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How To Cook Trout and Steelhead

Learning how to cook trout after your successful day of fly fishing can be almost as much fun as the day itself. There are many different ways people have found to cook trout and steelhead. Baked, grilled, fried or smoked: All make for good eating. 

Many of the following methods can be used for trout or steelhead. Steelhead is after all a rainbow trout that has spent most of its life in the ocean or Great Lakes. This time spent at sea (with the same diet) also means that steelhead and salmon recipes will often be interchangeable. 

I will add here (but it may be too late to mention) that as soon as you land and have decided to keep it, your trout needs to be bled out. Letting it bleed will improve its taste.  

Preparation Tips Before Cooking Trout

Before we get into how to cook trout we should first look at how to prepare the trout for cooking.

There are many sites on the web that shows how to clean a trout or steelhead so I won't get into it in detail here. I do want to say that if you caught it and decided to keep it, then YOU should clean it. Don't hand it off to your spouse or friends.

This link shows: How to clean a trout  

People have different preferences on whether to leave the head on or not, that is up to you. What is important is cleaning the blood vein that runs the length of the spine. If left in this vein will affect the taste. This cleaning can be done with your knife and an old toothbrush. (Yes, use an old one.)

If you plan on eating the skin make sure you remove the scales. This can be done by scraping the scales from the tail toward the head with a knife. 

After cleaning, rinse it inside and out with saltwater and pat it dry with a paper towel.

This next video shows how to fillet and debone a trout once it has been cleaned.

Baked Trout Recipes 

Oven-baked trout is a very easy and delicious dish to fix.

  • Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. 
  • Place a sheet of aluminum foil in a baking dish. 
  • Rub the cleaned trout inside and out with olive oil and sprinkle lightly with salt and pepper and place on the foil. Make sure the olive oil is on both sides and inside the trout.
  • Put slices of lemon and parsley inside the trout. The lemon slices can also be placed under and on top of the trout if desired. Add garlic if you want. 
  • Fold the foil together to make an airtight package. This provides a very moist meal and keeps the trout from drying out and becoming rubbery. 
  • The time needed to bake the trout will depend on the size of the fish. This can be anywhere from 15 to 30 minutes or until the meat flakes away with a fork. 

       Optional spices you can also try: garlic powder, dill weed and paprika.

Also see Best Baked Trout Recipes for Camp (or Home)

Grilled Trout Recipes


  • Trout (up to 4)
  • Extra virgin olive oil (2 tablespoons)
  • Kosher salt (1 tablespoon)
  • Ground pepper (1/2 tablespoon)
  • Lemon juice (1 tablespoon) 


  • Clean trout as instructed above.
  • Clean the grill and lightly oil the grill before turning on the heat.
  • Preheat grill to searing temperature of 400 degrees F.
  • Spread oil over the outside of the trout.
  • Salt and pepper inside of the trout.
  • Lemon juice can be added if desired.
  • Lower the grill temperature to 250 degrees.
  • Place the trout on the grill skin side down.
  • The trout will cook quickly and should only be turned once.
  • It should be done when the meat is white and flaky.
  • Serve as soon as possible. 

Also see this Grilled Trout Recipe page for more ideas

How to Cook Trout: Fried Recipes

When exploring different ways how to cook trout, frying is a classic. It makes one think of sitting around a campfire after a long day of fishing.   


  • Trout 12 to 14 inches long
  • Beaten egg (or milk or buttermilk)
  • Flour (or cornmeal)
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Oil (your choice) 


  • Clean the trout (see above)
  • Leave the skin on and dip in the beaten egg (or milk or buttermilk).
  • Roll in flour (or cornmeal).
  • Repeat for a thicker crust.
  • Add salt and pepper to taste.
  • Heat oil in sauté pan over medium-high heat.
  • Cook trout for 10 to 12 minutes on a side or until crust is brown and meat flakes easily with a fork. 

Also see: A rainbow trout recipe for everyone

Steelhead Trout Recipes

Here is a very tasty steelhead trout recipe using your broiler. Enjoy! 


  • About one pound of steelhead fillets
  • Finely chopped garlic clove (1)
  • Chopped rosemary (1-1/2 tablespoons)
  • Zest of one lemon
  • Juice from 1/2 of a lemon
  • Salt (1/4 teaspoon)
  • Black pepper (1/2 teaspoon)
  • Olive oil (2 tablespoons) 


  • Brush roasting pan with the olive oil.
  • Blend all the ingredients into a paste (except the fish).
  • Place the steelhead skin down onto the baking pan.
  • Apply the seasoning over the fish.
  • Broil for five minutes on the middle rack. This should be just enough to sear the flesh but not burn the herbs.
  • Move the steelhead to the lower rack and lower the oven heat to 325 degrees for an additional 10 minutes or until it is done.
  • Serve and enjoy.

 See more ways how to cook trout here: Smoked Trout Recipes (Steelhead) and Steelhead Trout Recipes

Testing for Doneness

When learning how to cook trout, a general rule for doneness is the meat should be opaque and should flake easily with a folk. It should also be very moist.

Undercooked trout will look raw and translucent. Trout that is overcooked will look dry.

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