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The Manual: Backcountry Fly-Fishing

Find fish-jumping action, spot streamside sanctuaries, and--if you're allowed to keep your catch--pull divine meals from pristine waters.
skills fly fish 445x260Illustration by Supercorn

COOK THE WHOLE FISH
Backcountry fish are smaller than their frontcountry kin, so filleting can be impractical. Cook them whole and add a dusting of salt and pepper for a gourmet campfire meal.
>> Dispatch the fish with a fast blow to its head and rub vigorously in a stream to remove the natural slime layer. Don’t sweat the scales; cooked skin slips easily from the flesh.
>> To gut the fish, slice its belly from the throat to the front of the anal fin. Cut the skin and flesh only, leaving entrails intact. Make a second cut below the jaw, perpendicular to its spine. Grasp the loosened jaw and pull (with attached innards) toward the tail. Scrape out the bloodline.
>> Brush with olive oil and pan fry, covered, over medium heat. High heat burns the exterior before the inner meat can cook. When the flesh flakes with a fork, it’s done.

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