Tips for Cooking Fresh Fish Over a Campfire

Tips for Cooking Fresh Fish Over a Campfire

April 30, 2020

After catching and cleaning your wild-caught fish, the next step is to cook it. But cooking fish outside at a campsite is a little different from cooking fish at home in your kitchen. Never fear—here are some tips for cooking fresh fish over a campfire in Alaska.

The basics of cooking fish in the wild

Before diving into the different ways to cook fish while on a camping trip, let’s take a look at a few general quick tips for cooking fish in the great outdoors:

  • Even if you don’t like to eat fish skin, keep it on while cooking. The skin helps preserve the fish’s natural oils and is what keeps the fish meat from flaking apart. Cooked fish skin is also easier to peel off.
  • Let the fire burn for at least 30 minutes. This ensures the coals are hot with low or no fiery flames. If you put a fish over a roaring fire, you’ll end up with serious char on the outside and nearly raw flesh in the middle.
  • The best and most delicious way to flavor your freshly-caught fish is to infuse flavor into the fish by scoring slits in the side skin (about 5 to 10 mm deep will do). Stuff the slits with aromatics like lemon slices or zest, herb leaves, salt and pepper. Season whole fish by stuffing the cavity with aromatics, and secure the opening with short skewers.


The most popular way to cook fish over a campfire is to fry it. If you want fried fish, be sure to take cooking oil, a pan, spatula, cooking grate and aromatics (salt, pepper, lemon, etc.). Once you get your fire started and the oil is heating up in the pan, cut your cleaned fish into fillets or leave whole. Season both sides of the fillets and place in the pan. Flip often until the outside turns a golden brown. It’s ready to eat when the meat inside is flaky and shiny white.


The simplest way to cook freshly-caught fish over a campfire is to boil it. Place a pot of clean water on a grate over a hot fire. Gut the fish and leave the skin on so the meat stays whole and holds onto the fish’s natural oils. Place the fish in the boiling water. When the fish looks cooked, see if a fork flakes the meat—this means it’s done. Eat plain or use seasoning or butter to add flavor.

Cooking over coals

Another go-to for cooking fish on a campfire is cooking it over coals. This method is perfect when your fire is dead but you still need to eat. First, clean and gut the fish, leaving the skin on to protect the meat. Push a skewer through the fish lengthwise. Place it directly on top of the hot coals. Turn often to ensure even cooking on both sides.

Now that you know how to cook fish while camping in Alaska, contact Phantom Tri-River Charters to book a fishing excursion. Call or email us today!

Categorised in: