I find it odd that most paddlers don’t fish while on a trip. I grew up fishing with my father and he’d roll over in his grave if I didn’t cast a line while paddling across the countless lakes and rivers in Northeastern Ontario.
Throughout my travels in the Region I’ve got to know a few hot spots for canoe tripping and angling. A late spring run down the Tatachikapika River to fish the feeder streams for brook trout is a favorite of mine. I put in at Tata-Chika-Pika Lodge in Gogama and take three days to reach the Highway takeout. The Grassy River is also a great trip for walleye and pike. For lake trout, Temagami’s Lady Evelyn Lake, especially the south end, is amazing.
Fishing really adds to a trip. There’s nothing like cooking up fresh fish after a few days of those pre-packaged dehydrated meals. Of course, always have a back-up meal packed in case the fish aren’t biting. But if you’re lucky enough to catch something, then take note that the sooner you eat it, the better. Fish taste best when they are prepared within hours—or minutes—of catching them. There are also countless recipes to spice up each meal. Here are a few of my favourites from my cookbook The New Trailside Cookbook and my book Wilderness Pleasures.
SANTE FE FISH CAKES
1 lb walleye or pike
1 cup all-purpose flour
2 cups dried potato flakes
2 tbsp. cilantro
1 tsp. dehydrated jalapeno pepper
½ tsp. dried onion
½ cup cornmeal
1 egg white or ½ cup powdered egg
1 cup dehydrated salsa
½ tsp. salt
½ tsp. pepper
* for best results use an Outback Oven
In a small pot combine reconstituted potatoes flakes, fish pieces, cilantro, jalapeno, onion, salt, and pepper. Divide contents into small bundles and shape them into round cakes. Dredge in flour. Dip them in egg white (or reconstituted powdered egg). Dredge them again in cornmeal. Bake in deep-dish frying pan or Outback Oven for 20 minutes. Reconstitute salsa sauce in 1/4 cup boiling water and serve on top of fish cakes.
BAKED TROUT AMANDINE
4 small brook trout
1/4 cup bread crumbs
1/4 cup finely chopped almonds
½ tsp. pepper
1 Tbs dried lemon thyme
1 Tbs dried sage
In a small pot combine bread crumbs, almonds, lemon thyme, sage, and pepper. Mix well. Sprinkle contents of pot over skin side of gutted trout. Roll trout in tin foil with lemon slices and bake in coals of campfire for 15 minutes.
ROAST LAKE TROUT
1 medium size lake trout – gutted, not filleted
1 small walleye fillet (or walleye cheeks if you have them)
2 fresh lemons
1 medium white onion
A few good pinches of lemon pepper spice
1 McIntosh apple sliced into chunks*
1/4 to 1/2 a cup of butter (depending on the size of fish)
Step 1: Gut and de-head the lake trout and lay it on top of a square of tin foil
Step 2: Fill the cavity of the lake trout with the cut-up lemon, apples, onion, butter, and walleye.
* The apples help keep the meat moist while baking.
Step 3: Sprinkle on lemon pepper, wrap fish up in tin foil and place in hot coals for 20-30 minutes, turning it over halfway through.
Step 4: Remove from fire, open tin foil and peel or flake off meat (skin will stick to foil)