There’s nothing better than a shore lunch to complete a day of fishing. Try these methods to get the most from your next catch
A fishing trip just isn’t complete without a freshly cooked shore lunch—it’s one of those great Canadian experiences. At midday, fishing parties can relax and enjoy the daily special of just-caught fish, rounded off with potatoes, onions, creamed corn or pork and beans and other treats. Sometimes, a shore lunch is as much a highlight of a backcountry outing as the fishing itself. That is, of course, if you take the time to properly prepare your catch.
The best fresh fish for a shore lunch are medium-sized pike or walleye. If you’re going to deep-fry the fillets, it’s best to first cut them into cubes so they cook quickly and thoroughly—ditto if you’ll be wrapping them in aluminum foil. Leave the skin on, however, if you’re planning to grill your fillets over a red-hot bed of campfire coals. With that, here are a few ways to fix up some fresh fillets.
Put a few tablespoons fish coating, add salt and pepper, to taste, and a blend of your favorite spices. For example, use various combinations of onion and garlic powders, dill seed, peppercorn, oregano, paprika and thyme. You can also use store-bought seasoning spices such as Lemon & Pepper, Old Bay Seasoning, Cavender’s All Purpose Greek Seasoning or Mrs. Dash Original Seasoning Blend, which also works well with grilled fish. (Note: these same spices can also be added to the fillets cooked in foil.) Next, place the cubed fish in the bag and dredge with the coating mixture. Add a ½ inch of vegetable oil or shortening) to a cast iron skillet and heat over the campfire coals until it bubbles. Place the coated fillets in the oil in small batches, and deep-fry for a few minutes; they’ll turn golden brown and flake when they’re ready.
Place fillets skin-side down on a grill over a bed of hot coals, then season with your favorite spices. You can use Knorr’s Herb & Garlic marinade, as well as salad dressings such as Hidden Valley’s Original Ranch or Kraft’s Catalina as all add great flavor. Next, cover the filets with foil or an aluminum roasting pan and grill for about 15 minutes. You can also place the fillets inside a hand-held grill to cook them over the coals, turning them every 2 to 3 minutes.
Spread pre-cut hash browns and a diced Spanish onion on a large double layer of foil; top with a layer of well-seasoned, cubed fillets, then add 2 cans of sliced mushrooms, 1 can of cream of mushroom soup and ¼ cup of butter. Fold the foil over top of everything and roll up the edges to ensure a tight seal. Place fish-side down on a grill over a bed of hot coals. Bake until the foil puffs out—about 20 minutes total—turning the package every 2 to 3 minutes (use gloves). Open up, dish up and eat up.
Deep-fried sliced potatoes—or pre-cut hash brown potatoes and sliced onions, fried in butter or vegetable oil—are a standard shore lunch side dish, along with cans of pork and beans or corn, heated on a grill. Almost any brand of beans or corn does the job. You’ll be famished by the time the chow’s ready, what with all the fresh air, and you’ll definitely be looking forward to a calories fix.
Be sure to enjoy a hot or cold beverage while enjoying your shore lunch depending on what the weather’s doing. Then it’s time to kick back and enjoy whatever goes for dessert while the scent of wood smoke hangs in the air.
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