Following is what I have learned about smoking trout so far. I am by no means an expert, but I have had good results evolving the method below and continue to learn. I use the Little and Big Chief electric smokehouses, so your mileage may vary; also, there is no reason why this method shouldnâ€™t work for any fish â€“ experimentation leads to success! Most trout do not need to be filleted but I prefer them that way. A good way to fillet trout for smoking is to fillet down each side to the tail, leaving it on and attached, cutting the skeleton off from the very base of the tail. After you fillet, carefully fillet the rib bones out, sliding your fillet knife underneath them. This will take care of most, if not all of the bones. In all cases involving trout, I prefer to leave skin on, but be sure to scale your fish; if you don't, you will wish you had. I have had excellent luck using a simple brine consisting of 1/2 cup of non-iodized salt (or soy sauce), 1/2 cup of white sugar (or, better yet, try brown sugar, honey, maple syrup etc.) and 2 cups of good-quality warm water (or apple juice). Stir together in a gallon jar or other non-metal, non-wood container, making sure to completely dissolve the salts and sugars, then add any of your favorite herbs and a few crushed red pepper flakes, if desired. I have also added garlic, onion, wine, tabasco and other spices with good results; you are limited only by your tastes, your imagination and what is in your kitchen. Be careful of the salt content because it is easy to have too much salt. Use fresh seasonings and reduced-salt or salt-free whenever you can, but do not use salt substitutes. When all is dissolved, add two cups of cold water or apple juice and stir. Add your trout fillets and at least a quart of water (have I mentioned that I really like to substitute apple juice?); depending on the amount of trout fillets you can usually simply fill the gallon jar. Brine at least 12 hours or overnight; be sure to stir or mix the contents periodically for good coverage. When this is done, lightly rinse each fillet or fish in cold water, then pat dry with paper towels. Hang fish fillet-side-out by the connected tail on a rack. You can also forget the tail thing and simply lay the fillets skin-side-down on a rack or grill. If you are smoking whole trout, prop the bellies open with a toothpick or similar object and lay the fish on their side or hang them head-down. The rinsing step is not absolutely necessary if you prefer saltier tastes, but I do this as I would rather taste the spices and seasonings than the salt. Rinsing will not remove the flavors of your other seasonings; trout seems to hold the flavors of herbs and spices well. No matter what seasonings I had put into the brine, I also like to sprinkle a modest amount of crushed bay leaves and crushed red peppers on the fish when the time comes to smoke; try this, or perhaps dill or some other herb according to your tastes. Wait an hour or so for the pellicle (a shiny, tacky â€œskinâ€ on the surface of the fish) to form, then smoke your trout according to the smoker manufacturerâ€™s instructions. Do not under any circumstances use pine, spruce, fir or other soft woods; my own preferred wood for smoking trout is maple, but apple, cherry and of course alder work very well. I am sure there are many choices that I haven't even thought of, including almost any fruit tree. Alder blended with any of the above is very nice and particularly suited for fish. Most trout has a very mellow taste, so it takes and holds smoke well. You can smoke as much as you want but medium is probably best; for the â€œChiefâ€ smokers, two pans of chips are just about perfect. After the smoking process, keep the fish over wet or dry heat depending on your smoker until done. I prefer that my fillets be still a bit moist with the meat opaque and flaking; the important thing is that the fish reaches 160 degrees or so for at least a half-hour. Some prefer to continue drying the fish until it is similar to jerky; I have tried this and it is good with an intense, smoky flavor, but to me it is not nearly as versatile as leaving it moist. Keep in mind that the dryer the fish, the longer the shelf-life. Your smoked trout can be eaten by itself or in any way you want. Peel it off the skin or, if smoked whole, peel off the skin and lift the meat right off the bones. Try it on crackers with cheese, or flake it up so it resembles canned tuna (but not nearly as moist, of course), then mix it with cream cheese or sour cream and finely-chopped green onions. Add a dash of salt-n-pepper, onion or garlic powder, tabasco, Worcestershire sauce, lemon juice or whatever you want. The result will be an excellent dip or spread that will have the neighbors, the co-workers at the office or the relatives bugging you for more.