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One of my favorite things to do is go fishing for trout. I don’t care if they make it to shore. When they throw the hook and I don’t have to take them off myself, I might cuss a little. But inside, I am actually very happy!
The fun comes from getting them to bite on the bait and fighting them to shore. Don’t get me wrong. I’ll eat them. Especially if they have swallowed a hook and I can’t get it free without seriously hurting them.
Fish are food, not friends.
If the freezer is full and they don’t swallow the hook, they are free to go.
Mr. T loves to float the river and fly fish. I prefer to play on the banks of the creek or river and use a bait and hook. Unless he wants to take me out in the kayak on a mountain lake. Then I will be the first one in the truck!
Spending the day out fishing for trout makes me smile. The challenge of using a willow stick makes me even happier.
You can read this post on how to make a backcountry or survival fishing kit if you want to try your own willow fishing pole.
The kids were off playing while I played down by the creek. Fishing for trout takes a little patience and perseverance. The first few logs I crossed didn’t have any fish.
Clearwater makes it easy to see if anything is interested in your bait. When they didn’t seem to be hanging around in the first few holes, I moved upstream while the kids shot their bows.
The fish were in a perfect hole right next to the bank. I put my willow pole out over the water with the tip pointed up stream just a little. While I waited, I had to talk to them a little. It isn’t fishing if you don’t try to call them to your bait each time.
Mr. T spent some time cleaning up a camping site and building a fire after trying to fish for a little bit. If they don’t bite right away, he gets bored and finds other things to do.
I managed to pull in 5 trout with this willow pole. One I released. I caught at least two that “let themselves go” before they made it to the bank. That is fine with me!
Two of these fish swallowed the hook, so I saved enough of my other catches to make a small snack for us.
I just cut a willow stick and left a Y junction on the stick. This makes it easy to slip one side of the stick through the fish gills and then put the stick in the mud of the bank. It keeps the fish cool and wet without letting them float away.
Mr. T has a special way of gutting a fish without cutting the belly. This makes it really easy to roast them over a fire.
H.T. has a way of gutting a fish that works for also skinning it (it would probably be better on a larger fish, but since we were fishing for trout in a creek, these fish weren’t very big).
K.T. doesn’t usually like fishing. When she saw that I had caught a few in this spot, she decided to sit and give it a try too. She pulled in a rainbow trout that was average for the spot we were fishing. Even a dink is reason to celebrate when you are using a homemade fishing kit and willow stick!
When we were all done fishing for trout, it was time to cook them up. Mr. T had already built up the fire. After gutting them he puts a stick through the length of the fish and then runs a few sharpened skewers diagnally through the chest of the fish to hold it in place.
H.T. was cooking his on the forked willow branch. He wanted to try cooking them with the skin off to see if he would like it any better.
This long branch is placed over the fire on two Y posts. Don’t put them to close to the fire or you will burn your fish. Once they are white and flaky (usually about 10-15 minutes depending on how hot your fire is) take them off the fire and enjoy.
Fishing for trout is a great way to add some protein to a backpacking or hiking meal. There are a number of ways you can cook fish on the fire.
This method is one that works well when you don’t have tinfoil or seasoning. It is quick, easy, and the smoke adds some great flavor.
The only drawback to fishing for trout and then eating them (it’s better when they just let themselves go) is the bones.
Trout have very fine bones. And a ton of them. The boys put the fish out on this piece of bark and then they pulled most of the bones out.
After spending a day on the creek fishing for trout, you will most likely just want to get up the next day and do it again. There is something magical about spending the day chasing fish and enjoying nature on the side of a stream.