I wasn’t expecting the lower Kesagami River to be full of Brook Trout. I’d been told that the trout are way up river. Turns out, that’s all thats in the river once you get a ways down from Lake Kesagami.
I was casting for Pickerel with a jig head armed with a 3″ Mr. Twister grub when I got a powerful strike. I was using very strong, bradded line, and my drag was tight, but the fish fought so hard it bent the hook on my jig and got off! In the process, I saw what looked like a large square tail breech the surface, I was momentarily stunned; Brook Trout I said to myself, shocked by the size of it. Soon, I’d caught and released several trophy size Brookies. It was hard for me to even catch a smaller, eating sized one! They were all beasts.
With water levels in the river unseasonably high, it took me a while to find where the trout were hiding. They weren’t in the small shore eddies, or behind mid river boulders, and surprisingly, few were in the eddies at the base of rapids and falls like they usually are. It took some puzzled thinking, and several worried casts before I found where they were hiding. They were gathered in large numbers at the mouths of slow moving tributaries, especially ones with weed beds at their mouths. From then on, every time I’d see a spot like this it was game on. And a few of the trout I tangled were in the 3.5 to 4lb range.
After I ran some rapids and completed a short portage, I made camp at the base of a series of ledges. It was time to prepare one of my favorite meals. Fresh trout cooked on an open fire. There’s nothing like it.
Here’s how to prepare trout, and bake it in the coals of your camp fire:
Cleaning Brook Trout:
1. Using a sharp knife, start your cut from the anus and follow the bottom of the fish to the head.
2. Cut the head off starting from the top, but don’t cut through the entrails in the process.
3. pull downwards on the head and all the entrails will pull out with it. Discard the head and guts a good distance from camp. Note: Gourmet chefs leave the head on. If you have room in your pan, go for it. Pull the guts out with your hand and cut out the red gills.
4. Scrape out the blood line on the back of the spine with your thumb nail and wash the fish off.
5. Cut off the tail. Note: if you’re frying the fish, and you have room in your pan, you may want to leave the tail on as it turns in to a crispy treat that tastes like a potato chip when fried in oil.
Baking Trout in Tinfoil:
1. Get a fire going and create a nice coal bead.
2. Lay out a sheet of tinfoil and spread grease over it in a large enough area to cover your fish. Butter, margarine, or cooking oil work well for this.
3. Season your fish. In this video I use Gourmet Grill seasoning by Fish Crisp
4. Cut up a garlic clove and put some pieces on top, underneath and inside the fish.
5. Wrap the fish up in the tinfoil and fold up the ends so the grease doesn’t leak out.
6. Add a second layer of tinfoil to the fish
7. Place the tinfoil warped fish onto the coals of the fire.
8. Flip the fish using work gloves, tongs or two sticks. The larger your fish, the longer it will take to cook. For a 1lb trout on hot coals, 5 minuets on either side should be ample.
9. Take your fish off the fire, let cool, unwrap and enjoy!