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Eating your catch - making healthy choices

Fishing Wisconsin

Baked fish

Eating your catch can be part of a healthy, balanced diet. Fish are generally low in unhealthy saturated fats and high in protein. Fish contain vitamins and minerals and are the primary food source for healthy omega-3 fats.  Studies suggest that omega-3 fats may be beneficial during fetal brain and eye development, and eating modest amounts of fish containing these healthy fats may lower the risk of heart disease in adults.  Health experts recommend that fish be included as part of a healthy diet.

However, fish may take in pollutants from their environment and food.  Mercury and PCBs are the contaminants of greatest concern in fish, prompting recommendations that people limit or avoid eating certain species of fish from many waters throughout the nation. You can get the health benefits of eating Wisconsin's fish while also reducing potential health risks from unwanted pollutants by following Wisconsin’s fish consumption guidelines.

Compare the type of fish and where you caught your fish with the consumption advice. After consulting the recommendations, you may find that you do not have to change your eating habits, you may choose to eat different types of fish or eat some species less frequently.

Why has an updated fish consumption advisory been issued for Starkweather Creek and Lake Monona?

Recent sampling by the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources shows elevated PFOS in fish tissue and surface water in those waterways. PFOS is one of many per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS). PFOS detection is the driving force behind establishing the fish consumption advisory for Starkweather Creek and Lake Monona in Dane County.

See the Lake Monona and Starkweather Creek fish safe-eating guidelines. [PDF]

Find advice for your fishing spot

Mag glass Wis

Use the online query tool to select the water that you'll be fishing.

Note: The online query tool is currently unavailable. As an alternative, the Choose Wisely: A health guide to eating fish in Wisconsin publication [PDF] has been updated and will be available within the next few weeks.  

General statewide safe-eating guidelines

Safe-eating guidelines apply to fish from most of Wisconsin’s inland – i.e. non-Great Lakes – waters.  Exceptions apply to some locations including the Great Lakes (see map below).

Safe Eating Guidelines


Consumption Map small
Distribution of waters where additional consumption advice applies.

Exceptions to statewide safe-eating guidelines

Exceptions to the statewide safe-eating guidelines are necessary for some species of fish from 146 waters where fish have higher concentrations of mercury or other contaminants. Follow the advice for the species and length of fish you eat - to properly measure your fish, measure from the tip of the nose to the end of the tail.

Choose wisely publication

The DNR’s current fish consumption advisories are also available in Choose wisely: a health guide for eating fish in Wisconsin [PUB-FH-824].

If you are unable to download the above file or would like to receive a printed version of the brochure, you can do one of the following:

  • Call the Bureau of Fisheries Management at 608-267-7498 and ask to have a copy sent to you; or
  • Send an e-mail to the Bureau of Fisheries Management requesting a copy of the publication. Please be sure to include your full name, address, city, state and zip code.
  • Contact your local DNR office or health department to request a free copy of the publication.
  • Use the online advisory query tool

Advice for our Hmong and Spanish anglers