How to Clean and Cook Your Fresh Trout

You’ve just spent the morning rainbow trout fishing in a beautiful high mountain lake in Colorado. Or maybe you’ve been fly fishing for brown or cutthroat trout on the Snake River in Idaho. Wherever you snagged your catch and whatever variety of trout is in your creel, it’s time to clean those beauties and prepare lunch! Some people think this is almost as fun as catching them! Here are some suggestions for preparing trout.

1. If you have several small trout, you can gut them, remove the heads, roll them in some flour and sauté them in butter. When they are tender and done to perfection, just get a hold of the trout’s backbone and pull. The bones should slip right out, leaving nothing but meat.

2. If you prefer to fillet your trout (instructions to follow), they are great deep-fried in a batter or with some breading.

3. When baking trout, the cleaning method is the most important step. Baking a trout wrapped in foil works out best if the fish is butterflied so that it is in one piece.

Okay, let’s get to the “guts” of preparing your trout for cooking.

Cleaning, Filleting and Deep Frying
Here are full proof instructions for cleaning and filleting your trout, and a simple deep fry recipe.

Cleaning is the messy part, but if you are a true fisherman, it shouldn’t bother you. It’s all part of the sport.

1. Grab the fish and put your thumb in one gill and your index finger in the other.

2. Stick the blade of your knife under the chin and make a small opening.

3. Next, put the knife in the trout’s anus and slice towards the front. Stop when you get to the slice you made in the chin.

4. Grab the fish under the lower jaw with your left index finger and thumb, with your thumb protruding into the slit up the middle of the fish that you just made. Now pull straight down through the opening. This should remove the whole body cavity and give you a cleaned trout.

5. Now it’s time to skin the trout. Hold the fish with your right hand, stomach facing towards you, grab the head with the other hand and bend it back until it breaks completely over.

6. Keep pulling on the head, peeling the skin down until the skin is completely removed.

Now that lunch is cleaned, it’s time to remove the bones. Lay the fish on a cloth on top of a flat surface.

1. With your fillet knife, start at the big end of the fish and cut towards you in one smooth motion until you have a single fillet. Be sure to keep the knife above the fish’s backbone.

2. Remove the rib bones from the fish.

3. Flip the fish over and repeat step 1.

4. Wash the fillets and place them in a plastic bag until you are ready to cook.

This is a very simple, but tasty way to deep-fry your hard-earned catch.

1. Add a can of beer to the trout fillets in the plastic bag. Make sure all of the fish are covered with the “marinade”.

2. Use a fryer that is big enough to completely cover the fish with grease when frying. You can use a big skillet or a deep fryer.

3. Add enough grease and put the burner on high. The secret to perfectly fried fish is hot, hot grease. If it’s not hot enough, the fish float harmlessly on top, soaking up grease, but not frying.

4. Drain the beer from your bag of trout fillets. Add yellow corn meal to the bag and shake it up.

5. When the grease is nice and hot, add the fillets to the pan one or two at a time. Be sure not to put too much fish in at once as this can lower the temperature of your grease.

6. Fry the fish till they are a nice golden color. Turn them occasionally during the cooking time.

7. Remove the fish to some paper towels and sprinkle with seasoning salt to add some more flavor.

8. Enjoy.