|In this issue:
Video Site is up and running. If you have hi-speed
here to see some great short fishing video clips. We've
added a few new UNDERWATER Videos
Wyndy River Expeditions & Guest Ranch offers the finest in
Ontario wilderness horseback vacations, including fully guided
backcountry lodge rides, remote camp wilderness expeditions,
backcountry pack-in drop camps & seasonal pack-in service.
Wyndy River operates in one of North America's last wilderness
frontiers. Located deep in the boreal forest, straddling the Arctic
Watershed, Wyndy River is home to countless lakes, rivers & streams.
The foothills of Northeastern Ontario offer some of the most
spectacular scenery found anywhere in the Province. There are no
park or territory boundaries to limit access. You are truly
exploring Canada's wide-open wilderness & rugged terrain. Trails
wind their way through tall jack & white pine forests, across creeks
and rivers, and up through mountain terrain only accessible by
horseback. You'll see moose, timber wolves, black bears, lynx, bob
cats, eagles and many other animals that inhabit the Northeastern
All our trips and services are strictly first class, with
professional guides licensed and trained in British Columbia, modern
lodge accommodations, deluxe remote camps, high quality meals, and
personalized attention to every guest. Our horses are the finest in
the business and our equipment is always in excellent, dependable
condition. We are able to customize our packages to exactly fit your
"Fish on the Plate" By Justin Hoffman
If there's one thing I've discovered after spending all these
years out on the water, it's that fresh fish sure tastes good. No
matter what specie it is, be it bass, walleye or crappie, the
tempting aroma and mouth-watering flavour they exhibit might be the
closest thing to pure perfection that I can think of.
Even though I release the majority of fish that are unlucky
enough to strike my lure, I believe that bringing one or two home
for the dinner table is a right of passage that should be embraced
by everyone that chooses to cast a line. (Knowing what to do with
your catch, whether that means filleting, freezing or preparing,
will be your ultimate recipe and test for success.) So go and grab
an apron - Fish Cooking 101 is about to begin.
The Initial Catch
If your skill and tactics are up to snuff for catching a fish
for the table, then a plan and strategy must be worked out from the
minute your hook is removed from its yap. Firstly, be extra careful
when handling your catch. Dropping your fish to the floor, or
allowing it to flop around at your feet will do nothing but bruise
the flesh - a definite route on the way to poor quality. Keep
handling to a minimum, and if possible, use a net make the landing
quick and effortlessly.
Once in the boat, your main objective is to keep your quarry
alive. Livewells are a great feature for accomplishing this task,
and your fish friend will continue to swim and breathe until you get
back to the dock or your doorstep. If a livewell isn't available, a
stringer tied to the side of the boat is your next best bet. Make
sure the fish have plenty of leeway in the rope, and that they are
not thrashing against one another, or the side of the boat. Keeping
your catch alive will ensure optimum freshness and firm flesh - the
necessary ingredients for a top-notch dinner.
If you don't have a livewell or stringer at your disposal, your
only option is to immediately kill your catch. Filleting or gutting
the fish will ensure that the meat doesn't spoil, or get
contaminated from the body fluids. Once prepared in this manner, the
fish should be placed on ice (and covered over), and put into a
tightly sealed cooler. This will help in preserving the meat until
you make it back to the kitchen.
Preparation is Key
If you've kept your fish alive up to this point, it's now time
to get out the fillet knife. For best results, choose a knife that
sports a thin, flexible blade. (This will allow better
manoeuvrability for maximizing the most meat.)
And even though it's common sense, an ultra sharp blade is a
necessity. I always have on hand a filing stone or knife sharpener,
in order to give the metal a quick touch up before each "operation"
For most fish I cook, including bass, walleye, perch and crappie,
filleting is my method of choice. (I won't go into detail on the
precise instruction, although information can be found quite easily
throughout the worldwide web.) Filleting is quite simple once you
get the hang of it, and like most things in life, practice certainly
For small trout, gutting the fish is often the preferred choice.
This process involves cutting the head and tail off, while scraping
out the gut and innards from the belly section. (Many also remove
the backbone fat due to possible contaminants being stored there.)
Lastly for larger fish species, especially salmon and trout,
cutting the meat into steaks will get the job done nicely.
The Deep Freeze
Unless you are going to eat your fish immediately, storing it in
your freezer is the only viable option for saving it for a rainy
day. How you choose to store it; however, will either make or break
the taste and quality. (The two common problems with frozen seafood
is the development of off-flavours due to the oxidation of tissue
lipids, and freezer burn, which is caused by moisture loss.)
Here is a guide showing the approximate storage life for the common
species of fish kept:
Species Months of Storage
Lake trout, rainbow trout, whitefish, carp, catfish, lake
herring, smelt, northern pike 3-5
Chinook salmon, Coho salmon, white bass, sucker,
Walleye, yellow perch, bass, crappie, bluegill 8-12
Once your fish is fully cleaned and prepared, thoroughly wash the
meat in cold water. After this stage is complete, it's now time to
choose a freezing method from one on the list below.
Vacuum Packaging -- This is the most effective method for
protecting fish against the two types of problems associated with
freezing fish - oxidation and freezer burn. Although this system can
be pricey, the rewards are well worth the initial cost of the unit
and the accompanying oxygen-barrier film bags.
A vacuum unit literally sucks the air out of the bag containing
the fish, leaving a tight, sealed package. With the absence of air,
most problems associated with freezing are diminished or eliminated.
Plastic Wrap -- The second best choice when it comes to freezing
is the common plastic wrap. In order for this method to work, apply
the plastic as tightly as possible to the fish. (This will form a
moisture barrier that will greatly reduce the chance for freezer
Once wrapped with the cling-tight plastic, wrap the package again
with several layers of butcher paper or aluminum foil for full
Freezer Bags -- Freezer bags are a common and popular choice for
the fishing enthusiast, and are quite effective when used properly.
When placing fish into bags, the most common problem encountered
is trying to remove all of the air. A handy trick to try is to
insert a straw into the opening at the top, and literally suck the
oxygen out. Another tip to try is to freeze the package for a few
days, then re-open the bag and add a little cold water, manipulating
it throughout to cover all areas of the fish while eliminating air
pockets. It can now be put back into the freezer for storage.
Once you have decided it is time to have a feed of fish, thawing
your package before cooking is the route to take. The preferred
method is to place the package directly in the refrigerator, which
should take approximately a day for a pound in weight.
If time is of the essence, placing the freezer bag in a tub of
cold water is a great technique. (Depending on thickness and weight,
an average package should take 1-2 hours before it is complete.)
The microwave is the fastest method available, but one to be
careful with. Always set the oven to defrost, and monitor closely
for readiness. Placing the frozen fish in a closed package, glass
baking dish or loosely wrapped in waxed paper will help the process
along. It is imperative that you only partially defrost the fish, as
microwaving it too long will ultimately cook the outer edges.
You've finally reached the stage where it's time to actually cook
the fish. Congratulations!! There are literally thousands of recipes
and methods for cooking fish, and with so many options, the variety
of delicious meals you can serve up is limitless. Happy cooking and