With the Spring weather just around the corner, many anglers are targeting catfish. Many of Montana’s rivers and lakes hold some massive cats. Spring is the perfect time to take some home for dinner.
Channel Catfish is the largest and most common catfish in Montana. You will find them in the Yellowstone and Missouri watersheds, through central and eastern Montana. Most common Cat Catches are 2-4 lbs., but 30 pounders are frequently landed. Since Cats spawn in the Spring and early Summer, they are active feeders during this time.
There are some tricks to filleting and skinning this bottom feeding fish, but the effort is worth it. Check out a YouTube video for some filet tips and tricks. Make sure that you rinse the filets thoroughly. You can also soak them in a bowl of salt water for an hour or so. Any contaminates will be around the ribs, belly meat, and bases of fins. Trim that away and you are good to go.
Catfish is best when fresh. The texture and flavor are simply better than from frozen fish. Some folks like their Cats Spicy, Blackened, Broiled, Baked, or Fried. Stews and Chowders are also a nice way to use this delicious fish.
Here are some recipes for a dinner of Cool Cats!
This simple recipe serves 4 and has only 4 ingredients. 4 Catfish filets, 2 tbsps. Of milk, 3 tbsps. of Dijon Mustard, and 1 cup of ground Pecans.
Use a small bowl to combine the milk and mustard. Dip the filets into this mix and then roll into the crushed Pecans. Lightly shake off the excess. Place on a greased baking sheet. Bake in the oven at 450 degrees for 10 minutes, or until the fish is flaky.
2 12-inch catfish filets
1 ½ cups of cornmeal
Salt and pepper, or Old Bay seasoning
1 teaspoon of Cayenne pepper.
½ pound of bacon
Wash and dry 2, 12-inch catfish filets. Place the fish in a bowl of milk. You need enough milk to cover. Mix the cornmeal and seasonings together in a pie plate. Coat the filets with the cornmeal mixture and lay out onto paper towels, or wax paper. Let the rest in the refrigerator for about an hour. While you wait, slowly fry the bacon in a fry pan. You will be frying the fish in the bacon grease. Save the Bacon as a topping. Fry the filets around 3 minutes per side and drain onto a paper towel.
Baking or frying Catfish makes for a healthy and delicious dinner. You can make a tartar sauce if you like but fresh cats are perfect as is.
Enjoy some fresh Cats!
For more Montana Grant, find him Catting around at www.montanagrantfishing.com.