Oct 25, 2013 at 7:02 am #1309122
I did a trip in the Sierras last Summer and did a lot of fly fishing. I used a MSR Blacklite pan to fry the trout that I ate. I have been thinking that it might make more sense to poach the trout I catch. Of course there are the options of roasting them on a stick or skewer, or of wrapping them in foil and placing them over coals if open fires are allowed.
I am a bit of a weight weenie so the fry pan rubs me the wrong way a bit, but it still isn't too hard to keep base weight around 10 pounds of so even with it and a few other splurge items.
So what method do you prefer and what gear do you use to accomplish it?Oct 25, 2013 at 8:22 am #2037717
Laurie Ann MarchMember
@laurie_annLocale: Ontario, Canada
Usually when we are fishing in a wilderness area we are are able to cook fish over a small cooking fire as there are existing fire pits. We put the fish in a small bit of foil which makes cleanup a bit easier or we grill it on a stick.
You could poach easily in a Ziploc bag.Oct 25, 2013 at 9:21 am #2037726
"You could poach easily in a Ziploc bag."
I wonder how well the following would work:
1. Boil some water.
2. Place trout in ziploc
3. Add some butter, herbs, salt, pepper, and maybe white wine if any of that is available
4. Add boiling water to ziploc
5. Place ziploc in an insulated cozy or wrap in some clothing
6. Wait for trout to cook while preparing some veggies and maybe a starch
7. Dinner is served!
Anyone done this or some variation?Oct 25, 2013 at 9:41 am #2037729
@andrew-fLocale: San Francisco Bay Area
In my experience you have to boil the fish for more than 5 minutes to cook them thoroughly, so I doubt that just putting them in a Ziploc with boiling water would cook them all the way. Poaching works just fine, but I don't think the fish tastes as good as when you fry them in a pan or cook them over the coals.Oct 25, 2013 at 9:44 am #2037731
@retiredjerryLocale: Oregon and Washington
"I don't think the fish tastes as good as when you fry them in a pan or cook them over the coals"
seems like a waste of a good fish to poach itOct 25, 2013 at 9:56 am #2037734
@ikeLocale: Central Michigan
I used to sprinkle them with olive oil, salt, and pepper, wrap them in foil, and place them on the coals. Tastes great this way, but I prefer not to have to pack out the fishy foil for recycling.
If I can't make fire, then I'll bring along thai rice noodle soup and poach bits of the fish in the hot broth.Oct 25, 2013 at 10:52 am #2037750
@richardglyonLocale: Bridger Mountains
I agree that frying or the foil method produces a tastier fish. Foil maybe a bit better for keeping the fish moist inside but as Ike says it's a mess to pack out the fishy foil. And a bear attractant too, probably. Jetboil with fry pan is my preferred method.Oct 25, 2013 at 11:08 am #2037762
@justin_bakerLocale: Santa Rosa, CA
Boiling is the easiest way.Oct 25, 2013 at 4:14 pm #2037847
A number of people have mentioned that fried trout taste better than poached trout. There's a reason for that: Flavor is spelled F-A-T. Fats and oil pick up, enhance, and increase flavor. That's why potato chips (which are fried) taste better than boiled potatoes (unless you put butter on them).
To make up for the lack of oil in poached trout, I make a powdered bullion mixed with garlic powder, cayenne pepper, and other tasty powders for my poaching liquid. It helps, but it's still not as good as fried!Oct 25, 2013 at 4:49 pm #2037858
@ouzelLocale: Pacific Northwest/Sierra
"I used to sprinkle them with olive oil, salt, and pepper, wrap them in foil, and place them on the coals. Tastes great this way, but I prefer not to have to pack out the fishy foil for recycling.
If I can't make fire, then I'll bring along thai rice noodle soup and poach bits of the fish in the hot broth."
+1 By far the 2 best ways, IMO.Oct 25, 2013 at 5:00 pm #2037860
@ouzelLocale: Pacific Northwest/Sierra
"A number of people have mentioned that fried trout taste better than poached trout. There's a reason for that: Flavor is spelled F-A-T. Fats and oil pick up, enhance, and increase flavor. That's why potato chips (which are fried) taste better than boiled potatoes (unless you put butter on them)."
Frying will also disperse volatile flavoring compounds into the air, where they will disperse on the breeze and bring every bear within a couple miles, if not more, to investigate. They will also adhere to your clothing. It is asking for trouble in bear country. Best option is to not fish in bear country. 2nd best is to use a less odorous method, like poaching or baking in foil and then burning the foil and its contents to an odorless crisp. IMO.Oct 25, 2013 at 9:07 pm #2037910
Not to diss anybody, but in Colorado, high elevation lake ecosystems are a tough place to grow up and live.
