Saturday, January 13, 2007

Fresh Fish

Today is the opening of the winter lake trout fishing season on Gunflint. Cold weather and some snow last week have finally gotten all our ski trails up and running. In fact, it was quite cold this morning. I had -15 below on the house this morning. It was one of those walk mornings where I put on every layer of clothing available.

Fishermen were not anxious to get out on the lake early this morning. The ice is safe but not quite ready for vehicles to drive on. At these temperatures, you really have to dress warmly and not leave any exposed flesh when riding a snowmobile. I can see several ice houses on the lake. We have also heard machines going past us on the lake.

Even though Bruce and I do not get out fishing much, I still look forward to the opening of the season. By now frozen fish are not my favorite. We really are snobs about the fish we eat. The opportunity to have fresh, caught-today, fish happens regularly during the summer. Dennis Todd, one of the lodge guides, stops by often with fish. Also we generally do well when we do get out fishing.

Another favorite time for fresh fish is on a canoe trip. Last year we caught just enough for dinner during the afternoon. When your dinner fish was swimming in the lake two hours earlier, it is the best of all possible meals. Another way to serve fish on a canoe trip is for appetizers.

Years ago we used to fly into Canada on fishing trips with 4-6 adults and 10 or more children. We would go out fishing about 9-10:00 in the morning. The kids all learned to drive boats. Each boat was told how many fish to bring in. Since the kids all had licenses, we could catch more than enough for our meals. About 3:00 we would come in from fishing. The meal prepared then was our big meal of the day. It always started out with fish appetizers that Bruce fried over an outside open fire. It was unbelievable how many fish those kids could eat. Sometimes Bruce would spend an hour frying enough fish.

Even when we travel to other parts of the country, we look for small local restaurants that offer fresh fish. Going south to Florida, we need at least one catfish dinner. Once in Florida there is grouper and snapper and shrimp and everything else to pick from. Just thinking about it makes my mouth water.

When we travel overseas, there is calamari, and clams and mussels to pick from. On a trip to Turkey we had whole fish baked in a cocoon of salt. During the baking process, the salt hardened until it had to be removed with a hammer at the table. After removing the salt, the skin was peeled back to reveal steaming hot, melt in your mouth, fish. Because the skin prevented the salt from touching the fish flesh, there was no excessive salt taste.

But right now my mouth is ready for fresh lake trout. I will have to kick Bruce out onto the lake tomorrow. With a little luck we can have stuffed and baked trout for dinner. I just make a bread dressing seasoned with onions, celery, salt, pepper and a little poultry seasoning. For fish I also add a chopped apple to the dressing.

Think about us Sunday night about 6:00 p.m. The fish should be just about ready to come out of the oven.

No comments: