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Home Story Frying up a shore lunch

Frying up a shore lunch

From fly fishing for prismatic Arctic Grayling to trolling deep pools for lurking Lake Trout, the riverways and bodies of water here in the NWT are full of incredible fishing – and tasty fish.

Cooking up those delicious fish dishes is even more mouthwatering with the ambiance of the great outdoors as your setting. How to best cook those fish? Just ask these NWT tourism operators…

Grilled in the Nahanni

“Wrapped in foil and grilled has the meat falling off the bone,” says Joel Hibbard of Nahanni River Expeditions. “Somehow, there always seems to be fresh herbs, lemon and butter in my kitchen kits, too.” 

The Hibbards have been working as wilderness guides for their family-owned company for nearly 50 years. Joel takes special pride in handling all of the logistics and challenges of adventuring through the NWT’s famed Nahanni National Park Reserve. 

The cold waters of its rivers are home to abundant fish, he says. Visitors mostly use catch-and-release with barbless hooks, but putting a few pan-sized trout aside for dinner is always a treat. 

The key to any great shore lunch, though, is preparation. Have your spices and supplies packed in the morning before heading out. Maybe a side of potato salad or some veggies to flash-fry for a side? 

Then, when it’s time for lunch, rendezvous around the fire and tuck in.

Baked On The Barrenlands

There’s nothing like a baked Lake Trout stuffed with wild rice and vegetables. A dash of salt and pepper, some leeks, fried wild mushrooms, then stuffed and wrapped in foil. It’s gourmet, five-star dining with the lap of the waves and the midnight sun keeping you company. 

You’ll get no argument from mother and daughter Margaret and Amanda Peterson, of Peterson Point Lake Lodge. Their comfortable lodge in the Barrenlands offers all-inclusive and self-guided fishing tours where visitors can troll, jig and fly-fish to their heart’s content for species such as Grayling and Trout. 

Each has their own unique and wonderful flavour profiles, says Margaret. Stuffed and baked is delicious, or try a cashew-crusted fillet spiced with paprika. Of course, leftovers can always be dropped into a steaming bowl of tasty chowder. 

“We love to mix it up. Regardless of the recipe you choose, it’s bound to come out tasty.”

Roasted on Great Slave Lake

Shawn Buckley prefers a simple pan fry. Quick, easy and you can do it just about anywhere. But an open fire is maybe the best option for a perfect shore lunch, he says.

Buckley has worked for years as a commercial fisher and a fishing guide, taking travellers out on Great Slave Lake – in winter and summer – to net whitefish and other species. 

Everyone typically wants fillets to fry up, he says, but a whole fish is cheaper and roasts perfectly over the fire, with no foil or grill required. 

That’s how his dad would cook it when Buckley and his brothers would go out with him on his boat as kids. He remembers one time when his dad got some willows for a fire and skewered a fish with a birch sapling to roast whole over the licking flames. 

“I swear, that was the best flavoured fish; the most peaceful time, with my dad and my brother.”

You see, the best place to eat the fish up here? At the table or on the shore, wherever it’s most fresh. But the best way to eat that fish? It’s always going to be gathered around with friends and loved ones. 

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