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Newfoundland and Labrador - An Angler's Dream!

Pan Fried Trout.JPG
There are few desitnations in the world that can rival Newfoundland and Labrador when it comes to angling, or fishing with a rod and a hook. Clear, cool waters set against scenic and rugged landscape where there's plenty of breathing room and an abundance of fish from wild Atlantic salmon, to landlocked salmon, brook trout, northern pike, whitefish and Arctic char.

The island of Newfoundland, particularly in the central portion of the island, has a large number of landlocked salmon, also known as ouananiche (pronounced wi-na-neesh), weighing 2 pounds or more. But probably the best kept secret in all of North America is the brown trout fishing of the Avalon Peninsula. In fact, the city of St. John's has more brown trout fishing within it's city limits than do many large areas throughout the entire continent!

Browns usuallly range from 3/4 to 1 pound, but fish of 2 pounds or more are not uncommon and brown trout over 10 pounds have been taken in the ponds around St. John's. The provincial brown trout record is actually 28 pounds.

There are also several ponds within close proximity to St. John's on the southern shore with excellent fishing for wild rainbow trout. Rainbow trout up to 8 pounds have been caught, but more commonly would be the 2 to 4 pound fish. When it comes to Rainbows, there are scheduled ponds and non-scheduled ponds and each have different seasonal dates.

Admittedly, I know very little about the different species of trout but my father in law can name them before they're pulled out of the water. My husband and his sons thoroughly enjoy a day of trouting - it's a 'Guys Only' outing that I'm perfectly ok with being excluded from. Don't get me wrong...I consider myself to be a down to earth kind of gal, but standing for hours, casting a line, surrounded by mosquitos, just isn't my cup of tea.

I'm perfectly content with packing a nice picnic lunch and giving my husband a kiss and a squeeze, sincerely wishing him a successful and happy day of trouting as he goes out the front door, while looking forward to my own day with my daughter's, shopping and dinining out.

Trout are one of the healthiest fish you can include in your diet. A 3 oz. cooked serving of trout contains approximately 981mg of omega-3 fatty acids, a far cry from the recommended daily amount of 250mg. Of the 3 omega fatty acids, DHA is perhaps the most important. DHA is an important structural component of the nerve cells in the brain and a key component of the heart. It's crucial for the proper development of brain, nerve and eye tissue in unborn babies but it's also essential throughout life for the maintenance of the brain, visual performance and the nervous system.

Increasing evidence suggests that DHA may delay or even prevent the onset of Alzheimer's, dementia and age related macular degeneration, a major cause of blindness. It also reduces trigylceride levels, improves HDL (good) cholesterol, and positively changes the LDL (bad) cholesterol particle size, thereby reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease.

DHA may also play an important role in reducing chronic inflammation, reducing blood clot formation, and modifying the immune response to sicknesses such as the common cold and seasonal flu.

Trout are also an excellent source of protein, with a 3 oz. serving of rainbow trout having 18-21g of protein, which is 37% of the recommended daily amount for men, 46% for women. The 'American Journal of Clinical Nutrition' states that people who obtained 25% of their total caloric intake from lean protein sources such as fish were more likely to lose weight, retain lean muscle mass and feel fuller after eating than people who received only 12% of calories from protein.

If that weren't impressive enough, a 3 oz. portion of trout contains 89% RDA of B12, 15% RDA of B6 and 25% RDA of Niacin, the health benefits of which include the easing of stress, treatment of anxiety and depression, aid in memory, relief of PMS and reduced risk of heart disease.

Stephen and his boys went trouting this week, to Stephen's 'special spot' about 45 minutes outside of St. John's. Josh had the biggest catch of the day, Stephen caught the most fish and Jon, who`s still relatively new to the sport, landed a couple of nice pan-size beauties himself. They had a fantastic day together and the smile on my husband's face when he walked through the door spoke volumes to me.

There are a lot of recipes out there for trout, from trout tacos to trout stuffed with garlic, spinach and feta cheese, but in our household, we like them to still taste like trout and as such, dredge them in a little flour, a little seasoning of salt and pepper and pan fry them in a cast iron skillet. Traditionally, trout would be dredged in white flour and fried in lard, but I've healthied it up a bit, dredging the trout in a mixture of 1 part coconut flour to 2 parts whole wheat flour, seasoning only with pepper and some dried dill, and pan frying them in coconut oil. It was a bit of a stealth health move on my part because I didn't disclose this information to my husband until after the fact, wanting his opinion of the meal to be unbiased by my messing with tradition. While he was eating it, he asked what I had seasoned it, when I asked 'why he asked', he said, 'Because it tastes really, really good and I was just wondering.'. Yay!! Thumbs up!!

Scheduled waters/non-scheduled waters, winter season/summer season, speckled, brown, rainbow or ouananiche...these are the details that I will probably always be unclear on. But how to cook the bounty? That's still where I shine! Trout pan fried in coconut oil...easy, inexpensive, healthy AND delicious.

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