Eating Fish and Game

pink rainbow trout fillet from lake

Nice Local Rainbow Trout Fillet

Trying to live off the land would take us back to the dietary equivalent of the stone age. That said, we can and should use fish and game we harvest.

I think it’s a good idea to use fish from places where they are abundant, have lots of food, and low or moderate angling pressure. In that case they can be a renewable resource. Fish spoil quickly if not cared for in the right way. Trout you want to keep should be killed immediately, cleaned, and put on ice as soon as possible. Warm water fish, like bass, bluegills, and perch etc. can be kept alive on a stringer, in a net, or boat live well. Process them as soon as practical and put on ice. Clean them quick and keep them cold. (check for exceptions due to special fishing regulations for some waters).
When cooking fish , temperature needs to be just right and the amount of cooking time is critical. Fish that aren’t cooked enough are not tempting unless you have a taste for raw fish like sushi. On the other hand, overcooked fish loses quality flavor and texture.

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Elk Calf Heart

Those who hunt have an obligation to use the game wisely. I have heard people say not to wash out the deer and hang it with the hide on for days to age. A professional butcher told me otherwise years ago. When an animal is killed, they wash it, skin it, and hang it in cold locker place (emphasize cold to chill it quickly so it won’t spoil). That’s the answer for best meat, clean quick and cool fast. This isn’t always possible; for instance, after shooting and cleaning out a deer, you might have to drag it out with the hide on, but take care to skin and cool it as soon as practical. I never had a piece of deer meat that I processed myself that wasn’t good. Give me young deer and elk. The old cowboys say: ‘you can’t eat horns”.

Geese and mallards ducks are pretty good if you like dark meat. Big cock pheasants with spurs may be tough like an old barnyard rooster ; you pull the trigger and hope for the best because the young birds are wonderful. Speaking of wonderful blue grouse (variously called “pine hens”, “fool grouse”) are big and tasty. Ruffled grouse are smaller and even better, if that’s possible. Quail are out this world good. I could go on but it’s making me hungry.

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