This section is from the book "American Game Fishes", by W. A. Perry. Also available from Amazon: American Game Fishes: Their Habits, Habitat, and Peculiarities; How, When, and Where to Angle for Them.
Here is the Bisby-Club cook's way, and they do say that she has no equals and few superiors in the art that goes so far toward solving the question, "Is life worth living?"-I do not know to whom I am indebted for it:
"Our party caught several small Lake Trout, which, dressed, beheaded and deprived of all their fins, were plumped into the bubbling water on top of the potatoes a few minutes before the latter were cooked through, and transferred to our platters piping hot, so that the butter would instantly melt and permeate the flesh. The method was new to some of us, and every man acknowleged that he had never tasted Lake Trout at its best before. We had eleven members at the table yesterday, and the verdict was unanimously in favor of boiling the Lake Trout. As between broiling and frying there was a variance of opinion, but a majority put down the latter method as the third best."
The Bisby Club will please excuse the liberty I have taken.
In gaffing the fish, if the angler can handle the gaff himself it will be well, both because one is loth to scold himself in case of failure, and also because he can then use the gaff in the most satisfactory way, striking up from below, and drawing the fish toward him with the same motion. When there is time for deliberation it is well to place the gaff as near the throat of the fish as possible to avoid unsightly disfiguring. Then, when you have your fish, be merciful, and deal him the coup de grace quickly, by striking him sharply on the head with a small club, or the end of the gaff-handle. After you have practiced on a few of them, you will know just how to hold the fish so as to avoid hitting your fingers as the "thumping stick" slides off the slippery head. Perhaps it will be just as well to begin by holding just back of the gills and hitting across the head.
A fish should never touch the ice when being prepared for keeping or transportation. Without washing him, after you have drawn him, "wipe him dry as possible with a bit of old muslin, and wrap him up in a piece of the same, and pack in straw, dried leaves or grass, that have also been placed in the ice-house. A fish is firmer and better and will keep longer under this treatment. Never wash a fish you wish to send away."
By Luther Pardee.