Cooking trout in a backpacking meal

I was wondering if anyone could share their recipe for how to cook trout while backpacking? I have a recipe I will share that is very easy and doesn't require a frying pan.

Trout Pesto Pasta

Ingredients: salt, pepper, pasta noodles, 1 tablespoon of butter, homemade pesto sauce, grated parmesean cheeze

Start in this order:

2- 12" to 14" trout boiled with butter and salt and pepper- deboned, deskinned and decapitated (just the good meat) Perferrably westslope, yellowstone or costal cutthroat.

4 tablespoons of homemade basil and garlic pesto

About a quart of ready made spiral pasta (the colored variety)

Mix all ingredients together and add the desired amount of grated (not shredded) parmesean cheeze.

Serve with your favorite IPA or tall can to save weight.

Steve Buckner

Mother Nature's Son
Sounds delicious.

In many parts of Wyoming, the Fish and Wildlife service has asked that fisherman keep brook trout and on those occasions, it is a pleasure to wake up and catch a few trout for breakfast. I usually just coat them with flour and then fry them with a little olive oil and serve with hash browns and eggs.


Be the guide...
Since I like to pack as light as possible usually, here is my favorite way to cook those little alpine lake brookies (note, this does not work well for fish over 14 inches!!!). The best part is that you don't need to bring anything besides your fishing gear and perhaps some kind of plate and fork...

Roast fish on a stick:
Clean the fish leaving the head on.
Take a typical hot dog or marsh mallow type roasting stick and insert into mouth and all the way through the stomach cavity and into the meat and skin down by the the tail.
Now cook over open flame or hot coals.
That's IT. The smokey flavor is enough, but if you want to get fancy, there are many options (see notes below).

I started doing this years ago after landing a huge trout in a remote stream that would not fit in my little frying pan. I took 2 forked sticks and staked them in the ground on each side of my fire pit. Then I took a long slender stick and ran it through the mouth of the gutted trout and out near the tail. This allowed me to slow roast the fish and turn it easily on my simple spit. The smokey flavor from the burning wood and flames was way better than just using the frying pan. Over time, for smaller fish, I stripped the method down and started cooking them as you would hot dogs...
Actually the smaller the fish the better (less than 9 inches). Fewer bones. Once the fish is cooked, you can just strip out the back bone from head to tail and all that's left is good meat (no picking out little annoying bones).

If you bring a little butter, lemon juice, garlic salt\powder, salt and pepper, etc - add to the fish about 1/2 way through cooking. Place the fish stomach cavity side up and fill with the butter and seasonings. As you cook, allow the mixture to run onto the sides and baste the fish. This way ROCKS :)

Another method is to just wrap the trout in tin foil with lemon juice, butter, etc and place in coals. No need for a frying pan or stick and it comes out great. You can do the same with a couple baked potatoes or corn on the cob if you like...

The downside to both versions above is that you need an open fire...
I have never attempted anything so gourmet. My usual method for little alpine brookies is to remove the head and innards and just poach the little guys in boiling water fortified with a few bullion (sp?) cubes for salt and flavor. The skin will peel right off and the meat is nice an flaky. Delicious, especially after a 8hr+ fishing marathon.



Be the guide...
I've never been a fan of boiled fish (or any other boiled meat for that matter). Flame roasted seems much more flavorful to me. Plus all you need is a stick, a fire, and a fish :)
The wife & I discovered we left the butter and lemon at home once while contemplating dinner at a 4,800 ft pocket lake several years ago. Did have the foil and some decent coals so packed 2 fishes belly cavity with fresh picked blueberries and gave them 7-8 minutes a side on coals. May be the best trout I ever ate! The berries juices steamed the flesh internally and imparted a purple color along with that hint of berry flavor. If I ever get stuck again without the essentials , I hope to have berries!

Jim Wallace

Smells like low tide.
All of the above replies sound delicious. The last time I hiked into a mountain lake and cooked a fresh caught trout was in the summer of '82.

Keeping in mind that anticipation of the meal and a sharply whetted appetite are prime ingredients, the recipe was as follows:

1: Receive phone call from deranged buddy in B.C. who invites you to help him pack a canoe into a mountain lake.

2: Agree to go along with this masochistic scheme. Begin thinking about a fresh trout dine.

3: Drive to Vancouver, meet buddy, rent the heaviest canoe both of you can carry, drive north to trailhead of Cheakamus Lake.

4: Pack canoe approx. 3 klicks up trail, all the while cursing buddy for concocting such a scheme and self for going along with it. Go back for packs and curse some more.

5: Load gear into canoe, paddle across lake to where stream enters, set up camp. Appetite should now be whetted, anticipation/expectations pumped to high level.

6: Rig up fishing gear.

7: Get out frypan, cookstove, butter, salt & lemon pepper.
Fire up stove and heat pan.

8: Cast out spinner (would now use fly) and catch skinny 11" rainbow trout on first cast.

9: Immediately kill, clean, and behead trout. Fry it up in butter, lightly salt and lemon pepper to taste. No other adulterating ingrediments are required, as this is the freshest trout you can get and you want to savor its true flavor.

10: Eat trout (never tasted better) and toast buddy with a hearty swig of Crown Royal, complimenting him for his brilliant idea.

11: Repeat steps 8 thru 11 until you drop.


Bob Triggs

Stop Killing Wild Steelhead!
I am not much of a fish eater anymore. And I would rather you not kill and eat "Coastal" Cutthroat Trout, as your note above states. I think there are far too few of these fish left.

