There is a myth out there that lake trout are not good to eat. They are too oily, or fishy tasting. I would like to dispel this myth with this great tasting way to smoke them. I enjoy smoking fish and this fruit flavored brine is great with lakers. Lake trout has more omega 3 oil than most salmon, and are really good for you. Instead of throwing them back next time you catch them, try smoking them!


  • 2 quarts water

  • 1 cup brown sugar

  • 2/3 cup kosher salt

  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder

  • 2 teaspoons onion powder

  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper

  • 1 cup peach schnapps

  • 8-10 pounds lake trout fillets

  • Teriyaki sauce for basting

Preparation method
You will need a vessel to brine the fish in. I use a food safe 15 quart plastic bucket. It needs to be large enough to submerge all your fillets in. A heavy plastic bag also works well. Do not use metal containers unless they are stainless steel.

Add the dry ingredients to the water in your container and stir well. Try the schnapps and make sure it is tasty, then add it to the brine. You can use any fruit flavored schnapps or brandy that you like. Put the fillets into the brine and weigh down with a plate to keep the fish submerged. Place in the refrigerator for 12-18 hours. (I have to take out a shelf to fit my brining bucket in.)

Remove the fillets from the brine and rinse under cold water. Place them skin side down on a bed of paper towels pat dry. Let sit out for 30-60 minutes till the fish forms a glaze or pellicle.

You are now ready to smoke. Lay the fish on your smoker racks skin side down. Brush some teriyaki over the top of the fillets for some added sweetness. Smoke the fish for 2 hours at 165 degrees F with alder wood. Check a piece for doneness. You can also add some more teriyaki to glaze it with in the final 10 minutes.

Remove the trout from the smoke and let cool. There is nothing quite as good as fish still warm from the smoker and an ice cold beer! After you have sampled some, bag them up to refrigerate or freeze.

I like a cold Hefeweizen or a Saison to enhance the flavor of the trout on the brew side, and a dry Riesling or crisp Rose’ on the wine end to accompany this taste treat.