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Kill Me Quick

If you decide to kill a fish - kill it quickly - as soon as you land it. A solid belt above the eyes with a 'priest', heavy rock, or solid stick will do this job well. Leaving a trout to gasp to death on the bank will ruin the meat.

Preparing and Cooking

For trout to taste as good as it should requires some work before it gets anywhere near the person who is doing the actual food preparation. Killing a fish quickly as described above is the first and very important first step. Keeping it at least cool, better chilled, preferably iced, is a solid second step.

If you are going to cook the trout whole

First cut through the gill latch and completely remove all the gills. Then run the point of a sharp knife from the anus up to the gill latch. Open the belly up and pull out the stomach contents. Then run the point of the knife up the top of the belly cavity to expose the dark blood along the spine. Use a teaspoon to remove all this blood.

Wash the fish thoroughly. Take particular care to remove all traces of blood from the belly cavity, along the spine, and in the gill cavity. Hang the fish up to drip dry for around ten minutes, then pat dry with paper towels, inside and out.

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If filleting a trout

Take the fillets off both sides and remove all traces of blood, Wash thoroughly and hang the fillets up to drip dry for 10 minutes. Pat dry with paper towels, on both the skin side and flesh side.

more information graphic To prepare fish properly [sharp knives] are essential.

Just One Recipe

I have tasted some truly creative recipes for trout. But most of them share one thing in common - the cooks have gone to extraordinary lengths to completely disguise the taste of the trout. Smothered in sauces, infused with herbs and spices - it could be anything under that lot, fish or otherwise.

Still I must be a teeny wee bit sympathetic towards the plight of some of these cooks - the condition of some of the trout they have to deal with is nothing short of disgusting. It is no wonder so many people do not particularly like to eat trout - very often they are eating a pallid travesty of the real thing.

Attempting to produce a tasty meal out of white soggy-flesh is beyond the capabilities of even the best chefs. As is trying to prepare a fish that has lain on a river bank in the sun for some hours. If you are going to cook a trout make sure it is in top condition, bright-eyed, firm orange-red flesh and recently caught, or well treated since capture.

This is my favourite recipe, but be warned, attempting to use it with a less than good-conditioned fish will fail.

Fillet the trout leaving the skin on. Cut the fillets up into serving size pieces. With a pair of scissors cut few 5mm (1/2") nicks in the edge of the skin to prevent the fillets 'curling'.

Cover the bottom of a fry pan with sea-salt (and only sea-salt will do) to 2 or 3mm and heat to a medium heat.

Once the pan is hot, lay the fillets, skin side down, gently and carefully, onto the salt.

Watch the ends of the fillets carefully - as soon as the flesh goes white, but still slightly translucent, remove from the pan. (If the fillets are very thick, you may have to place the pan under a grill for a few minutes to cook the top of fillets, without burning the bottom.)

While fish is cooking, prepare a vinaigrette of half a cup of best quality olive oil, half a cup of finely chopped chervil, 2 tablespoons chives, 1 tablespoon lemon juice and salt and pepper to taste.

Place trout on plates and dribble with the vinaigrette and serve.

Accept ecstatic compliments graciously.

This recipe is also wonderful for any so called ‘oily’ fish such as salmon, kingfish or kahawai.

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Lake Taupo sunset fishing

The Best Time to go Fishing for Trout?

Distill all the 'wisdom' down, and you are likely to come up with the following 'best times' to go fishing for trout:

  • Start before dawn and fish through till sunlight lights up the water.
  • Fish from dusk and through into the dark.
  • For big fish, fish in the dark, the darker the better.

The list of bad fishing times is longer, but the notion of bad may not necessarily be based on good evidence. In fact the notion of 'bad' fishing times usually means fishing times that are not included in the list of 'best' times.

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