Survival is a brutal business, assuming you are really surviving and not just camping.
If you want to keep on living, you must fuel your body with adequate food, and if you’re carried or stored food supplies run low or completely run out, you’ll be forced to supplement with wild-caught game and other foods.
Compared to other ways of procuring high-quality animal protein like hunting or trapping, fishing is a lot less labor-intensive and often a lot more successful.
Of course, not all fish are edible. How about brook trout? Can you eat brook trout in a survival situation?
Yes, you can eat brook trout in a survival situation. Brook trout are popular game fish, and also renowned for their terrific flavor.
Out of all the fish you can catch in a survival situation brook trout might be one of the best. Highly nutritious, delicious and surprisingly easy to prepare, this is one fish you should never throw back.
Learn more about eating a brook trout during a survival situation in the rest of this article.
Where Can Brook Trout Be Found?
Brook trout can be found across much of North America, and though they are native to the Eastern reaches of the continent they have been introduced in many places elsewhere.
From the Carolinas to Hudson Bay, the Great Lakes to the Mississippi River and even as far west as California, Washington and British Columbia, brook trout can be found almost everywhere their preferred habitat is found.
Pure and clear freshwater streams, rivers, creeks and small lakes are their usual domains, but these sensitive fish must have water that is properly oxygenated and very, very clean although they can tolerate a wide temperature range.
However, very warm water and water with minimal movement or flow is a detriment to them.
Also, brook trout are considered an invasive species in several areas where they have been introduced, namely around the northern Rocky Mountains and in Yellowstone National Park.
Though typically caught and released when fished to help preserve local populations, areas that have declared them an invasive species usually have mandatory “kill orders” on them, meaning you can catch and eat them to your heart’s content.
Nutritional Info for Brook Trout
Brook trout, although not actually a trout species but instead a member of the char family, nonetheless offer an excellent and similar nutritional profile to real trout.
Containing lots of protein and a little bit of fat, brook trout can provide you with quick short-term energy and sustained, long-lasting energy in equal measure, making them an ideal survival food.
But brook trout are more than just a source of calories as they have an excellent profile of vitamins and minerals to give your body everything it needs.
Brook trout are extremely rich in vitamin D, most of the B complex vitamins with B12, B5, and B3 being particularly well represented, vitamin E, vitamin A and a little bit of folate.
The mineral content is similarly impressive with phosphorus, selenium and potassium being abundant, with a good shot of a magnesium, calcium, iron and choline along with zinc.
Fish are famous for being an extremely healthy food option and brook trout are no exception.
What Do Brook Trout Taste Like, Anyway?
Probably the single best thing about brook trout is just how good they taste,along with how easy they are to prepare. Brook trout are said to taste delicate, fresh and sweet: truly ideal.
Prepared with minimal or even no ingredients a brook trout is still a delicious meal, and in the hands of a skilled cook with a little bit of butter and lemon you can still enjoy a meal in the middle of the wilderness that can rival anything you could have at a seafood restaurant.
Unless you totally hate fish in general, you’ll find a lot to like about brook trout.
Is it Safe to Eat Brook Trout Raw?
Not really, although it is somewhat safer to eat brook trout raw since they typically only inhabit the cleanest natural water sources.
The problem is that all raw meat, including raw fish and especially including wild-caught raw fish is likely to be host to various infectious pathogens, including bacteria, viruses and parasites.
Any of these nasty gribblies can make you severely ill or potentially even kill you, and even if you should only come down with a relatively mild illness or food poisoning that could still spell certain death in the middle of a survival situation.
Think about it: if you’re doubled over in agony throwing up and suffering from constant, explosive diarrhea you’re going to be dehydrating and losing electrolytes at frightening speed and that could prove to be enough to finish you off if you’re already injured or sick, and at the very least it is going to make taken care of all of your survival tasks that much more difficult.
The best bet is, now as always, to just cook the fish. Cook it until well done- crispy, flaky and finished all the way through and you can be generally assured that all of the germs that could hurt you will be dead before you eat it.
Can You Eat Brook Trout Scale?
Yes you can. The scales are very small and thin, and if cooked until they are crisp and delicate they can be eaten. Some people even profess to liking the crunchy contrast this gives the sweet, delicate flesh of the fish.
But if this isn’t your thing you can scale the fish as usual and discard before cooking.
Should You Eat Brook Trout Eggs?
Yes, if you can find them. Brook trout eggs are generally easy to spot, typically being laid on the bottom of a stream bed and they will be exposed for some time before they are covered.
Like most caviar, there are nutritious and make for good eating, so you should take the time to gently cook them in order to make them safe for consumption just like the flesh of the fish.
How About Brook Trout Bones?
You probably shouldn’t eat the bones of the brook trout, especially from larger specimens.
People aren’t really designed to eat bones because they can easily choke us, become lodged in our digestive tract and cause other mayhem so they are best discarded.
That is, unless you know how to extract a little more nutrition from them. For this task you have two options:
- you can either crack open the bones or split them and scrape out the super nutritious bone marrow from within before frying it up and eating it
- or you can boil the bones or gently simmer them for a longer time to extract the nutrients into a sort of fortified broth that you can drink or use as the basis for a soup or stew.
Bone marrow is a highly concentrated source of nutrition and shouldn’t be neglected unless you are very successful catching fish! Just don’t try to eat the bones as-is if you know what’s good for you.
Can You Eat the Organs of a Brook Trout?
Yes, even though the thought of doing so might make you feel a little green around the gills.
Fish organs are broadly edible, and certain organs like the liver and heart are generally pretty good eating when they are cooked.
Other organs like the intestines can also be eaten but will require a lot of time and care in preparation because the waste products must be diligently expressed from them followed by a thorough and lengthy washing and then finally cooking.
I’ll level with you: the organs still aren’t going to be very good by most people’s standards but they are edible if you are truly desperate for calories.
Tom Marlowe practically grew up with a gun in his hand, and has held all kinds of jobs in the gun industry: range safety, sales, instruction and consulting, Tom has the experience to help civilian shooters figure out what will work best for them.