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Walleye fish Nutrition facts

Walleye fish is a freshwater ray-finned fish in the family Percidae native to North America. It is known for its excellent taste and is a popular game fish for recreational fishing. The scientific name for walleye is Sander vitreus, and it belongs to the perch family.

Common names: Walleyed pike, yellow pike, yellow walleye, pickerel, pike-perch, dory, freshwater perch, etc.

Walleye. Courtesy: U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service-Mountain Prairie


Walleye have a distinctive appearance, with large, glassy eyes, sharp teeth, and an elongated, cylindrical body. They are typically olive-green or gold in color, with a white belly and mottled sides. Adults can reach lengths of up to 30 inches and weigh up to 20 pounds.


Walleye are found in a variety of freshwater habitats, including lakes, rivers, and reservoirs. They prefer clear, cool water with moderate current and substrate that ranges from sand and gravel to boulder and bedrock.

Walleye are carnivorous and feed on a variety of prey species, including minnows, shad, crayfish, and insects. They are often most active during low-light periods, such as dawn and dusk.

Walleye typically spawn in the spring, when water temperatures reach 42-50 degrees Fahrenheit. Females can lay up to 500,000 eggs, which adhere to substrate in shallow water. After hatching, larvae feed on zooplankton before transitioning to a diet of small fish.

Walleye fish can live up to 20 years in the wild. Their lifespan, however shortened where they are often raised for commercial purposes due to stress and other factors.

Health Benefits of Walleye

  1. Both walleye and pike-perch are members of the perch family, and they are both considered to be relatively lean, healthy fish options. It holds 93 cal/3.5 Oz, In comparison arctic char has 186 cal/3.5 oz (100g).

  2. American Heart Association recommends consumption of at least 2 servings of oily fish like Walleye to fulfil requirements of essential fatty acids, protein, minerals and fat-soluble vitamins.

  3. The characteristic pink or orange-red color of Walleye flesh comes from the fat-soluble carotenoid pigment astaxanthin, that normally exists in crustacean flesh like shrimp.

  4. Astaxanthin is known for its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties and is believed to have a number of potential health benefits. It is biologically stable antioxidant, several hundred times more powerful than vitamin C and Co-enzyme Q10.

  5. Walleye fish flaky, orange-pink flesh is rich source of vitamin-A, D, E and long chain omega-3 fatty acids (PUFA).

  6. It is an excellent source of protein; 3.5 Oz of walleye meat provides 19.1 g (34% of daily required levels). Its flesh is complete in the sense that it composes all the essential amino acids required for the optimal growth and development.

  7. Walleye fish is a good source of omega-3 eicosapentaenoicacid (EPA), docosapantaenoicacid (DPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) fatty acids. Research studies suggest that these fatty acids, particularly DHA, play an important role in the development of neural system, especially in infants and children.

  8. In adults, several large trials have evaluated the effect of fish or fish oils on heart disease. In the "GISSI Prevention Trial, heart attack survivors who took a 1-gram capsule of omega-3 fats every day for three years were less likely to have a repeat heart attack, stroke, or die of sudden death than those who took a placebo".

  9. Walleye flesh is one of the finest sources of some B-complex vitamins such as niacin (vitamin B3: provides 53% RDI/100 g), pyridoxine and riboflavin.

  10. Walleye filets compose 70 IU/3.5 Oz of Vitamin-A. vitamin-A and omega-3's are essential for healthy mucosa and skin.

  11. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recommend that pregnant women can eat at least 8 ounces and up to 12 ounces (340 grams) of a variety of seafood lower in mercury a week.

  12. Furthermore, Walleye composes significant amounts of essential minerals like calcium, phosphorus and magnesium. In this marine fish, the other trace elements commonly found are selenium and iodine.

