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Good For You: Stocked Trout

They strike often, fight strongly, are easy to clean and cook, and taste great!

A hooked, catchable-sized rainbow trout puts up a fight as it nears the shoreline of the Two Rivers State Recreation Area Trout Lake near Waterloo, NE. Photo by Greg Wagner/Nebraska game and Parks Commission.

Nevertheless, a significant asset to many of its excellent qualities as a game fish is the fact that few foods are as nutritious as a stocked trout from Nebraska waters! And, get this: More than 36,000 skillet-sized rainbow and tiger trout are in the process of being stocked in a number of waters around the state for your spring fishing!

Noah Wagner of Omaha, NE catches a skillet-sized rainbow trout at the Two Rivers State Recreation Area Trout Lake near Waterloo, NE. Photo by Greg Wagner/Nebraska Game and Parks Commission.

Trout are a cold-water species that will not survive the warm months in many of the ponds and lakes in which they are being stocked. These particular water bodies will only hold trout until the water becomes too warm for their survival. Therefore, anglers should not feel guilty when adding a limit of these tasty creatures to their creels.

An angler shows a good-sized rainbow trout he caught at the Two Rivers State Recreation Area Trout Lake on a beautiful spring day. Photo by Michael Carrick/Nebraska Game and Parks Commission.

Seriously, freshwater trout is one of the tastiest, healthiest fish you can include in your diet.

Freshly caught rainbow trout fillets. They have tender flesh and a mild, somewhat nutty flavor. The color and flavor of the flesh of trout depends on its diet and freshness. Nebraska’s hatchery-reared trout tend to be quite colorful and may have a reddish or orange tint to their flesh as a result of astaxanthin, a powerful antioxidant that is an ingredient in their trout feed and one that is derived naturally from aquatic insects and crayfish.

Eating trout is not only delicious, but it has been shown to improve human health in a variety of ways.

Consider that a cooked serving of a farm-raised or hatchery-reared rainbow trout contains approximately 981 milligrams of the omega-3 fatty acids. This amount far exceeds the minimum that requirements per day (300-500 milligrams) established various by the World Health Organization. In fact, a diet high in omega-3 fatty acids is linked to a decreased risk of cardiovascular disease, hypertension, high blood cholesterol and certain types of cancer. Omega-3 fatty acid consumption may also help prevent neurological disorders like dementia, depression, bipolar disorder and Alzheimer’s disease.

Did you know that trout consumption also lowers serum cholesterol and triglyceride values thereby helping prevent or decrease coronary heart disease? It does. Additionally, trout is an excellent source of easily digestible protein, both in quantity and quality. The protein of trout contains all nine of the essential amino acids required for human intake and ranks second only to egg protein in quality. The American Heart Association and the Harvard School of Public Health both agree that trout’s relatively low-fat and cholesterol content make it a good protein to substitute in your diet for meats like beef, pork and lamb, which contain significantly higher amounts of saturated fat and cholesterol. If you are counting calories, an average serving a trout has about one-third to one-half the calories proportionally of most meat cuts. Besides the reduced amount of calories, that average serving of trout fulfills the USDA’s guideline for a person’s daily intake of animal protein. Trout fit perfectly in a diet that includes alternative proteins like soybean and wheat as well.

If compared to beef, pork, lamb and even chicken, fish like trout is an equal or better source of vitamins, principally A, D, B6, B12, thiamine, riboflavin and niacin. It is also a good source of Pantothenic acid, phosphorus and potassium. Regarding calcium content, that of trout is eight times greater than that of beef, pork, lamb and chicken.

Trout also has a low sodium content, unless, of course, it has been smoked or salted. Individuals who have high blood pressure or cardiac issues are encouraged by physicians and dieticians to eat fresh fish such as trout because of its low sodium level.

Trout also contains a number of healthy micro minerals — zinc, copper, iron, manganese and selenium. One of the more recently discovered trace minerals that is essential for humans and helps in the prevention of some forms of cancer is selenium. Health care professionals are suggesting an increased diet of selenium, and guess what? Trout possess a higher volume of that than nearly any other food!

Keep in mind that you can maximize trout’s health benefits by choosing low-fat cooking methods like broiling, grilling, baking or steaming instead of fried or breaded fish.

Baked trout, seasoned, squirted with a little lemon, and stuffed with a bit of bruschetta. Photo by Greg Wagner/Nebraska Game and Parks Commission.

I like what Jenny Nguyen who’s one of our NEBRASKAland Magazine Writers/Photographers and a food blogger said about trout. “Without a doubt, trout are one of my favorite, if not my favorite fish. I’m not sure how to word it, but they are so pretty and plain at the same time. That’s what I like about them. If you offered me smoked trout, I would snatch the whole thing from your hands. Then I would find a little corner and sit there until I pick it clean like a little raccoon. So be aware.”

Honestly, you really can’t go wrong with trout! Not only is it tasty and  pretty easy to catch, studies show that it is also among the safest fish to consume as it contains relatively low levels of mercury and PCBs, or not at all. Presently, there are no fish consumption advisories for trout in Nebraska waters. Nebraska’s hatchery-reared and stocked trout are produced in an ecologically responsible, ethical manner in good water.

Be reminded to fish for trout in Nebraska waters, there are regulations that apply. You will need a current, valid Nebraska fishing permit, possibly a state park permit and to adhere to the legal trout limits, of course! The popular Two Rivers State Recreation Area Trout Lake near Waterloo, NE has special fishing regulations, you can access those here. Also, be sure to check out our new Nebraska Trout Slam contest, too!

Your blogger displays a nice, pan-sized rainbow trout caught at the Two Rivers State Recreation Area Trout Lake Waterloo, NE, and destined for the grill. Photo by Noah Wagner of Omaha, NE.

So, go get some fresh air, have some fun, eat healthy and enjoy a scrumptious meal — try trout!

Rainbow trout with the crankbait lure and spinning rig used by the angler to catch it. Photo by Daryl Bauer/Nebraska Game and Parks Commission.

About greg wagner

A native of Gretna, NE, a graduate of Gretna High School and Bellevue University, Greg Wagner currently serves as the Public Information Officer and Manager for the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission's Service Center in Omaha. On a weekly basis, Wagner can be heard on a number of radio stations, seen on local television in Omaha, and on social media sites, creatively conveying natural resource conservation messages as well as promoting outdoor activities and destinations in Nebraska. Wagner, whose career at Game and Parks began in 1979, walks, talks, lives, breathes and blogs about Nebraska’s outdoors. He grew up in rural Gretna, building forts in the woods, hunting, fishing, collecting leaves, and generally thriving on constant outdoor activity. One of the primary goals of his blog is to get people, especially young ones, to have fun and spend time outside!

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