Skip to primary navigation Skip to content Skip to footer
Back to Blog

How to Cook Your Fresh Caught Fish this Holiday Season

a small boat in a large body of water

It’s the most wonderful time of the year! If you’re giving the gift of fishing with Tahoe Sport Fishing (we think it’s an excellent gift!) we have some recommendations on how to utilize your fresh caught fish throughout the holiday season.

Winter Fishing Tahoe

Is there a prouder feeling than being able to say you caught your holiday dinner?

Fish for holiday dinners is quite common around the world, although in the US we tend to gravitate towards ham, turkey and sometimes even goose. The Italians have been serving up their Feast of Seven Fishes for ages, but fish is also a popular holiday dish in Denmark, Australia, South Africa, Mexico and England. If you are preparing a traditional Feast of Seven Fishes, the Mackinaw would make an excellent substitute for the salt cod course. 

If a stew is more up your alley, we found this recipe for a Holiday Seafood Feast, that sounds pretty tasty to us! 

  • 4 tablespoons Olive Oil
  • 2-3 Garlic Cloves, Finely Chopped
  • 2 cups Cherry Tomatoes, cut in half or quarters
  • 2 tablespoons plus 2 Teaspoons Finely Chopped Parsley, divided
  • ½ – 1 teaspoons Crushed Red Chili flakes
  • 1½ to 2 cups White Wine
  • ½ – 1 cups Water (or more Wine…)
  • Pinch Salt, White Pepper
  • 4 Mackinaw Fish Fillets, about ½ lb
  • 8-12 Shrimp, cleaned & deveined
  • 8-12 Clams/Mussels or both
  • 1 pound Calamari &/or Octopus cleaned and sliced


In a large Paella pan with a lid or something similar, combine the olive oil and garlic and sauté until the garlic turns golden, about 5 minutes. Add the tomatoes, 2 tablespoons of the parsley, chili flakes, white wine and water and season with salt. Bring the mixture to a boil. Turn the heat down, carefully add the fish fillets to the pan, and then turn them to coat with the cooking liquid. Cover with the lid and cook for 5 minutes then add the remaining seafood. Cover the pan and simmer until the shrimp turn pink and the clams open. Season with salt, garnish with remaining parsley. Serve immediately in shallow bowls that have been warmed or right from the pan. Grilled or toasted bread goes great with this!

What could be more festive than Orange Pomegranate Mackinaw? We’re still thinking too. The original recipe called for salmon, but mackinaw is a great substitute for this fish as well!

Holiday Fish Recipes

This looks too good not to try!

You will need:

  • 1 Small Red Onion (thinly sliced)
  • 1 Skinned Mackinaw Filet (about 2 pounds)
  • 1/2 teaspoon of salt
  • 1 Medium Naval Orange (thinly sliced)
  • 1 cup of pomegranate seeds
  • 2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon of fresh minced dill


Preheat oven to 375°. Line a baking pan with foil with enough extra to seal. Place onion slices in a single layer on foil. Top with mackinaw; sprinkle with salt. Arrange orange slices over top. Sprinkle with pomegranate seeds; drizzle with oil. Top with a second piece of foil. Bring edges of foil together on all sides and crimp to seal, forming a large packet. Bake until fish just begins to flake easily with a fork, 25-30 minutes. Be careful of escaping steam when opening packet. Move to a serving platter; sprinkle with dill. We recommend serving this dish with your favorite veggies and a wild rice medley or pilaf. 

Our final recommended recipe is for a Garlic Butter Mackinaw with Lemon Asparagus. Yum! Again, the original recipe calls for cod, but we’re swapping it out for the mackinaw. 

  • 1 medium mackinaw filet cut in 3 or 4 chunks
  • 2 bunches of asparagus, rinsed and trimmed
  • 1 teaspoon of olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons of minced garlic
  • 1/2 cup of low sodium vegetable broth (or white wine)
  • 1/2 stick unsalted butter
  • 1 tablespoon of hot sauce
  • Juice of half a lemon
  • 1 tablespoon of minced parsley
  • Crushed red chili pepper flakes
  • Slices of lemon for garnish


Season mackinaw with salt and pepper and let it sit while you prepare the asparagus. Wash and trim the ends of the asparagus, then blanch them in boiling water for 2- 3 minutes then soak in ice water to stop cooking. Drain and set aside. Heat olive oil in a large stainless-steel or cast-iron skillet over medium-low heat. Gently cook fish on both sides until golden brown. Remove the cod fillets from the skillet and set aside to a plate. In the same skillet over medium heat, add minced garlic then deglaze with vegetable broth (or wine). Bring it to a simmer. Add butter, lemon juice, hot sauce, and parsley. Give a quick stir to combine the lemon garlic butter sauce. Add the drained blanched asparagus and toss for 2 minutes to cook it up. Add codfish fillets back to the pan and reheat for another minute. Garnish with more parsley, crushed chili pepper, and lemon slices and serve immediately. 

Let us know if you try any of these recipes in the comments! We’d love to know your favorite! 

If all of this sounds like too much work, MacDuff’s Pub will be open throughout the holidays and is happy to take the cooking task from you! They prepare your fresh caught fish 3 ways for $27 per person. And they do an amazing job! 

And don’t forget about our sale on gift certificates and online retail going on through midnight on Christmas Eve. Buy a gift certificate and save $20! Buy a gift certificate for a private charter and save $20 per person! This discount will automatically be applied at check out. Get 15% off any online retail purchases through midnight on Christmas Eve. Enter code HOLIDAY at checkout to redeem. 

TSF Gift Certificates

Buy and save this holiday season!

We fish year round and go out twice daily, in the morning and the afternoon. Our morning charter is currently going out at 8 a.m. and is five hours long. Our afternoon charter is currently going out at 1 p.m. and is 4 hours long. We’re currently accepting reservations through the holiday season and would love to take you out on the water! You can give us a call (530.541.5448 – recommended) or book online. We hope to see you soon!