Archive for the 'Freshwater Fish' Category

Less is More When Cooking Fresh Caught Fish

Tuesday, November 28th, 2017
Chef Cindy Haenel

Chef Cindy Haenel

This is Passport to Texas

You may be tired of eating those heavy, Thanksgiving leftovers by now. If that’s true, it’s easy to find a nearby fishing hole where you can reel in something light, fresh and delicious. Chef Cindy Haenel says there’s nothing like catching your own dinner.

It’s fabulous. I know exactly how old that fish is, when it came out of the water and how long it’s been dead. And that’s important with fish especially. Fresh is always best.

Cindy, an avid angler, is a chef instructor at Central Market in Austin.

I love the saltwater as well as freshwater. But the saltwater you have more variety. You never know what you’re going to pull up. It’s exciting – like Christmas morning.

Immediately place your catch on ice, and if there’s a cleaning station on shore, Chef Cindy says consider doing the dirty work there. And when you get your catch back to the kitchen, be careful not to overcook it.

Most people, if they don’t like the taste of fish, it’s probably because they’ve overcooked it. And, as it cooks, and the oil of the fish starts to come out of the flesh, it burns very, very quickly. So, if you will undercook your fish, or protect that fish with either a salt crust, or even if it just has a little butter, or some kind of fat on the outside it still protecting that fish while it’s cooking.

Find fish recipes from Chef Cindy as well as a link to other fish and game recipes at

The Sport Fish Restoration program supports our series and works to increase fishing and boating opportunities in Texas.

For Texas Parks and Wildlife…I’m Cecilia Nasti.


Trout Amandine
by Chef Cindy Haenel


8 (4-ounce) lake or rainbow trout fillets
1 egg
1 cup milk
1 cup flour
Salt and pepper
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
4 tablespoons butter
1 cup (about 6 ounces) sliced, blanched almonds
Handful fresh parsley leaves, finely chopped
1 lemon, wedged


Heat a large skillet over moderate heat. Combine egg and milk in a tin pie plate, beat with a fork. Place a cup of flour in a second pie tin and season well with salt and sparingly with pepper. Coat trout fillets in egg and milk, then in seasoned flour. Collect fillets on a plate until all of them are dredged and ready to be cooked.

Add 1/2 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil to your skillet. Add 1 1/2 tablespoons butter to the pan. When the butter foams, add trout and gently saute 4 fillets for 2 or 3 minutes on each side, until golden. Transfer trout fillets to warm platter in oven.

Return pan to the stove and add 1/2 tablespoon extra-virgin oil and 1 1/2 tablespoons butter. When butter foams, repeat cooking process. When all of the trout is cooked, add last tablespoon of butter to the pan. When the butter melts, add almonds and brown until lightly golden, 1 to 2 minutes.

Remove trout from oven and pour almonds over the platter. Garnish platter with chopped parsley, lemon wedges, and serve immediately.

Serves 4

Cooking up Crappie with Tim Spice

Monday, December 26th, 2016
Cooking fresh-caught crappie at the campsite.

Cooking fresh-caught crappie at the campsite.

This is Passport to Texas

Crappie offer anglers an enjoyable fishing opportunity any time of year. Bring home a cooler full, because fresh crappie are easy to prepare and are delicious.

We’re going to show you how to take your catch from the day and fry it up and have a great meal for you and your family.

Tim Spice works for Texas Parks and Wildlife, and is an avid outdoor cook. In his first preparation, Tim applies salt and pepper to the crappie fillets, and then coats them with cornmeal.

You can do it a little thicker if you like—with an egg wash or even a little bit of milk or buttermilk. But this is pretty simple; you’ll get a great fish flavor just this way.

He places the fillets in hot oil and cooks them for two minutes on each side. For a lighter version, Tim rubs the fillets with chopped tarragon and a squeeze of lemon. He uses a cast iron griddle to cook the fish.

First off, we’re going to add a little bit of olive oil to keep them from sticking, and it adds some great flavor. Then we’re going to take those fillets that we put the tarragon on and put them straight on the pan.

After about two minutes on each side they are done.

You want to know how your fish are done. Take a fork, and if you can break apart the flakes, that means your fish is done.

Find fish and game recipes on the Texas Parks and Wildlife website.

The Sport Fish Restoration Program supports our series.

For Texas Parks and Wildlife…I’m Cecilia Nasti.

