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Last week I cleaned a crappie (one of the two in my recent picture) that was riddled with these parasitic worms. Tonight I cleaned another with the same condition. The web calls them the 'big red worm' and says thorough cooking makes the meat safe to eat, and that makes sense.

Have you guys ever seen these in bluegill?

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Comment by David, aka, "McScruff" on April 15, 2014 at 5:28pm
Remember the life cycle of these nematodes involves birds, snails/worms, and smaller fish.
It may be tied to water purity, or lack thereof, or not.
Regardless, are you willing to try the ice down method, Mike, to see if the worms retreat from the flesh.
Comment by Michael Stockelman on April 15, 2014 at 4:33pm

This spring is my first serious take of crappie. So far, I'd say that at least about half of the eight or so I've cleaned have had these worms. A couple have had lesions that were visible externally (sorry, I'm a biologist and that's the kind of language I think in), but none were sickly. I wouldn't be surprised if the water conditions are to blame for the parasite burden- It's a slow backwater with suburban and farm runoff.

Comment by Leo Nguyen on April 13, 2014 at 11:22pm

Rarely do I encountered these. But yes, once in a blue moon, I'll find one or two that have the parasitic worms, but on the fish with health issue, or in a very poor (practically stagnant) water body.

Comment by David, aka, "McScruff" on April 10, 2014 at 9:45am
Well, Michael, icing the catch apparently causes the nematodes to retract to their encapsulated homes in the fish's gut.
Something to try, maybe.
Comment by Michael Stockelman on April 10, 2014 at 9:40am
You are right, McScruff. They were all encapsulated, and pretty easy to pick clean from the meat.
Seeing them does give me the willies, but after bringing home a nice fish, I would feel bad throwing it away just out of squeamishness knowing it's actually safe. I do fry it and then microwave it and then consider frying it again :P.
Comment by DAVID L EITUTIS on April 10, 2014 at 8:00am

Yikes !!!!!!! Never seen these things before in the fish I clean and eat !!!! I used to fish a place that had gills and crappies that had the little black dots in the meat , but ate em anyway after a good dip in the grease .......

Comment by David, aka, "McScruff" on April 10, 2014 at 7:25am
The solution: ICE YOUR CATCH
IMMEDIATELY.
This simple precaution is based upon a particular behavior characteristic of Eustrongylides worms. In live fish the worms occupy capsules in the body cavity. The worms remain in the body cavity as long as the temperature stays below 62° Farenheit (17° Celsius). When the temperature exceeds 62°, the worms begin burrowing out of the body cavity and into the muscles.

So, having an ice chest on your boat or at the fishing pier for storing your catch is the easiest effective way to maintain high quality.
By contrast, a fish basket, sack or stringer dangling in warm water can encourage these worms to penetrate into the meat.
Icing down the catch has the added benefit of inhibiting bacte- rial action and produces tasty, firm fillets. As an added safety factor, thorough cooking will kill any parasite.
Link:
http://ohioseagrant.osu.edu/_documents/publications/FS/FS-006%20Red...
Comment by David, aka, "McScruff" on April 10, 2014 at 2:55am
I've seen the little black spot parasite in bluegill, never these.
Comment by David, aka, "McScruff" on April 10, 2014 at 2:55am
So those were in the flesh?
That will put you off for sure!
Comment by Nathan on April 9, 2014 at 11:00pm

Nope, and even though I am sure they are safe to eat after thorough cooking, definitely an appetite killer!!

More protein I guess. :) I've seen bluegill with sores on their bodies though...maybe that's how those things get in them??

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