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VFN Takes to the Lake!

July 9, 2014

On Friday, June 27th, VFN took two adventurous chefs on our maiden voyage onto Lake Champlain to fish for beautiful, tasty lake trout and get to the bottom of what is possible when thinking about local fish on more restaurant menus. Our guides that clear summer morning were Captain Paul and Brian Dunkling of Sure Strike Charters and James Ehlers and Mary Catherine Jones of Lake Champlain International--champions of the health of lake Champlain and organizers of the state's most popular fishing derbies. Chef Eric Warnstedt of Hen of the Wood and Chef Doug Paine of both Juniper at Hotel Vermont and Bleu Northeast Seafood were our chef pioneers, both have sought out Lake fish to add to their menus. The conversation was only stopped briefly to reel in the large Lake Trout from about 100ft below the surface! 

Captain Paul and Brian enlightened us on the fisheries that exist and thrive on the Lake today, they are the owners of Ray's Seafood Market in Essex and Burlington, and distribute local Lake fish (mostly perch) to Vermont, New York and the Midwest. Captain Paul is eager to find a way to keep more of the fish local (there are a few VT restaurants that have had perch on their menus for years). In fact, you will find Lake Champlain fish at this year's VFN Annual Forum Dinner. Chef Doug Paine is sourcing local fish to feature at his table for Bleu Northeast Seafood--come give it a try!

Follow this link to see more photos from the trip! 

This VFN fishing trip was made in partnership with Lake Champlain International to increase the vitality of Lake Champlain Fisheries and Lake health advocacy. The trip is the first part of an educational chef series surrounding Lake Champlain and its fish. If you are a VFN chef and would like to get involved, please email  

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