Anyone living in the Northeast this week will agree with the following statement,”It’s a bit nippy outside.” I actually think that is an understatement, the air burns your skin it is so cold outside. There is one enjoyable thing about cold weather besides the potential for snow, that is ice fishing!
Last weekend the MKFF RAGC crew assembled for our annual reorganization meeting. Not to be stuffy like any old hunting and fishing club, we opted to have a fish fry, with the Trout in our private club pond. Woodhead had previously purchased a deep fryer on sale at Dick’s.
The first ice is always an excellent time to set up a tip up, that is if you don’t mind the risk of getting wet. The fish lay there hungry since the ice has recently cut off their access to the outside world. The Trout circle around the lake, pond or other impoundment. They will quickly consume whatever food is available. I prefer to jig while other people like to use a Fathead or shiner to lure in the Trout.
Big enough Rainbow Trout can be filleted, those fillets can be deep fried or pan fried. Smaller Trout of any type can be pan fried without being filleted. Either way, properly prepared Trout has an excellent taste and texture.
Once the Trout that is worthy of filleting is captured the preparation must begin. We worked on preparation outside on a table in the snow, though the results were excellent, it took much longer than normal to prepare. It makes you start to understand how long it used to take hunter gatherer societies to prepare a meal.
To get started you have to gut the fish, that is remove all of its internal organs and clean out the blood and guts that may go along with that. It is not necessary to remove the Trout’s head, in fact it is much easier to remove the fillets with the head on. To start to fillet a Trout, I like to make a long cut along the length of back. I then cut a slit after the gill plate and begin to work the fillet off of the fish.
After the fillets are removed from the fish, you can cut them into smaller pieces and beer batter the fish. Some people like to remove the skin, generally with a Trout you do not have to. Once the beer batter has been applied, drop the Trout fillet into the boiling oil and let it cook for about three and a half minutes.
I made the mistake of dropping all of the fillets in at once so they fried together in something of a “Trout log.” Next time, the goal is to master the fillet and the deep fry. A more controlled environment such as the kitchen will help in this process.