There are three sides to fishing, all of them delightful. First there’s the pleasure of being out in the countryside; then there are the uncertainties and excitement of the actual fishing; and then comes the successful angler’s reward – the joys of preparing and cooking a fish fresh from the water. We’ve already looked at the first two aspects, so let’s now turn to the delights of the table.

If you have caught a fish you intend take home, perhaps several hours later, you will have to find a way of keeping it fresh. The first thing to do is locate a cool place out of the sun, perhaps under the moss, by a patch of bog on the banks of a stream. This is what bears do, and we can too. However, before depositing your catch, clean and dry the fish but do not wash it – water always contains bacteria. Now wrap each fish individually in fresh leaves, preferably alder. Failing alder, use birch. A twig of willow in the belly of each fish also helps to keep them fresh. Store your catch in a woven basket or paper bag, not plastic!

Pike "Phoenix". Pike "Phoenix": This is perhaps the commonest ways of dealing with a pike fresh from the water – and it’s also one of the most delicious. This is what to do. First catch a fine pike. Gut and clean the fish, leaving the skin and scales intact. Stuff the belly with a mixture of good butter, salt, dill and horseradish. (You may, of course, prepare this mixture at home. Make sure you have plenty.) Meanwhile, you will have lit a good fire. Now rake a thick, damp newspaper, a piece of greaseproof paper and make a parcel of your pike, making sure the greaseproof paper is next to the skin. Put the fish to cook for half an hour or so, turning it after 15 minutes. When the fish is done, serve with freshly boiled new potatoes. A simple sauce of horseradish and crème fraîche makes a nice accompaniment. 

Poached grayling. Clean and dry a couple of smallish grayling and cut them in pieces. Have a few small potatoes on the boil, and after 10 minutes add the fish, salt, a few grains of allspice and a pinch of thyme. For a really exotic wilderness taste, add a few freshly emerged birch leaves (they look like mouse ears). Simmer gently for 10 minutes, skimming as necessary.
A simple yet satisfying fish dish. 

Baked trout: What all cooks aim for in preparing a fresh fish is to preserve as much of its natural juiciness and flavour as possible. The following method is an infallible way of doing just that and is perfect for trout (or any of the other salmonid for that matter). Take a trout from one of the sparkling rivers or lakes of the Ö-vik region. Then gut and clean the fish (leaving the head on) and place it in an oven-proof dish without salt or any form of fat. Set the oven to 100ºC and pop in the fish. A trout weighting 1 kilo should cook for approximately 50 minutes. The low temperature will keep in all the flavour and given the flesh just the right consistency. The fish will also retain all its own salt, so add salt only if you feel you have to. Serve on a bed of fresh green salad decorated with slices of lemon. Cooked this way and accompanied by boiled potatoes and melted butter, your trout will be a dish fit for a king.