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Cooking Trout
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Greg Mihalik
(greg23) - M

Locale: Colorado
Re: re: trout Warning on 10/28/2013 20:06:19 MDT Print View

You said "Unless there is a mine up stream of the lake, I doubt that this warning would be truly applicable to Sierra high country lakes."

In two post above yours is the statement -

"But mercury is also a global pollutant generated from coal combustion and other industrial activity and deposited from the atmosphere."

There are severe fish consumption restrictions in the BWCA due to air born pollutants, mercury included, and there are no upstream mines.

I don't know what might be coming out of the coal-fired plants in California, but mercury is not out of the question.

Edited by greg23 on 10/28/2013 20:06:51 MDT.

stephan q
(khumbukat) - F
Re----Brown trout Warning on 10/28/2013 20:36:16 MDT Print View

"To come up with the safe-eating guidelines, government scientists pulled together more than five years of data on mercury concentrations in fish from more than 270 lakes and reservoirs and compared them to acceptable human exposure levels."

OK. 5 years of fish samples from 270 lakes for mercury levels? Thats a big study.

I started this, so, heres the hearsay.

I heard SF Water found mercury in Hetch Hetchy water and asked NPS what was up. This started a systematic testing of High Country lakes. This in turn created the advisory. Just say'n.

Gregory Allen
(Gallen1119) - M

Locale: Golden, CO
Re: Re----Brown trout Warning on 10/28/2013 20:52:37 MDT Print View

I say we all stop eating carp as per the advisory!

David Thomas
(DavidinKenai) - MLife

Locale: North Woods. Far North.
Re: Re: re: trout Warning on 10/28/2013 21:58:18 MDT Print View

I suspect the study was biased towards accessible, larger lakes which means in the Sierra foothills or lower - all of which are below historic mining activity.

Largely, coal is not burned on the west coast. Coal is burned in the "fly over" states. Prevailing winds take the mercury and acid rain to New England and Eastern Canada.

Yes, mercury is also a global phenom - we get it in the Alaskan arctic, primarily from China. But as an environmental engineer, married to an MD, and father of grade-schoolers, I'm fine with high-elevation or high-latitude trout and salmon. I'd avoid lower elevation lakes in CA, more so in ID and MT.

Mike W
(skopeo) - F

Locale: British Columbia
Mercury... on 10/29/2013 14:30:42 MDT Print View

It's not the size of the fish that's the issue with mercury contamination, it's the fishes "age" that creates a concern regarding mercury ingestion. Mercury accumulates over time and doesn't dissipate, so older fish will have higher concentrations of mercury in their flesh. So, to make it easy for the fisherman who can't easily tell how old a fish is, the guideline suggests that you don't eat larger fish because they would generally be older. That's why they tell you to eat the small fish as they have had less time to accumulate mercury.

I personally won't eat hatchery fish regardless of where I catch them. I think mercury is the least of your worries when you consider the amount of antibiotics and anti-fungicides that they pump into hatchery fish when they are in the tanks, I'd rather take my chances with the mercury!

Pete Staehling
(staehpj1) - F
Age on 10/29/2013 16:16:12 MDT Print View

Yes I understand that it is the age that matters, but I assume the 9-12" trout that I like to eat are very likely to not be all that old.

Kurt Suttell
(krshome) - F
stew on 11/06/2013 15:40:28 MST Print View

How about fish stew? Just poach and add veggies and seasoning to the water.I would just look for a recipe that you like.

Pete Staehling
(staehpj1) - F
Stew on 11/07/2013 05:11:01 MST Print View

Hmmm, why didn't I think of that. I love eating various fish stews and chowders in restaurants, but never thought of fixing them on the trail. I'll have to tinker with some recipes at home before my next trip.

Stephen Barber
(grampa) - MLife

Locale: SoCal
Stew or Soup Base on 11/07/2013 10:45:32 MST Print View

Chicken bouillon powder makes a decent fish stew base or poaching liquid.I usually add some garlic powder and dried herbs to improve the flavor.

I hadn't thought about a trout chowder, but I don't see why that couldn't be done: powdered mashed potatoes, maybe? Some dehydrated onions? Freeze-dried shiitake mushrooms? Maybe I could make up a chowder base and dehydrate that!

I think I need to get to the kitchen for some experimentation!

Daniel White
(wvlawyer) - F

Locale: Wasatch Front
Fish Tacos! on 11/07/2013 11:22:16 MST Print View

If you can handle the weight of the tortillas, lime powder or splurge on a real lime, I love the idea of fish tacos. On my to do list this spring.

Kevin Buggie
(kbuggie) - M

Locale: NW New Mexico
try roasting on 11/07/2013 12:06:12 MST Print View

One of my favorite ways to prepare fresh trout is roasting/smoking over a small fire. This has worked well in the mid-elevation western forests during summer where oak twigs,growing (green) grass, and trout are available. I generally add salt and pepper, but otherwise you need nothing other than a fire-starter to prepare this (I think this would be the lowest weight recipe posted on this thread yet).

