Recipe: Simple Campfire Roasted Trout

The easier a recipe is, the more likely you are to make it on a regular basis. This rule carries even more weight when backpacking, since even a simple recipe can be a lot of work. Fortunately, there are ways to cook in the backcountry that keep it simple but also provide great food. This recipe for simple campfire roasted trout is one of them.

This recipe is great for several reasons…

  • The main ingredient is procured in the wild (satisfying to eat and also light on the backpack)
  • There are no real exact measurements, just as much of each ingredient as you like
  • Even the most novice cooks can nail this one
  • You only need to bring a few simple ingredients with you that can last multiple meals

But, there are a couple things that should be noted before making any sort of backcountry fish meal…

  • If you’re in bear country, remember to clean up properly after your meal
  • Always abide by catch and possession limits and lengths
  • Check for fire bans in your area before lighting up a doozie to cook over

That’s about it! Time to dive in.

Remember that this recipe is very flexible in terms of number and amount of ingredients. You can season it to taste, and what’s important here is the method, not so much the ingredient preparation. Feel free to play around with spices, too, if you have your own preference.

Ingredients and supplies:

  • Several whole trout, 8-14″
  • Olive oil
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Lemon juice or lemon seasoning
  • Garlic powder
  • *any other spices you enjoy on fish*
  • Aluminum foil

For tips on bringing these ingredients with you, check out the post for How to Bring Spices, Sauces, and Oils Camping.


For this recipe, you’ll want trout between 8-14 inches. To save time, effort, and meat, you don’t need to fillet these fish. Skipping the filleting may seem weird the first time you do it, but you’ll get more meat off the fish. Trout are a great fish to start with since you don’t need to descale them first. You can just eat the skin as-is!

  1. Gut and clean each fish, and cut the head off just behind the gills. You can also cut the fins off if eating them weirds you out (they’re safe to eat, though).
  2. Season each fish, inside and out, by rubbing with oil and adding seasonings (as much as you want). When in doubt, remember that you can add more after cooking. If you brought lemon juice, save some to add as you eat.
  3. Wrap fish securely in aluminum foil. For small fish, you can pair them up. For large fish, wrap individually.
  4. Place foil packs in coals or over fire, and cook for 5-10 minutes depending on size. If you’re unsure whether your fish are done, you can pull a pack out and open it up. Check the flesh to make sure it’s opaque and flaky, and when it is, you’re ready to eat!
A nice bed of coals is a perfect oven away from home for roasted trout.

Voila! A handful of fish and a couple minutes later, and you’re feasting on your catch! And, you can feel good knowing you’re eating the majority of the fish. As opposed to fillets, which can be wasteful especially if you aren’t the best filleter, this recipe lets you pick the bones clean.

Speaking of bones, you’ll probably encounter quite a few small bones as you eat. Just pick these out as you go, and some of the finest ones may even become soft enough that you won’t notice them.

For big fish, a fork might be necessary, but for the small ones you can eat them like finger food. Once you’re done, you should have a perfect little fish skeleton left behind. It’s a rewarding and delicious meal that only takes a few easy minutes to make!


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