We were originally going to take the kids fishing yesterday morning, before Easter brunch at my cousin's house. But late on Saturday we changed that plan because it was supposed to be really cold Sunday morning. Monday looked warmer, so we agreed we'd go that morning.
Well, it was definitely cold yesterday – the Easter Egg hunt outside was a pretty speedy process – the kids ran around snatching bright plastic candy-filled eggs from nooks and crannies outside and some of the adults stood around either clutching hot coffee or cameras or our own bodies, teeth chattering, shoulders up at our ears, commenting repeatedly, like total strangers on a bus, on the cold, cold weather, and how it wasn't this cold LAST year, and so on.
Bill and I were looking forward to a warmer morning today.
We're still looking, because WE SURE AS HECK DIDN'T SEE ONE THIS MORNING.
It was 28 degrees when we parked the truck at Frosty Hollow Pond.
At least it wasn't windy. Yet.
Bill set the kids up with worms and daubers and we all stood there, watching the water, waiting.
In the cold. The freezing cold. Actually, the below-freezing cold.
Eventually we let the kids sit while they waited.
Nothing, though. No bites. Just coldness.
So we packed up and headed elsewhere.
Everyone was glad to be in the warm truck for a while as we drove to our next spot. This one is one of Bill's favorite spots to fish at Arcadia, and I am honor-bound not to tell you where it is.
He ultimately caught 7 brook trout there – in the now-windy coldness of the morning – but he let 3 go because they were very small.
Brook trout are native trout – born and raised in the local rivers, rather than raised in hatchery and dumped in select ponds a couple weeks before the second week in April. They are often smaller than the stocked trout, but they are far superior in flavor.
And so we headed home, 4 fish richer, to cook them up and eat either a second breakfast or an early lunch, depending on how you want to look at it.
Bill wanted to grill these little babies, so the first thing he did when we got home was to start the coals. Then it was inside to clean the little trout.
While he did that, I whipped up a batch of baking powder biscuits (Julia really, really wanted an egg sandwich and I'm out of bread), and some blue-corn pancakes, some plain and some with blueberries.
The fish took less than ten minutes to cook - I was still cooking pancakes when the fish came off the grill.
Soon enough, the pancakes were done and I had the kids clear and set the table so we could eat.
Bill, Alex and I each had a fish. Julia had the heads of two of them and her egg sandwich. I didn't have time to set up a prettier shot of the meal – I was starving.
There's nothing better than fish caught mere hours ago.
Or, if you're Julia, there's nothing better than the eyes of fish caught mere hours earlier. The trout were delicious – slightly smokey from the grill but still tasting of fresh freshwater fish. Nature's bounty on a plate.
This next shot is a picture of Alex – he said "Mom, take a picture of me" and struck the following pose. Unfortunately it's not all that sharp an image, but you can see the suave, so-fish-ticated expression on his face…
Julia, meanwhile, got a great kick out of cracking open the little skulls and looking for brains.
She's not squeamish at all, that one.
There was one final trout left, and Bill showed Alex how to carefully peel away the skin and gently pull the flesh from the bones.
Trout, like salmon, have a row of pin bones on each side of the fish, kind of perpendicular to the spine and rib cage.
The pin bones are easy to locate and remove if you're working with a large filet of salmon, but on a tiny little brook trout they're about as thin as a human hair, and therefore harder to locate visually.
And they're not pleasant to eat.
So it's important to understand the bone structure of the fish you're eating, if you want to have as pain-free a meal as possible.
And there it is. A small yield, but a whole lot of flavor.