I went fly fishing the other day on one of my favorite streams. The weather was hot and the usual lush, green mountains were a late August brown. Dust as fine as double ought flour filled the air behind my truck as we made our way several miles up a dirt road to the rivers edge. I had my son, my best friend and his son along for the trip. This was the first fly fishing trip of the season where all of us were able to fish together. Usually by this time of the year we would have several trips under our belt, but not this year. It is getting more difficult to schedule fishing trips into everyone’s busy work and family schedule.
It felt good to put my feet back into a river after a long absence. There is nothing more relaxing then to cast your fly to a rising trout while listening to the sounds of the flowing river and its symphony of birds, cicadas, crickets and grasshoppers.
I have come to the conclusion that fly fishing is like riding a bike. Even though you may not ride a bike for years, when you do get back on one it is second nature to you and off you go. The same is true with fly fishing for me. Even after a long period of not casting my fly line, I was able to quickly get back into my casting rhythm. Short casts, log casts, pile casts, roll casts, s casts and all sorts of other casts found their mark to rising fish. It was very comforting to know that I had not lost the skills I had spent so many years honing.
I caught a dozen nice size cutthroat and brown trout. I released all but two fish that were destined for the dinner table. One was a 14 inch cutthroat and the other was a chunky 16 inch brown trout. That brown was the largest fish I caught on the stream that day. I had cast a #14 Royal Wulff 5 inches from the shore when this behemoth smashed the fly and made a b-line to the middle of the stream. After a decent fight, the fish was landed and I immediately knew this fish would make an excellent meal.
I prepared the fish with a recipe that used as many of my fresh herbs that are growing in my garden. The following is the recipe;
1 bunch of parsley
1 bunch chives
4 sprigs of oregano
6 sprigs of thyme
1 bunch of basil
Wash fish in cold water and dry thoroughly. Leave the skin on the fish. This will protect the flesh from the extreme heat of the wood oven.
Cut diagonal slits into both sides of the fish.
Rub olive oil all over the outside and inside of the fish.
Season fish with salt, pepper and garlic powder.
Wash and dry all herbs.
Stuff all herbs into the cavity of the trout and squeeze lemon juice over fish.
Place fish on oiled grill grate over wood coals.
Cook fish in hot oven and turn fish to cook both sides. In a wood oven the fish will cook especially fast if the temperature in the dome is over 1000 degrees. Be careful not to burn the fish. The skin will protect the flesh from burning to a point.
Remove fish from the bones and discard any burnt skin. Serve with fresh grilled vegetables from your garden and rice. This fish recipe pairs well with a crisp Sauvignon Blanc.
If you do not have access to a trout stream or lake many grocery stores now sell farm raised rainbow trout. Try this recipe the next time you cook trout. You will enjoy it!