Intro: Fresh Trout Breakfast
This is a Trout Breakfast consisting of a breaded fresh Speckled Trout Filet two eggs home fries and sliced tomatoes and zucchini. Trout season opened this week so I am going to take you from the field and stream to the plate in the preparation of a Fresh Trout Breakfast. As I have said before my wife loves it when I go fishing, I always catch fish and she gets a break from cooking.
Step 1: The Rivers
The rivers I fish near my home are small as you can see compared to the Canada Geese in the photo. Most of the rivers in south western Ontario start near my home so they are small and other than during spawning when the trout season is closed so are most of the fish small. This is why I use a technique called Slack Line fishing. I have eaten all these fish here but the Common Shiner. With the fishing method I use you catch everything in the river these are the different fish I caught in one day.
Step 2: The Fish I Catch
Hornyhead chubs mainly inhabit small rivers and streams. The range of this fish is the northern central USA, up into Canada. The adults inhabit faster, rocky pools of rivers. The adults usually 6 to 8 inches have a red to yellow belly and little horns on top of head. I have caught these up to 10 inches in the rivers around my home.
The Horneyhead Chub near my home have two rows of horns just above the eyes giving them there name. These are a very good eating fish and they have twice the meat of a trout the same size and they are a good survival food.
Common Creek Chub
Common Creek Chub is found in the eastern two-thirds of the US and eastern Canada. It inhabits small streams and very small rivers. The average chub ranges in size from 5-7 inches in length; I have caught these as large as 8 inches in the rivers around my home. They can be identified by the black stripe on their sides, along with a black dot on their dorsal fin. Additionally, juvenile males develop a rosy band on their side, along with glossy, dark dorsal fin spots and are sometimes called Rainbow Chub. Although not as big as a Horneyhead Chub they have twice the meat of a trout the same size and they are a good survival food.
During the breeding season males get small keratin based bumps, each of which is called a tubercle, on their head which are used in ritualized combat.
These get up to six inches in the rivers around my home I have never eaten one. These fish have a unique way of laying there eggs, they have sex and the female then deposits the eggs in fresh water mussels.
Like I said the fish are small near to where I live most of the trout are 8 to 12 inches during the open season, we call these pan-fries. Two weeks prior to Trout season opening I spotted dozens of trout in this same river as large as 20 inches. Most of the larger trout have spawned and headed for deeper cooler water for the summer. The only trout open year round near my home are Lake Trout and Splake.
This is the largest trout I caught on this day, probably a late spawn that did not leave the river yet, it is a sixteen inch Speckled Trout. Some of the trout this size will remain in deep pools in the rivers into the summer when the water gets to warm they head for deep water. A Brook Trout this size is considered a trophy fish by many people.
Other than pan-fries Rainbow Trout only come to these streams to spawn and then return to the lakes they came from. The fries may stay in the rivers for a couple years. Rainbow Trout this size will be leaving the rivers soon. You can tell them from young Speckled Trout by the rosy band on their side.
Small Mouth Bass
This is the second and third good size fish I caught unfortunately bass season does not open until late June so I had to return them to the river. There are over 100 different species of fish open year round where I live, this makes keeping a fish during the closed season unnecessary unless you are survival fishing.
Step 3: The Method Slack Line Fishing
Slack line fishing is called slack line for two reasons first you are fishing a slack in the current as seen in this photo. The current enters this pool on the far side bringing food from upstream into the slack water in the pool where the fish are waiting to be fed.
The second reason this method is called slack line fishing is all you need is line, a medium size hook, and bate. No sinkers, bobbers or any other fishing gear is necessary, this makes slack line fishing ideal for survival fishing. However I am going to use my favorite rod and reel a customized Shakespeare telescoping rod.
Bate the hook heavy, this makes it easy to cast it where you want it and makes it follow the current to the fish.
Let the line follow the current until your bate drops into the slack water, you can tell this when the line stops spooling out. Set your reel but do not tighten the line.
