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Thread: Kokanee meat prep?

  1. #1

    Default Kokanee meat prep?

    I have heard from several sources, including a fish biologist, that as soon as a koke dies its flesh starts degrading and softening due to bacteria attack. Being sensitive to warm water they almost always die in our "live" well before we get back to the dock and start processing them. I am thinking of using a cutting board on the boat and filleting the fish immediately and putting them on ice. Any thoughts? We fish in Colorado, Wyoming, Utah and New Mexico and realize the laws may vary by location. I leave on the skin on each side when i fillet them so proof of species is still attached.

    Thanks for any insight in advance.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Location
    North Ogder
    Posts
    265

    Default

    This is what I have found that keeps the fillets firm and the family liking them.

    I first cut a gill and let them bleed out, it takes about 10 minutes or so, after that they go on ice until it's time to fillet them and then they go right back on ice. I try to get them processed sooner than later. This will help keep them firm.

    I will usually do this on the lake so I can go fish for something else

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    Harrisville, Utah
    Posts
    2,683

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    My fish box is also my bleed out chamber. As with what Aaron explained I do the same. I will also remove internals leaving head attach for travel depending where I'm at. If at the Gorge I sharpen knife for filets. Then I will get the fish on ice ASAP. I fish Utah, Wyoming, & Idaho.
    2000 F250 7.3L Diesel
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  4. #4

    Default Thanks guys

    I appreciate the insight and will change how I handle the fish.

    Regards,
    Gary

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Feb 2017
    Location
    Gunnison, CO
    Posts
    97

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    I agree whole-heartedly with the others about bleeding them out and keeping them on ice. We also "club" them with piece of iron wood to knock them unconscious. I was told by a guy who might know the facts that knocking them out stopped the adrenalin dump and improved the flavor of the fish. My wife is so proficient doing this and seems to find enough satisfaction "clubbing" that is kind of scares me sometimes. The guy also said he puts them in a net and drags through the water while they bleed out. We use the live well but have to replace the bloody water frequently. As an aside, we never clean at fish cleaning stations anymore -- they aren't nearly as clean as the lake. When we clean salmon that have been bled out, there is essentially no blood while cleaning. We clean several times each day -- rather have fillets on ice than dead fish on ice.

    Roger

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Dec 2018
    Location
    McCall Idaho
    Posts
    80

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    Do you still filet smaller fish? One of the lakes I fish here in Idaho has an abundance of relatively small Kokanee. I have been icing them, then gutting them-at the lake and leaving the heads on. Never thought about bleeding them and filleting them. It seems the filets would be too small. They get stuffed with onions, a little lemon and fresh dill, wrapped in tinfoil and grilled with skin and heads on.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Location
    North Ogder
    Posts
    265

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    I personally won't filet the smaller fish.

    The way you prepare them wrapped in foil sounds good, I will have to try that.

  8. #8

    Default

    I do not have the koke fishing experience a lot of the other folks do, but i fillet all the fish. Smallest fish we have caught have been from Navajo in New Mexico. I would guess some might have been as small as 10" to 11" long. You are right, the fillets were quite small but they still taste good. Obviously you have to make sure you do not over-cook them since they cook very quickly. We really like cooking the fillets with the skin side down in hot olive oil. My wife seasons them with steak seasoning prior to cooking. Before getting "hooked" on kokanee we used to target trout and i would gut them and cut off the heads. They were really pretty plain tasting even if we seasoned the cavity so the filleted, seasoned kokes are much more flavorful. Oops, now I am getting hungry!

    Given that, we will give you approach a try as it does sound good. Thanks.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Dec 2018
    Location
    McCall Idaho
    Posts
    80

    Default

    Another way to prepare Kokanee is to filet them and grill them on a cedar plank. The cooking goes a little slower so you have a little better control. We like them rather less done, not quite shasimi but close.

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