First, catch your trout!

  • 21/12/2015

Summer is here and the time is right for putting a fresh-caught trout or salmon on the BBQ.

20140605 163625Freshwater fishing is one of the few holiday activities which not only provides a great day’s recreation but hopefully also puts food on the table for your family and friends. You can literally taste success!

Right: Delicious! Filleted trout all ready for smoking.

Trout are found throughout New Zealand, while the prime salmon spawning runs are confined to the South Island, mostly on the east coast. To catch one, you need to get a licence from Fish & Game and then get out fishing on some of this country’s beautiful lakes and rivers.

There are various ways to cook your catch – the simplest is to gut your trout and then wrap it in tinfoil with a little lemon, butter, herbs and seasoning and cook it on the BBQ – delicious!

The most popular and traditional method to cook trout is smoking. This is very simple using hot smokers (fuelled by methylated spirits), which are available at most fishing retailers and hardware stores.

Gut and clean the trout. Cut off the head and tail. Butterfly the fish - cut lengthways from the front down one side of the backbone, but don't cut right through. You want both halves still connected by the skin, then fold both halves out with the skin side down.

Either soak in a salt and brown sugar brine for a few hours, or overnight in the fridge, or if you're in a real hurry, sprinkle salt/sugar over the flesh while you organise the smoker. Rinse off most of the salt and sugar, pat dry with a paper towel, sprinkle with a little more fresh salt and sugar, and place the fish skin down on a rack in the smoker. Cook for 20 minutes.

One helpful tip is to make a tinfoil cover for the fish because some hot smokers can let the fumes condense under the lid which then drips down onto the fish, causing a very bitter taste where it lands. Your tinfoil 'umbrella' will prevent this.

When it's ready, carefully lift your trout out of the smoker and take out the bones. If the trout is cooked properly, these bones should come away easily.

This is wonderful with a fresh, green salad or just with a crisp loaf of bread and butter.

Because trout is so mild, it's very versatile - equally at home pan-fried in white wine and garlic or steamed with fresh Thai flavours as in this recipe.


1 x 250 gram trout, gutted and washed
1 Tbsp of cilantro, finely chopped
3 garlic cloves, crushed
Juice from 1 lime 1 chili, finely chopped
1.5 Tbsp of fish sauce
3/4 tsp of sugar
1 Tbsp of water
Steamed rice
Chinese broccoli


Turn the oven grill on
Wash the trout and pat it dry with a paper towel
In a small bowl mix together the crushed garlic, lime juice, cilantro, chilli and sugar. Stir well. Add 1 Tbsp of water and stir again
Place the trout in a large piece of foil. Crimp the foil into the shape of a boat and twist the ends closed
Pour the sauce over the fish and a little inside it
Crimp the foil tightly so that no steam or liquid can escape
Place the fish in a large baking dish and then bake for 20-25 minutes
Remove fish from the oven and carefully open the foil
Serve fish in foil or filet it and serve it with the sauce poured on top with steamed rice and Chinese broccoli

If you want to know more about trout and salmon fishing, visit our Fishing pages here and click on Getting Started, Where to Fish and Fishing FAQs.

You can also buy your licence here including Short Break and Long Break ideal for holidaymakers (or from accredited sports shops and other outlets).


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