I know I have got several people's feathers ruffled already from the title....
I live in Iowa and we have a good stocking program and lots of streams that are stocked bi-monthly. I was looking to get a couple of trout to take home and had a couple of questions:
1. Do you have to clean a trout right away? Can you put them in a cooler and clean them later?
2. Do trout have to be scaled? I have seen several places that say you have to but others that say you don't.
Re: Cleaning Trout
In this heat, if you want to keep a few stocked fish, and it's legal, kill them quickly and put them on ice if you can. To clean, just remove the gills and slit the belly to remove the guts. Not sure if it makes a difference, but I would remove the gills right away after killing one. If you gut it too, you have the advantage of seeing what they're feeding on. But in cleaning stocked fish, I've found everything from white rocks to cigarette filters so I'm not sure how much it will help... You can use a spoon, or your fingers to remove the blood line under the spine under cold water when you get home.
Trout have small scales, so it's not a big deal either way, but if you are going to eat the skin, scale it, if not, you don't have to bother.
Add butter, lemon and sliced almonds. To debone, I use two tablespoons run along the spine after it's cooked to get fillets, but check for bones.
Re: Cleaning Trout
Hey, I live and fish in Iowa in the drftless area. I clean trout as soon as I can after catching. Since I cannot carry a cooler with ice, I use a wicker creel, lined with some srass and moistened. I slit the trout from the vent to the jaw, then slip my knife through the two slit on the lower jaw, cut the connecting to the front of the lower jaw and just pull back, removing the gills and the guts in one swift move. I may open the stomach to see what they are feeding on, but usually don't. I scale trout after I get them home or back to the camp site. I get them on ice asap.
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