for any health problem and before using any supplements, making dietary changes, or before making any changes in prescribed medications. Information expires December 2023.