One on the many wonderful benefits of fishing is bringing home a trophy for your table. There are thousands of species of fish and endless ways to cook your catch, including pan frying, broiling, grilling and baking. Whether you decide to make a simple shore lunch or a gourmet dinner of your catch, it is sure to be a delicious and nutritious meal.

How to Cook Fish - Tips and Tricks

  • Rub some lemon juice on your fingers prior to handling the fish. This will prevent a fishy smell from lingering on your skin
  • Make sure you have properly cleaned and filleted your fish before you cook it
  • When boiling or poaching, include a slice of lemon with the water. This helps prevent the fish from falling apart and enhances the flavor<
  • When baking or broiling, line the pan with foil for easier clean-up
  • Cook fish at the recommended temperatures and don’t overcook, as it makes the meat tough and destroys the flavor
  • Be careful not to overheat smoked fish; it is already cooked so only a quick heat-up is needed
  • Fish is done cooking when the flesh turns opaque and begins to flake easily when tested with a fork
  • Although cooking times vary with each fish and cut, typical cooking times are:
      • 10 minutes per inch of fish
      • 5 minutes per inch of fish cooked in a sauce
      • 20 minutes per inch of fish if frozen

    Cooking Methods for Fresh Fish

    There are many ways to cook fish, but two favorites are to grill fish or pan fry it. Here are a few tips and instructions on cooking up your catch these ways:

    How to Grill Fish

    Raw fish with lemons directly on a grill, one method to cook fish

    You may have mastered grilling steak and chicken, but learning how to grill fish can be a little intimidating for some people. Consider these helpful tips:  

    • To prevent your fish from falling apart when you move them, consider leaving the skin on when you grill it
    • Try using a fish basket to cook your fish. Instead of flipping the fish itself, flip the basket that holds the fish, so it stays in place without falling apart. This works especially well over campfires
    • Steaming fish over a grill is a great way to keep it moist. The easiest way to steam your catch is to wrap it in tin foil and cook the small package directly on the grill (or in the coals of your campfire). You can add other ingredients to your packet like thinly sliced veggies or lemon.) Bring the ends of the foil up over the fish leaving enough room in the packet for steam to gather. Let it steam for about 8-10 minutes for a large fillet
    • Learning how to grill fish on a plank is easier than you might think. Soak the wooden plank in water for about two hours before grilling. Then, simply place your fish on the pre-soaked plank. No flipping required.

    Pan Frying Fish 

    Pan frying is also a very popular way to cook fish, and is the quickest and easiest way to cook your catch at your campsite, the park or shore. Here are basic steps:

    • First coat the fish with flour, breading, cornmeal or batter.The batter mix can be a pancake-type batter or one made with spices or even a little baking soda
    • Heat some cooking oil in a skillet
    • Test the heat by dropping a small piece of fish into the skillet. If it sizzles, the oil is hot enough.
    • Add your fish to the skillet, cooking on each side for 3-4 minutes or until the fish is flaky
    • Enjoy with fellow anglers or family and friends

    Visit our Take Me Fishing Pinterest Page to find some of our favorite recipes to cook your catch.