See the table below for in depth analysis of nutrients:

Walleye (Sander vitreus)), raw, Nutritive value per 100 g. (Source: USDA National Nutrient data base)
Principle Nutrient Value Percent of RDA
Energy 93 Kcal 4.7%
Carbohydrates 0 g 0%
Protein 19.1 g 34%
Total Fat 1.22 g 6.1%
Cholesterol 86 mg 28%
Dietary Fiber 0 g 0%
Folates 15 μg 4%
Niacin 2.3 mg 14%
Pyridoxine 0.12 mg 9%
Riboflavin 0.207 mg 16%
Thiamin 0.27 mg 22.5%
Vitamin-A 70 IU 2.33%
Vitamin-C 0 mg 0%
Sodium 51 mg 3.4%
Potassium 389 mg 8%
Calcium 110 mg 11%
Iron 1.3 mg 16%
Magnesium 30 mg 7.5%
Phosphorus 210 mg 30%
Zinc 0.62 mg 5.7%
Omega-3 fats (PUFA)
EPA (20:5 n-3) 0.086 g --
DPA (22:5 n-3) 0.038 g --
DHA (22:6 n-3) 0.225 g --


When buying walleye fish, pay attention to its freshness, appearance, source, size, preparation, and sustainability. Larger walleye tend to be firmer and have a stronger flavor. Whole (round), headless and dressed, fillets (skinless/skin-on) as well as frozen IQF fillets or IQF fingers also readily available in the seafood specialty stores.

When checking for freshness of whole walleye, observe the flesh and skin, since you won't see clear, bright eyes even in the freshest walleye. The eyes are naturally flat and opaque. The skin of the walleye should be bright and shiny, and the scales should be intact. If you are buying filleted, check the label to see walleye caught in clean, cold waters for better quality.


If you have fresh walleye and you're not planning on cooking it right away, it can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 2-3 days. Place the fish in an airtight container or wrap it tightly in plastic wrap to prevent air from getting in and drying out the flesh.

If you're not planning on using the walleye within a few days, it's best to freeze it. Wrap the fish tightly in plastic wrap, then place it in a freezer-safe zip-top bag or airtight container. Walleye can be stored in the freezer for up to 3-4 months.

When you're ready to use the walleye, thaw it in the refrigerator overnight or in cold water for a few hours. Avoid thawing the fish at room temperature as this can promote the growth of harmful bacteria.


Walleye is a delicious cold-water, oily fish that is rich in omega-3 fatty acids and protein. It can be cooked in many ways, such as frying, grilling, or baking, but some methods may be better suited to certain sizes or cuts of fish.

Walleye fillets are prized for their thickness and succulent, sweet, mild flavor. The fish has few bones, which adds to its popularity. The raw meat is a rich pink color but clear white when cooked.

Here are some serving ideas:

Simple preparations are the best way to showcase the succulent, delicate flavor.

walleye recipe
Walleye recipe. Credit: Edsel Little
  • For grilling, simply brush a fillet with lemon butter. If you must embellish the fish, use a light touch with sauces, such as white wine, garlic or dill.

  • Golden brown and crispy, pan-fried walleye are a popular dish in Canadian great lake restaurants.

  • Enjoy grilled walleye fillets seasoned with salt, pepper, and your favorite herbs and spices.

  • Baked walleye is an healthy alternative seasoned with salt, pepper, herbs and spices. Bake for 15-20 minutes, until the fish is cooked through and flakes easily with a fork.

  • Serve hot walleye chowder with crusty bread.

  • Walleye fish cakes is a popular Minnesota state fair delicacy.

Safety profile

Methyl mercury levels in walleye fish 0.11 to 0.44 parts per million (ppm). Accordingly, the U.S FDA final guidelines on how much fish expectant as well as breastfeeding mothers can eat, along with lists of specific options that are safe or should be avoided, places walleye in the best choice category. By this yardstick, one can consume 2-3 servings a week. (Medical disclaimer).

Also read ≻≻-

≻≻- Arctic char nutrition facts and health benefits.

≻≻- Chinook Salmon nutrition facts and health benefits.

≻≻- Atlantic Cod nutrition facts and health benefits.

≻≻- Brook trout nutrition facts and health benefits.

≺≺ Back to Seafood from Walleye fish nutrition facts and health benefits.

Further reading (Links opens in new window):

  1. Walleye (S.vitreus).

  2. NOAA Fisheries-Fisheries and Oceans Canada.

  3. pregnancy-and-fish.

  4. USDA National Nutrient database.

  5. Omega-3 Fatty Acids: An Essential Contribution.

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