I've seen 16 – 18" trout that look like footballs in the fall and needle fish in the spring.
Harvesting fish makes more sense in warm water fisheries. My exception would be brook trout which overpopulate steams and lakes.
Just an opinionOct 25, 2013 at 9:21 pm #2037914
Policy statement for California Trout on planting of high elevation lakes in California.
California Trout places great emphasis on using objective science to determine policy. Many of our native trout are already listed as threatened, endangered, or species of concern. Now we have a new concern, amphibians are facing a global decline.
We face a dilemma over trout policy in the Sierra Nevada, and especially the high country above treeline. Over the years, starting with private activity, but mainly through the efforts of the California Department of Fish and Game, a recreational fishery was created in the lakes and streams. Both native and non-native trout have been planted, and non-native trout have been planted above native fisheries. This has resulted in downstream incursion to the detriment of native trout. Lakes have also been planted over and over even though the existing fish are reproducing. This has stunted the fish populations in these lakes; if left alone, it has been argued that some could become trophy trout lakes.
A more immediate problem is that introduced trout prey on Mountain Yellow-legged frogs. They prey on the tadpoles in high elevation lakes so efficiently that they can't co-exist. The result is a conflict because the frogs have declined to a point where they may be threatened with extinction.
To be sure the overall causes of frog decline are complex, and pesticides blown into the mountains as well as emergent diseases contribute to the decline of the frogs. Researchers have noted several factors that could be affecting these populations, including 1) Chytridiomycosis fungal infections, 2) Contaminants such as pesticides and acid rain, 3) Exotic species introductions such as trout and bull frogs, 4) Forest management practices, and 5) Ultra violet radiation. A substantial body of research seems to show that trout and frogs cannot co-exist in the high country lakes where the frogs are native and trout are not. The dilemma is what to do: keep the recreational fishery or reduce it or eliminate it altogether to save the frogs?
More than 70% of the lakes having trout have reproducing populations that are or would become essentially wild fish if trout stocking were halted. Backpack or horsepack trips into the high country to fish, especially to fish for wild California Golden trout, is a long standing tradition for many Californians. It is one millions of people would find truly difficult to give up.
On the other hand, maintaining bio-diversity within our wild lands is a constant struggle. Aldo Leopold once pointed out that a good tinkerer always saves all the parts, lest one be needed later. In the same way, while we've tinkered by planting trout, it would be a bad idea to let the frogs die out. The consequences are hard to predict and may be adverse to other species.
The historic range of the frogs includes meadow and stream habitat. The ecology of the Mountain Yellow-legged frog life history is not complete for mid-elevation sites, and the research on frogs in the high lakes is continuing. There is also much to be learned about the interaction of toxic contamination and disease on the fertility and immunity of the frogs. Scientists don't have all the answers so far.
It is encouraging that scientists have found lakes and streams that still have frogs. Many of these are isolated, however, and it appears necessary to remove trout from at least a few lakes in order to create habitat for viable populations that can withstand sudden adverse environmental events. Yet some proposals have suggested 20 to 30% of the lakes with trout should be gill netted to remove trout.
CalTrout feels that this is premature. Further study of habitat at low- to mid-elevations of the range of the Mountain Yellow-legged frog is prudent to determine which habitat type is best for recovery sites. The California Department of Fish and Game has recently announced a new policy intended to benefit the frogs by reducing the scope and frequency of trout planting in the Sierra Nevada. And the effects of diseases such as Chytridiomycosis fungal infections, which is present in the Sierra Nevada and has damaged or even eliminated populations of mountain dwelling frogs worldwide, needs to be assessed. It would make little sense to remove trout only to find the frogs perish anyway due to natural causes such as an epidemic disease.
Accordingly, CalTrout announces the following policy with regard to planting trout and removal of existing trout in the Sierra Nevada to help frogs:
1. Do not plant lakes that have self-sustaining fisheries.
2. Do not plant non-native fish above populations of native trout or other native fish species.
3. Set a target of not more than 10% of lakes having planted trout to be eradicated over the next 10-year period.
4. Make use of lakes already barren of trout for reintroduction of amphibians to the maximum extent feasible
5. Select for removal only lakes bearing species exotic to California such as Brook or Brown to the maximum extent feasible.
6. Select for removal only lakes without reproducing trout to the maximum extent feasible.
7. Select headwater lakes or isolated water bodies near known populations of amphibians until all habitat types have been tried to determine what is best for recovery of frogs.
8. Select only lakes without a history of high angler use or of producing trophy fish (16" or better for the High Sierra), and with low trout productivity to the maximum extent feasible.
This policy will allow scientists to fill in the gaps in the knowledge of the life history and habitat of the frogs and the way fish and frogs interact. After the fish are removed from a few lakes they can serve as “Living Laboratories,” for re-introductions of amphibians or other native species where historically they may have existed. We need to allow good science to proceed until there are facts to support the assumptions that are being made in the field.