Anyway, a great resource for trout cooking tips in the camp environment is The L.L.Bean Cookbook, edited by Angus Cameron.

With limited equipment, here's how I do it:

I clean the fish by gutting and gilling, sometimes off comes the head. On a big fish I leave the head and cook and eat that too. I often cook the fish on the bone, not filetted.

Rinse lightly and wipe dry.

I salt and pepper the fish inside and out,( I like the kosher salt or larger sized sea salt and real, fresh ground pepper and maybe some chopped fresh garlic and parsley inside.You can add spices to your own tastes. Sometimes some thinly sliced lemon, rind and all. An orange works well too but lacks the zest of the lemon.

Wrap it up in two layers of heavy duty aluminum foil, ( I still call it "tin foil" ), and place that in a big pile of hot coals. Really bury it in the coals so it's evenly covered top and bottom and all around with about four inches or better of hot coals from a hardwood camp fire.

For a smaller fish, from ten to twenty inches, about 10 to 15 minutes does it. For a bigger fish, say a (hatchery)coho of eight to twelve pounds, about 25 minutes does it. On bigger fish with longer cooking time I use another layer or two of foil. And I might add some small sticks to the pile to keep the heat even for the longer time. I have cooked very big king salmon this way too, by digging a hole two feet deep and four feet long and filling that with a hot hardwood fire and developing a heap of coals, and then burying the fish in all of that, sometimes cooking for 40 minutes on a fish over twenty pounds.

The trick is to get the coals hot all at once and have enough of them for the duration of cooking, and to place the fish in the coals evenly covered. Wrap them tight and they cook in their own juices.

And of course, with all the same preparations, I like to grill fish over the coals on a fine wire rack, close to the heat, with a fine black roast to the flesh.

Some potatoes and onions and carrots, in foil, in the coals goes nice with all of this.

Boiling fish ought to be illegal.Of course poaching them in wine is pretty good.


Active Member
bisquick and olive oil works good and is lightweight, however I will supply my favorite at home recipe for salmon:

Place filets in some sort of tupperware or pan or something for marinating. Next empty a whole bottle of maple syrup into the container. Add water to almost completely cover the filets. Marinate overnight. Cook them either on the barbque or in the oven. You have two choices at this point, either pepper the skin side and cook skin side up or cover the meat side in brown sugar and cook it meat side up ( I prefer the later). Sounds overly sweet but it really isnt after its cooked. Best salmon filets I have ever had :thumb

~Patrick ><>


Be the guide...
Or, simply baste the fillets with maple syrup after rinsing and patting dry before cooking (can add other ingredients to taste - butter, salt &pepper, soy, ginger, brown suger, .... get creative), but just the syrup works... A cedar plank or apple wood chips adds a nice smoky flavor too.

I prefer to do this on the BBQ, but another option that can work better is to bake the fish with the maple glaze above, then for the last 5 minutes, broil from above to make a nice crispy coating. This is AWESOME - nice sweet crisp shell with the tender natural salmon in the center :)

And to keep this on topic - you could bring along some maple syrup and try pouring it on the fish before you wrap it in the foil to cook in the coals. Stuff it with those wild berries and it would be even better.
>Wrap it up in two layers of heavy duty aluminum foil,
> ( I still call it "tin foil" ), and place that in a big
>pile of hot coals.

Tin foil, eh. Another kiwi maybe? Anyways, I'd have to agree with this method. My introduction to catching trout on a fly was above Lake Ohau in New Zealand and a little experimentation with the few little rainbows we landed seemed to point to the fact that the simpler the garnish the better. Salt and pepper alone was superior to including garlic or lemon. Let the flavour of the fish speak for itself.:9 yum :9 yum
Chad-Thanks for the beta on cooking your trout over a roasted fire.

I also think coal roasting is a great method. I have always loved the idea of opening the foil and smelling and tasiting the goodness inside. I have tried the blueberry stuffed method and it works great. The other i alpine rasberries where available. I wish I knew the difference between the good mushrooms and the bad. I can only identify chantrelles which I have never found in the alpine.

The reason I mention boiled trout is because it works great when you add it to a pasta. There is nothing wrong with this method. Especially if you are above treeline where fires are outlawed. The flavor is still there

As far as cooking recipies at home, lets discuss this seperately from the original topic.

I don't agree with the statement regarding the costal cutthroat. The are very abundant in the PNW. If they exist in an alpine lake, I will eat them. Granted, I will only eat a couple and release the rest.



Idiot Savant
Try this...

Trout to me is a very bony fish, so it's C&R only for me. But if I was to do one up, here's how. Get your frying pan hot and add half butter and olive oil, mince very fine onion, preferably Walla Walla sweets, ground black pepper, and a good dusting of dill. Just long enough to call it done, let the flavors mix and dig in.


Good things come to those who wade...


Mark Steudel
Caught without alum foil?

I used to be big into edible plants that grow naturally ... one thing that works pretty well if you don't have a grill is to get a large amount of rock weed (the yellow seaweed that has the little sacks that you can pop) and stack that ontop of your fire. You can then just lay the fish right ontop of it and cook it that way. It's kinda neat to try and use natural items to cook.

But I do usually bring a grill and stuff. Two methods I use

1. put butter, lemon pepper, and sliced lemons ontop of fish filets, wrap in alum. foil, cook.

2. put butter, red hot pepper, salt, pepper, garlic powder, sugar. onions if you have em. wrap in alum. foil and cook.