A true sportsman never goes hungry when there is a stream, lake or river nearby. Cooking fish caught on your own line is often the most rewarding part of any fisher's day, the freshness and flavor of freshly caught seafood is exceptional and nothing is as easy to prepare for a camp cook as freshly caught fish.
There are two very popular methods for preparing fish waterside. Both can easily be done in a nominally stock camp and can be adjusted to suit local tastes and preferences. However, there are a few steps that must be completed prior to preparing the day's catch. It is best to have a single person designated to complete the cooking process for simplicity's sake and to ensure no steps are skipped along the way.
When preparing fresh fish the first step is to remove the head and gut the fish, this is easily accomplished utilizing a sharp knife and slitting the fish from neck to tail. Be careful to rinse thoroughly and check for stray hooks or fishing gear. The entrails removed from the fish make excellent bait for the next day. If you are disposing of the waste, rather than reusing it, be sure to walk it far from camp for safety reasons, bears and bobcats can be attracted quickly to the smell of an easy meal. Scale the fish by rubbing against the grain of the scales with a metal spoon and rinse the fish with cold water.
Traditional cooking methods call for impaling the fish on a hardwood branch over open coals and this remains the chosen method of most fishermen. Be careful to not use softwoods or poisonous plants. Many camp cooks rub the fillet with butter or oil to prevent drying. Cook until the fish is tender.
For cooks that are overwhelmed with the thought of cooking over an open fire or those wishing to avoid the exposure to charcoal, foil packet cooking has gained popularity in camp cooking habits in recent years. Simply place a fillet of your favorite type on a square of foil, add vegetables and herbs (these can even be gathered by hand, consider root vegetables and wild onions or dill. Throw in a dash of oil and fold the foil into a packet shape and toss directly on the coals. Cook for 5 to 10 minutes depending on fish type and thickness and enjoy!