Fish Parasites More Prevalent
Blackspot is a parasite that is becoming more and more prevalent in our lakes and has an interesting journey and life cycle. Its cycle begins with birds, predominantly kingfishers. This parasite sheds eggs that wind up in our waterways. The eggs hatch and infect fresh water snails. The larvae of the parasite hatch, leaving the snail and filitering into the water. The larvae find a host fish and carve their way into the skin and muscle tissue. This parasite does negatively affect the fish, stunting the growth and affecting the overall health of the fish. Kingfishers eat the fish, and the parasite larvae develop into adult parasites and start a new cycle.
Most new lake home owners are unaware of this parasite and are often afraid to eat the fish affected by the parasite. According to both the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources and Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, there is no potential harm to humans who cook and consume fish with the Blackspot parasite. The fish do have to be fully cooked and you must decide at what point the fish are fully cooked and safe.
I highly recommend washing your hand after handling these fish. It's good pratice anyway, even with fish that do not have Blackspot, because fish can be carriers of other bacteria and viruses that you cannot visually detect.