Cleaning and Cooking Trout While Backpacking

Cleaning and Cooking Trout While BackpackingEating fresh fish while camping or backpacking is a great experience. Not only is it food you didn't have to carry in, it also tastes way better than most of the food you did bring.


Difficulty: Moderate

Things You’ll Need:
  • Sharp knife
  • Aluminum foil
  • Spices (or dehydrated backpacking meals)
  • Fire
Step 1
Gut the trout. Hold the fish firmly in one hand with the bottom facing you. Using the sharp knife, start near the tail, cutting from the anus (the little hole on the bottom of the fish) toward the head. Keep the cut fairly shallow, cutting just the skin and not ripping the intestines.
Step 2
Cut off the fish's head. Pulling the head off at this step of the process often saves time, since all or most of the intestines come out with it.
Step 3
Remove any organs remaining in the cut area. The trout really starts looking like food at this point.
Step 4
Use your finger or knife to push/scrape out the bloodline running along the spine. Dip the trout back in the lake and give it a good rinse.
Step 5
Spice the inside of the trout. If you don't pack spices, use a few pinches from dehydrated backpacking meals.
Step 6
Wrap the prepared trout in aluminum foil. Fold the edges of the foil multiple times to seal in moisture.
Step 7
Place the foil-wrapped trout on a hot grill or rock near your fire. You can also place it directly on a bed of coals. Flip the foil after 6 to 7 minutes and cook for another 6 minutes. Remove the fish from the fire and enjoy. The scales often stick to the foil, and the meat should come right off the bones, making it easy to get boneless, scaleless fish on your fork.

Tips & Warnings

Short blades like those on a pocket knife give you the best control when cutting the fish.
Watch your fingers, and be careful when cutting the fish.

Article Written By Johnnie Chamberlin

Johnnie Chamberlin lives and works in Bloomington, Ind. He holds a Master of Science in civil and environmental engineering from Duke University and a Bachelor of Arts from UC Berkeley. Over the last five years, he has written numerous articles for several magazines,, and other websites. He is the author of "Trails of Little Rock."

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