With summer just around the corner, the Wild Steelheaders crew is feeling a bit nostalgic. Winter rods are packed up and summer steelhead are a ways away, and we’ve been finding ourselves daydreaming of tiny flies, drylines, baseball games, cherry pie, and some of the internet’s most prolific fishy blog posts. In the spirit of days gone by, we’re kicking off a series of Throwback Thursday posts, where we’ll feature content from some of the most memorable writers of the past decade, from blogs largely dead and gone.
Leading off is TU’s own Mark Hieronymus with a throwback to one of the best fishing-related blogs ever made: Buster Wants to Fish. You can find a revived version of the blog at https://busterwantstofish.wordpress.com/. In this post, Mark reminds us that hatchery steelhead are, indeed, tasty little critters.
A Friendly Reminder: Hatchery Steelhead Are Tasty.
While hatchery steelhead may be the new Zebra Mussel, there is no denying the fact that they are tasty morsels from the sea. Scourge or no, they go well with just a shake of salt and pepper, splashed with the slightest amount of vegetable oil.
Eating your hatchery steelhead, of course, is the end game – before any of this, you will have played your fish with speed so as to not build up any bitter lactic acid (or to release it mostly free of those same acids, be it a wild fish), and landed it in expedient fashion. Regardless of the fact that it is seen by some as the devilspawn and a plague upon Northwest watersheds, dispatch your hatchery steelhead with efficiency, dignity, and respect, preferably using the time-tested “driftwood shampoo” method. If you lack driftwood, anything with appropriate mass and heft will do, but be mindful of fingers, pets, and small children when administering the coup de grâce. When your fish has been rendered inert, remember to pop at least one gill arch to bleed it out…sweetens the meat, you understand. Keep it in a cool, moist condition, free from the damaging effects of wind, sun, and spilled drinks.
Once back in your domicile, allow the fish to lie in state in your fridge for 24 hours – the folks who eat fish straight out of the sea and claim it is better are unwashed heathen, and not to be trusted. Once it has gone through rigor mortis and has subsequently slacked out, reduce it to its component parts. If you do not know how to achieve the beauty that is the boneless fillet, allow our friends over at Alaska Fly Fishing Goods to show you how.
Once filleted, introduce your steelhead to its new friends – veggie oil, salt, and pepper. To put any more on it is to dilute the taste of years in the ocean, a crass covering-up of the flavor nuances that make it what it is. After a brief stint on foil over the medium-hot flame of your grill, remove your fillet and let it rest, covered, for about 5 minutes so the juices can redistribute their goodness throughout the meat. If so desired, a light mango salsa is an excellent accompaniment to your fish, and as it turns out, steelhead pairs quite well with good Rosé or Sauvignon Blanc.
The next time you go fishing, do yourself and some wild steelhead a favor – kill and eat a hatchery steelhead.