I start by collecting small oak twigs (thumb diameter) and make a small fire. While the fire is getting going I gut the fish, leaving the head on. Then I gather several handfuls of green grass (enough to completely cover the fire with a 2" depth of dense grass).
I wait til most of the oak twigs have burned to the point of glowing coals, then I place the grass directly over the fire. It starts to smoke heavily and I place the fish directly on the grass. The oak infuses a great taste to the fish, whether seasoned or not.

It may take some practice to get the timing right, but after a few minutes the heat from the coals has cooked the meat and the skin is starting to easily peel away on the fire-side of the fish. I try to flip the trout only once so the exposed meat doesnt pick-up bits of grass or ash. While the second side is cooking, I pick and eat the easily flaked meat from the first side with my fingers. By the time the second side is cooked, the green grass has mostly become charred. I remove the half-eaten fish and either extinguish the coals if I'm hiking on, or restoke the small fire into a bigger campfire if i'm setting camp.

Might read as complicated, but it's super quick, easy, and leaves no mess or fish residue on gear. LNT, fire restrictions, and wind all complicate or preclude this method.

Tom Kirchner
(ouzel) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest/Sierra
Re: Stew or Soup Base on 11/07/2013 17:29:56 MST Print View

"Chicken bouillon powder makes a decent fish stew base or poaching liquid.I usually add some garlic powder and dried herbs to improve the flavor."

A good off-the-shelf technique is to start with Thai Kitchen noodle soup packages. Poach the trout, then remove the trout pieces, add the flavor packet and noodles and cook until noodles are done, ~3 minutes or so. Return the trout pieces to the soup, and Voila!

You can also just use the flavor packets to flavor the broth, but that is kind of pricey and produces a carbless soup.

Bill Segraves
(sbill9000) - F - M
Re: stew on 11/07/2013 18:43:34 MST Print View

Dehydrated coconut milk, red curry powder, a couple packets of True Lime, salt to taste. Don't tell anyone. :)



Pete Staehling
(staehpj1) - F
Great ideas! on 11/08/2013 13:13:38 MST Print View

Thanks for the great ideas, I'll definitely try some of them.

Timothy Crippen

Locale: Colorado
Italian Trout on 02/19/2014 14:27:45 MST Print View

Shelf stable pepperoni, rosemary, salt and pepper. Wrapped in foil and cooked on hot coals.
Made this up after realizing a buddy of ours was a meal short for our five day trip through the South San Juan Wilderness. The items came from one of our FBC meals. Got us through the trip with everyone well fed.

brian H
(B14) - M

Locale: Siskiyou Mtns
Yum on 02/23/2014 12:46:53 MST Print View

There are some GREAT culinary ideas here, thanx all.

Bill Segraves' is my fave!

I love how this thread went way O/T then came back.

re - mercury...a little Common Sense:
these govt warnings are about Limiting Consumption...there are traces of merc in fish, as there are in ea of our bodies, from this world we livin in. This is for peeps who eat these fish 1-2 nites per week, not casual backpackers eatin it 1-2 times per season.
Merc showing up in fish is in the muddy Soil at the bottom of larger, lower elev bodies of water, Incl Hetchy, and in some places is naturally occurring. Avoid eating LOTS of fish that live year round in these places, as you would i hope from the SF Bay. Brown trout, like bass, once mature, eat mostly other fish, which could accelerate the merc concentration. So dont eat lots of big old ones. They dont taste very good anyway.
Back country yosemite rangers, most of whom do not even treat the water, at elevation, are NOT worried about high elevation brown trout. That is either crazy fear mongering or gross misunderstanding.
Lastly, in Most fisheries in the high sierra backcountry, which receive an amt of angling pressure during a very brief season that would hardly register on any fishing-pressure-scale, the fish are so stressed by competition for food [in typically nutrient-poor environments where they aint enuf to go around] that we are doing the fishery a favor by harvesting.

Gordon Gray
(GordonG) - F

Locale: Front Range, CO
ummmm trout on 04/09/2014 11:58:57 MDT Print View

I prefer to wrap the fish in foil and cook it over an open fire. I douse it in olive oil and sprinkle on the Old Bay seasoning prior to cooking. See here:prefered method

If you can't have an open fire, there are other options. I have put a little water in my cook pot and added the seasoning and oil this way. I prefer the foil but will do this too:pan trout

Kerry Wilson

Locale: North of Eugene, South of Portland
Mercury in lakes on 07/15/2014 23:05:58 MDT Print View

Much of the Mercury in the high lakes originates in subterranean volcanic environs carried to the surface by underground water sources and is "naturally occurring".

East Lake just outside of Bend Or. suffers from this exact issue at a significant level, fabulous fishing, just take care how much you consume.

Not hard for me to picture some lakes of the Sierra Nevada having a dose or two of that.

By the way. It makes absolutely no sense to me for Department(s) of fish and game in this country to be eliminating species of game fish (brookies) just because they are immigrants whose ancestors have legally been transported and placed in their habitat, while at the same time importing turkeys and other species that for some reason they think should be established in non-native areas. Seems somewhat arbitrary and discriminatory to me.....

If I were the turkeys, I would be very worried about my future rights based on the capricious nature of government.

Brookies sure make a nice meal over a campfire...........trout are trout...