Posted by: highmountainmuse | June 28, 2009

Gone fishing

Forrest fishing

Forrest fishing

I once read that if you give a kid a pole, he’ll never have to go hungry.  Well, how about learning to fish without a pole?  That’s how Forrest provided us with fresh trout for supper at Ditch Camp one evening last week.

Bob told him the technique of quietly leaning over a pool of water, feeling below the bank, and gently grabbing hold with both hands so the slippery fish can’t slither away. Took Forrest about a half hour to catch three Brookies. Not bad.

Not your proper fishing etiquette, yes, I know.  But as you know, there are few more respectful and understanding of nature and wildlife.  However survival is something we need to know up here.  It is beyond a game or a luxury.  It is an essential part of our life, part of living in the wilds as we do.  I know this skill will not be abused, taken for granted, or used unless necessary.  But the rewards of learning this lesson were sweet…

We cooked them over the hot fire in a fry pan with a little margarine, salt and pepper.  That fresh, nothing more was needed. Perfect fare for after a hard day of digging ditch!

We clean our fish leaving the head on.  I understand this is personal preference. Lots of folks just don’t want to see that part, and that’s OK. We find it much easier to hold them after cooking, though an over done fish will fall apart. By holding the head, you can eat a little Brookie like corn-on-the-cob, skin and all (don’t forget to remove the fins).  Or holding the head, gently peel down the cooked meat from a larger fish, leaving the bones completely intact.



  1. I tryed fishing like forrest once . Fish 50 me 0 . I can smell the fish cooking from here . This town is full of famous chefs and 150 dollar meal but they come in second . I know about high dollar meals second hand . I know a few people with more money than taste buds .good eating. i dont know how to put my e mail address out to your readers. i would like to e mail them . sounds like just good people .

  2. Thanks, Don. I read your comment to Forrest and he got a chuckle out of that.
    If you’d like, I sure don’t mind putting your e-mail address out there for folks to write you directly. I have mine posted on the site, and so far, only nice notes have come in! If you’d prefer, I could ask folks to write me directly for your address to screen them that way? Either way, I agree – seems like there are some pretty good people out there, it would be nice to have direct contact. Let me know how I can help.

  3. Gin,

    You got me on this one. If things get tough in September, I will have to practice Forrest’s technique. Some here at home, practice a version of his skills on catfish which hide in holes under the banks on rivers, lakes, etc. Not me yet!

    Love your “Ditch Camp Diaries”, and expect that you could do some publishing on that topic, if you were interested.

    Have you seen any Colorado Columbine or wild roses on your mountain trips yet? When I am in your mountains by mid-Sept., most seem to be done blooming, along with the roses. We tested several varieties of hybrid columbines at the Dallas Arbortum this spring, but after a month they were spent. To hot. 100 or so each day now.

    Thanks for bringing your love of nature and people to us.


  4. Al, I noticed the first Columbine of the season as we were riding out of the ditch last Thursday, along the south facing rocks of a slide alongside the trail. Only one, but a promise of more to come. With all the wonderful rain we’ve had here this past month, we’re anticipating a beautiful wildflower season.

    No blooming roses yet. I think getting a month out of the columbine blossom there in Dallas is a good successs! They are not long blooming here either, and seem to show their lovely faces at the hottest times of the season.

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