I’m moving upriver on the Rhine near the border between Germany and France and there is not a trout in sight anywhere except for its close relative, salmon, on a platter in the dining room of the Forsetti, our Viking Longship.
Trout season here runs from May through October, but even if the season was open, trout apparently are no longer regular inhabitants of the Rhine.
While it is said that the water quality of the Rhine has improved considerably in the last decade or so, the native fish have been displaced by the voracious giant wels catfish, which can grow to 10 feet in length and weigh more than 300 pounds.
They make good sport for some anglers, but apparently eat virtually all other fish in the river.
Further downstream near Amsterdam and in the Netherlands’ many canals, anglers catch carp and bream, although the Dutchman who told me this also said he wouldn’t recommend eating them. The fish of choice for eating is herring, apparently heavily salted. Of course, one washes down that salty fish with the country’s best product – beer. Because I’m obliged to do extensive research for this column, I have done my best to sample as much of, and as many different kinds of, beer made in the Netherlands and Germany as I can possibly can.