How to Humanely Dispatch a Fish

Thursday, June 2nd, 2016
Black drum ready to be filleted or frozen.

Black drum ready to be filleted or frozen.

This is Passport to Texas

Like to fish? Then you should know this Saturday, June fourth, is Free Fishing Day in Texas.

People don’t need a fishing license to fish on that first Saturday in June.

Great news, right? Texas Parks and Wildlife aquatic training specialist, Caleb Harris, says everyone can fish free in state parks with fishing opportunities any day, but Free Fishing Day opens all public waters for your angling pleasure. Harris says when you reel in a fish you intend to keep, there is a humane way to dispatch your catch before it becomes dinner.

Most people say that the kindest way to care for a fish that you want to keep [for dinner] is to put it on ice as fast as possible.

The cold temperature, says Harris, causes the fish’s bodily functions to slow down…way down.

The ice will anesthetize it; it’ll be virtually painless at that cold temperature; the fish will get cold and will slowly pass. So, yeah. If you have a boat, and you have the ability to bring an ice chest, you know—catch the fish—if you intend to keep it, make sure it’s a legal size, and put it right on ice.

When you get the fish home, you’ll want to immediately filet it and either cook it up right away, or freeze it. Find a video on how to filet fish, and a link to information on the best way to freeze fish at

The Sport Fish Restoration program supports our series.

For Texas Parks and Wildlife…I’m Cecilia Nasti



New Catfish Management Plan

Friday, May 27th, 2016
TPWD technician Jeff Bowling holds a 42.5-inch, 39-pound blue catfish caught on a jugline at Richland Chambers Reservoir on December 10, 2009.

TPWD technician Jeff Bowling holds a 42.5-inch, 39-pound blue catfish caught on a jugline at Richland Chambers Reservoir on December 10, 2009.

This is Passport to Texas

Catfish are more adaptable to changing environmental conditions than other game fish, are popular among anglers, and are good eating. For those and other reasons, the Texas Parks and Wildlife Commissioners approved a new Catfish Management Plan earlier this year. Dave Terre.

The first step in this plan was to go to our anglers and ask them what they want for the future of catfish angling in Texas. And we took their opinions and their needs and desires for catfish fishing in the future, and we tried to look to see what we could do with our catfish populations to make fishing better for them.

Terre is chief of fisheries management and research at Texas Parks and Wildlife. Stocking, habitat management, and regulations, are among the tools they’ll use to implement the plan. In addition, he says, they’ll bring fish to the fishermen.

People want good, quality fishing opportunities close to home. So, what we strive to do is to use catfish to create good catfish fishing opportunities on smaller, public water bodies in major metropolitan areas close to where people live in cities. So, look for us [to be] doing more of that in the future.

Find the complete catfish management plan on the Texas Parks and Wildlife website.

All these strategies have been confirmed with our anglers as things tht they want us to do. So, for the next decade or so, this is the direction that we’ll be moving with our catfish program.

The Sport Fish restoration program supports our series.

For Texas Parks and Wildlife, I’m Cecilia Nasti.

White Bass Run = Fishing Fun

Tuesday, March 15th, 2016
White bass

White bass

This is Passport to Texas

In December and January, while we’re busy with the holidays and staying warm indoors, white bass begin to congregate where rivers and reservoirs meet.

And those fish are getting ready for those environmental cues to happen so they can actually all start migrating and running up river.

Environmental cues like changes in temperature and water flows. Marcos De Jesus is a fisheries biologist. When the time is right, white bass move up river to spawn.

Some of them go up pretty far – as far as they can swim to complete their spawning run. So, they become congregated and create excitement for the anglers, because once they’re congregated they’re really fun to catch.

East and Central Texas offer many white bass fishing opportunities. De Jesus says while they’re active year round, springtime runs practically set up anglers for success.

As we get into the springtime, they congregate towards the mouth of the river waiting for those cues. Right when they’re at the mouth of the river, they’re easy to catch. But, the easiest time to catch them is when they’re running up river spawning in those shallow waters, because you can actually catch them from the bank. Do these fish give you a good fight? Definitely. They’re very great fighters. They become aggressive, and they take on many types of lures and live bait. Once they hook on – they’ll fight pretty hard.

Find out when and where white bass are biting when you log onto the Texas Parks and Wildlife website.

The Sport Fish Restoration program supports our series.

For Texas Parks and Wildlife, I’m Cecilia Nasti.