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Taking a Trout Test with Hemingway


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Taking a Trout Test with Hemingway

Chad Brealey

I was asked recently by to recreate Ernest Hemingway 's Bacon-wrapped trout recipe. Not one to shy away from emulating Nick Adams (the non-conflicted parts) I needed to find a way of combining a beautiful location with easily found, delicious trout.

The Rocky Mountain foothills are home to some perfect little streams but provincial regulations require catch and release from wild waters. This is understandable as native cutthroat and bull trout populations could not sustain a kill fishery. But, there are non-native species lurking in these streams as well.

Trout Unlimited and Alberta Fish & Wildlife want non-native brook trout numbers to be suppressed - and they want anglers to help. Brook trout are a beautiful little trout (actually a member of the char family) with a long-storied reputation at the table. 

In order to take part in this unique program I needed to take a test - a trout test. I don't think Nick Adams ever had to take a trout test but, for the sake of legality, I did.

After rushing through the photo-based, multiple choice test, I got two wrong. I failed. This actually stung. I've had many trout, and many other fish, to hand and I have never doubted my knowledge of what species I had tricked into joining me on land.

The test can be administered twice before being subjected to an in-person trout ID tutorial. I had another chance. This time, I went over the photos slowly and identified each of the 18 trout/char correctly. With my angler's dignity somewhat intact I will soon be heading out into the Foothills with a biologist to catch, record, and eat brook trout.

While you likely won't be able to join me on the excursion, you can take a similar fish ID test via Trout Unlimited. 

I'll be heading out before the end of September, before the real snow hits and while the streams are low and clear.