How Do You Cook Fresh Caught Salmon?

If you’re a fisherman or simply enjoy fresh seafood, you know that there’s nothing like the taste of freshly caught salmon. While there are many ways to prepare this delicious fish, cooking it properly is key to bringing out its natural flavors. In this article, we’ll guide you through the process of cooking fresh caught salmon to perfection.

Choosing the Right Salmon

Before we dive into the cooking process, it’s important to choose the right salmon. Look for bright pink or red flesh that is firm to the touch and has a mild, slightly sweet smell. Avoid salmon with brown spots or an overly fishy smell as these are signs of spoilage.

Preparing Your Salmon

Once you have your fresh caught salmon, it’s time to prepare it for cooking. Start by rinsing it under cold water and patting it dry with a paper towel.

If your salmon still has scales on it, scrape them off with a knife or fish scaler. Next, remove any bones using a pair of pliers or tweezers.

Cleaning and Seasoning

To clean your salmon thoroughly, make sure all remaining scales are removed from both sides of the fish. After cleaning your salmon, season both sides with salt and freshly cracked black pepper.

Note: Be sure to season just before cooking; if seasoning too early can cause unwanted moisture release.

Cooking Methods for Fresh Caught Salmon

There are several methods you can use to cook fresh caught salmon including grilling, baking in the oven, pan-frying on the stove or even poaching in liquid.


Grilling is one of the most popular ways to cook fresh caught salmon as it gives a smoky flavor while keeping moisture intact. Preheat your grill on medium-high heat and lightly oil grates. Place the salmon on the grill, skin side down, and cook for 4-6 minutes per side or until the internal temperature reaches 145Β°F.

Baking in the Oven

Baking your salmon in the oven is a quick and easy way to cook it. Preheat your oven to 375Β°F, place your salmon on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and bake for about 12-15 minutes or until the internal temperature reaches 145Β°F.

Pan-Frying on the Stove

Pan-frying salmon is another popular method that can give a crispy skin while keeping moisture intact. Heat oil in a non-stick skillet over medium-high heat. When hot, add your seasoned salmon skin-side down and cook for 4-5 minutes per side or until golden brown and cooked through.

Poaching in Liquid

Poaching salmon is a gentler cooking method that produces moist and tender results. Bring a mixture of water, white wine, lemon slices, bay leaves, salt, and pepper to boil. Reduce heat to low, add your seasoned salmon fillet(s), cover and let simmer for about 10-12 minutes or until done.

Serving Your Fresh Caught Salmon

Now that you have successfully cooked your fresh caught salmon to perfection, it’s time to serve it up! Pair with roasted vegetables such as asparagus or carrots along with some fluffy mashed potatoes or even pasta salad.

  • Roasted asparagus
  • Roasted carrots
  • Mashed potatoes
  • Pasta salad

Note: Be sure to garnish your dish with lemon wedges or fresh herbs like dill for added flavor.


Cooking fresh caught salmon may seem intimidating at first, but with the right technique and seasoning, you can enjoy a delicious and nutritious meal. Whether you prefer grilling, baking, pan-frying or poaching, your fresh caught salmon will surely impress your taste buds. So get out there and catch yourself some fresh salmon to try out these cooking methods today!

Photo of author

Lindsay Collins