We realize that this policy that allows some trout removals will not be acceptable to all of our members. Yet it is a logical and scientific solution to the dilemma. We encourage all members to get involved with the state and federal agencies working on this to help them determine which lakes are important to you and which ones are best suited to removal. A healthy environment with all the parts intact is worth conserving.Oct 25, 2013 at 10:27 pm #2037924
@justin_bakerLocale: Santa Rosa, CA
Lakes are big. Lots of fish. Wilderness lakes get very few visitors. It doesn't even make a dent in the fish populations. Almost all of these lakes were historically fishless and stocked for human recreation. Why not catch them and eat them?Oct 27, 2013 at 2:52 pm #2038383
I leave them in the lakes myself, but only because I prefer to fish rivers and streams especially small ones. I think it is perfectly reasonable to harvest a few trout where it is allowed.
I am not a big fan of the "put and take fishing" we have a lot of here in the east. They in many cases, put hatchery raised trout in streams where they have no chance of surviving the hot summer just for folks to fish them out in the spring shortly after they are stocked.
While I do release a lot of the fish I catch, I am not a big fan of folks who are too preachy about catch and release (not saying anyone here is). If you are opposed to eating fish on moral grounds I see no real way to justify catching them purely for your enjoyment.Oct 27, 2013 at 2:58 pm #2038385
Any non-native trout (and even rainbows in the Sierras can be non-native) taken from a lake means a better chance for yellow-legged frogs!Oct 27, 2013 at 4:51 pm #2038437
Not to rain on anyones parade. I was speaking with someone from resource management this summer in Tuolumne, and was told that NPS has told backcountry rangers to limit their intake of brown trout.
By Tony Barboza
August 1, 2013, 6:36 p.m.
Children and women of childbearing age should not eat bass, carp and larger brown trout caught in California lakes and reservoirs because they contain unhealthy levels of mercury, according to a state health advisory issued Thursday.
Instead, they should opt for wild-caught rainbow trout and smaller brown trout, which have less mercury and higher amounts of healthy Omega-3 fatty acids, the state Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment says. The agency also suggests women over 45 and men limit themselves to one serving per week of bass, carp or brown trout more than 16 inches long.
The warnings are the first to be issued statewide for freshwater fish and take effect immediately in hundreds of California lakes and reservoirs.
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.
"It's not our intent to scare people away from going out and catching fish and eating them, we just want to get them to think about which fish they're eating," said Robert Brodberg, lead fish toxicologist for California’s Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment. “We'd like to move people away from the fish that are higher in contaminants and toward those that are lower.”
Mercury, a poisonous metal that builds up in the flesh of fish, also accumulates in the bodies of people who eat them. Larger, predatory fish such as bass have more of the toxin, which concentrates in their tissues when they eat fish lower down on the food chain.
The persistence of mercury in California freshwater fish is a legacy of past mining activity, according to the state agency. But mercury is also a global pollutant generated from coal combustion and other industrial activity and deposited from the atmosphere.
Mercury can harm the brain and nervous system, particularly of children and fetuses, who are more susceptible to the poison because they are still developing.
California officials have previously issued local fish advisories for dozens of lakes, rivers, bays and stretches of coastline to protect anglers from fish contaminated with mercury, PCBs and other toxins. They include some three dozen lakes, San Francisco Bay and a "red zone” from Santa Monica to Seal Beach.
The new recommendations go into effect immediately for all lakes and reservoirs that are not covered by existing advisories.Oct 27, 2013 at 10:06 pm #2038535
Unless there is a mine up stream of the lake, I doubt that this warning would be truly applicable to Sierra high country lakes.Oct 27, 2013 at 10:12 pm #2038538
@b-g-2-2Locale: Silicon Valley
Yes, there are a few mines up really high, and I have seen fishermen working the streams below there. It doesn't seem like a very good idea. OTOH, there are very few mines that high. The Kearsarge Pass mines come to mind.
–B.G.–Oct 28, 2013 at 9:16 am #2038621
This is not a worry to me at all if I understand the problem correctly. My understanding is that the warning applies to big brown trout from lakes. I typically eat little trout from mountain streams.Oct 28, 2013 at 7:06 pm #2038887
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.Oct 28, 2013 at 7:36 pm #2038908
"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.Oct 28, 2013 at 7:52 pm #2038909
@gallen1119Locale: Golden, CO
I say we all stop eating carp as per the advisory!Oct 28, 2013 at 8:58 pm #2038949
@davidinkenaiLocale: North Woods. Far North.
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.Oct 29, 2013 at 1:30 pm #2039134
@skopeoLocale: British Columbia
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!
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