Fishing Report: Blue-fleshed rock greenling caught in Homer looks like a creature out of a Dr. Seuss book

A recent catch in Alaska looks like it came straight out of Dr. Seuss’ “One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish.” (Source: KTUU)
Published: Sep. 14, 2023 at 9:42 PM CDT
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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - Alaska offers some of the most unique and diverse fishing there is. You could catch one fish, you could catch two fish, you can definitely catch a red fish — but did you know you could catch a blue fish?

In late August, Joe Chmeleck, owner of The Lodge at Otter Cover in Homer, reeled in a rock greenling with colors so vibrant, it went viral on Facebook.

Went out fishing today and caught a rock greenling. The flesh is blue. It turns white when you cook it. Mother nature is incredible.

Posted by The Lodge at Otter Cove on Wednesday, August 30, 2023

A catch that appears out of a Dr. Seuss or coloring book, the blue flesh of this rock greenling — which is also seen in lingcod — is caused by a green bile pigment called Biliverdin, according to Alaska Department of Fish and Game biologist Donald Arthur.

While scientists know where the blue pigment comes from, they are still unsure why fish produce it — it could be a result of UV radiation, diet or genetics, Arthur said.

Since Aug. 30, Chmeleck’s post has been shared more than 3,500 times with hundreds of commenters left in awe.

“I had no idea anything like that was going to happen ... it’s been absolutely insane,” Chmeleck said of the internet’s response. “People are going crazy, so, so many people are like, ‘I’ve never seen anything like that.’ I think there is actually 17 different countries that have seen the post so far.”

The catch is an exotic — and toxic-looking — fish that could perplex even the most experienced anglers.

″We caught one about a year ago,” Chmeleck recalled, “We were sort of a little bit afraid of it, we didn’t know if it was poisonous or what is was. Typically when it is super colorful like that I’ve been told, the more colorful, the more dangerous it is.”

This fish, however, is safe to eat and the meat turns from blue to white when cooked.

“We filleted it, cooked it up and it was absolutely fantastic.”