When the fish takes your bate the line will get tight.
Set the hook and start reeling in the fish, on this day I caught over 20 Chub, 15 Trout and two Bass in four hours in three pools on the same stretch of river, enough to feed a family in a survival situation.
Step 4: Leeks
On the way home I stopped at a hardwood bush and picked some wild leek leaves. We had a cold spell and the leeks haven’t matured as quickly as they normally do.
Since I didn’t have anything with me to dig up the leeks I just picked the leaves.
When I got the leek leaves home I washed them in the kitchen sink.
After washing I dry the leaves on a paper towel and cut them up with a pair of scissors and they are ready to garnish breakfast.
Step 5: Cleaning the Trout
I kept the good sized Speckled Trout and two of the Brook Trout that look like they were not going to survive.
When I got them home I took a sharp pair of scissors and starting from the anus cut up the bellies.
Scrape the insides of the fish out and rinse them in cold water.
When the trout are gutted place them in a dish of cold water to get the blood out of the meat. You can tell when the blood is out of the meat when the gills go from red to white or a light pink.
Step 6: Making the Coating
While I wait for the blood to soak out of the trout I make the coating and because I cook the pan-fry trout bones and all I use a dry coating and not a batter. For the dry coating you can use corn or wheat flower, cornmeal, crushed cornflakes or ricecrispies, and my favorite bread crumbs. To the bread crumbs I add a liberal sprinkling of black pepper, garlic powder, and parsley flakes.
My sons are notorious for not eating bread crusts so my wife dices the bread crusts dries them and stores them in large jars for later use in stuffing’s or as bread crumbs.
These can be made into crumbs by blending in a blender or as I did here placing the dry diced bread in a bowel and crushing them with another bowel.
Step 7: Fileting the Speckled Trout
Making skinless boneless filets is less complicated and easier than it looks. When the blood is soaked out of the Speckled Trout it is time to filet the trout.
Using a thin sharp knife start your cut just behind the gill flap cutting down to the spine.
Then cut along the spine to the tail but don’t cut the filet completely off and don’t worry if you take the ribs with the filet.
If you do take the ribs with the filet just place your knife with the blade side to the meat catching the ends of the ribs and trim out the ribs by following them.
Next trim the belly fat and any fins and fin bones.
Then trim the dorsal fat and any dorsal fin bones.
Once you have removed all the bones and fat it is time to remove the skin. Place the filet skin down holding it by the tail, starting at the tail cut the meat down to the skin.
Then sliding the knife between the meat and the skin separate the filet from the skin.
There you have it a skinless boneless filet except for very small Y bones that you will never notice.
Repeat these steps for the filet on the other side of the fish.
If you cut the filet completely off with the skin on just hold the skin to the cutting board with a fork to trim the meat away from the skin.
Step 8: Coating the Fish
Coating fish when they are wet is difficult, batter, egg white, and other coatings just slide right off. I don’t like to use paper towels they stick to the fish and cloth towels leave lint on the fish. My method of drying fish is to lay the fish on a wooden cutting board and let the wood soak up the water. Then I flip the fish over and let the wood dry the other side.
When the fish is dry mix and egg in a bowel and dip the fish filets in the egg making sure to coat both sides.
After coating the filets with egg dip them in the crumbs coating both sides, do the same for the pan-fries.
Step 9: Frying the Fish
In a large frying pan add oil until the oil is ½ of an inch deep and heat the oil on high. When the oil is hot place the filets in the oil for 2 minutes then flip them over and cook for 2 minutes and they are cooked. Do the same for the pan-fries.
Step 10: Serving the Fish
My wife did not like the idea of her fish looking at her when she ate it and she finds the raw leeks a little too hot for her tastes so I gave her the trout filets and zucchini slices with home fries, eggs, and tomatoes.
My youngest son and I had the pan-fry trout and raw wild leeks with home fries, eggs, and tomatoes.