Rainbow Trout Poached in White Wine with Olive and Garlic Dressing: From Mt. Hebo Lake to the Dinner Table

| April 1, 2011 | 1 Comment

Favorite fishing holes in Oregon are like closely guarded secrets to some anglers. Others, like me, don’t mind sharing the bounty. Such is the case with Mt. Hebo Lake. It’s tiny. It’s remote. It’s perched on top of a mountain about an hour’s drive from Salem, so it’s an investment in time that some might choose not to make, when Detroit Lake is so much closer. But the extra effort pays off. At Detroit Lake, you’ll be lucky to land a 1- to 2-pound trout. At Mt. Hebo Lake, that’s the norm.

This spring-fed lake has been stocked over the years with rainbow trout by the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife to the point that there’s a breeding population in addition to the hatchery-raised interlopers. Late last summer, the Army Corps of Engineers drained the lake to dredge it and clean out some of the stumps, and the Forestry Service rebuilt the fishing piers and campsites around the lake. Impatient anglers like me spent the winter wondering when the work on the lake and campground would be finished.

I happened to call the Mt. Hebo Ranger District Office a couple of weeks ago during my furlough and discovered that the lake and campground had reopened and that 1,500 1- to 2-pound rainbow trout had just been released into the lake, as well as 50 that were trophy-sized. Visions of the trophy-sized fish on the dinner table immediately came to mind, so Charles and I headed up to the lake, undeterred by the rain.

By the time we got to the top of the mountain, it was windy and pouring, but we were determined.  And our fortitude paid off as we reeled in 10 beautiful rainbow trout in about 2 hours and we were on our way home.

I love fishing for trout in Oregon and go out every chance I get. Our freezer is always well stocked with vacuum-packed rainbow trout, labeled with the date and lake where the fish were caught.  Part of the fun is also figuring out different ways of cooking the trout.Tonight for dinner, I decided to poach them in some white wine, skin them, and serve them covered in a dressing of chopped olives, garlic, herbs and olive oil. They were delicious, judging from the empty plates and smiles at the dinner table.

Wild caught rainbow trout, cleaned and ready to poach with some aromatic vegetables in white wine.

The cooked trout, swimming in a lake of peas, head to the table.

Rainbow Trout Poached in White Wine with Olive and Garlic Dressing

Serves 4


  1. 6 tablespoons (90 ml.) butter
  2. 1 large shallot, sliced into thin pieces
  3. 1 celery stalk, sliced into thin pieces
  4. A dozen parsley stems and leaves, rinsed
  5. 1 large carrot, sliced into thin pieces
  6. 1 tablespoon (15 ml.) Herbes de Provence
  7. 1 bottle pinot gris, chardonnay or other dry white wine
  8. 6 cups water (1.5 l.)
  9. 4 rainbow trout, cleaned and pat dry
  10. 4 cloves garlic, peeled and finely chopped
  11. 6 Kalamata olives, pitted and finely chopped
  12. 6 green olives, pitted and finely chopped
  13. 6 tablespoons (90 ml.) olive oil
  14. 3 tablespoons (45 ml.) balsamic vinegar


  • Melt butter in a fish poacher over low heat.
  • Add shallots, celery, carrots, and cook until celery and shallots begin to turn translucent.
  • Add parsley and Herbes de Provence, and stir until parsley turns dark green and begins to wilt.
  • Add wine and water, and turn up the heat until the liquid begins to boil.
  • Lower heat and add trout to poaching liquid, turning the trout over so that each side cooks about 4 minutes.
  • While trout is poaching, mix the chopped garlic, chopped olives, olive oil and balsamic vinegar in a small bowl.
  • When fish is cooked, gently remove from poacher and peel off the skin on the top side of the trout using a very sharp knife, leaving head and tail intact. Spoon the garlic and olive mixture on each exposed side of the trout and serve with peas or your choice of sides.


— Vic

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Category: Outdoors, Seafood

About the Author (Author Profile)

Victor Panichkul is a journalist and writer by training; a cook, wine lover and photographer by passion; and a lover of the outdoors since moving to Oregon more than 10 years ago. He is a native of Bangkok, Thailand.

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