Where to Find Fresh FishBy Newfoundland & Labrador
There is nothing quite like the taste of fresh fish. And it just so happens that Newfoundland and Labrador has plenty of it.
Whether you’re seeking cod, lobster, crab, squid or mussels (to name a few), you’re sure to find it. However, knowing where to get your hands on fresh fish in a land of off-the-beaten-path places can be a challenge, which is why we developed this handy guide for tracking down fresh fish, seafood and fishing experiences. If the sea is a menu of bountiful harvest, then let us help you make the reservations.
Ocean Fishing Experiences
What is the freshest seafood in Newfoundland and Labrador? The kind you pull from the ocean yourself. Newfoundland and Labrador has a rich history surrounding the fishery, so, it’s no surprise that the most common fishing excursion is a day of cod jigging on the ocean. Quidi Vidi Charters in the quaint community of Quidi Vidi Village will show you first hand what it would be like to live and fish in an outport community. Your catch of the day ends up as the freshest fish and chips on their sea-side deck.
Fishing for Success in Petty Harbour will take you out in a small boat so you can learn how to handline for cod. At the end of the day, you'll fillet your fish and pan fry it with scrunchions (pork back fat) for a hearty, delicious meal. Maybe you'll even try your hand at cooking a traditional fisherman's stew.
In Twillingate, you can hop in a boat with Captain Dave from Prime Berth Fishing & Heritage Centre to jig for cod or squid or to haul up some lobster pots. Captain Dave, being a storyteller and a poet, will regale you with tales of being a fisherman—and he’ll do so while filleting your fish or preparing your seafood to take home with you.
Fancy some scallops? With Dildo Boat Tours you’ll hang out with the crew and their diver, learn about how GPS is used to find a scallop bed, and then you’ll help harvest and cook up a delicious scallop dinner. The best meals are the ones you work for!
In Labrador, book a fishing tour during your stay in Battle Harbour. Your fine catch will be served up at dinner! Further north in Port Hope Simpson, you can embark on a full-day fishing trip out of Alexis Bay with local Indigenous guides for sea trout, char, and salmon. Enjoy a fresh mussel harvest and boil up, or learn the traditional cold-smoked methods for curing char with Labrador blackberry bushes.
But there’s more than just seafood to fish for in Newfoundland and Labrador. Trout, salmon, whitefish, Arctic Char and more are found in abundance in the province’s freshwater bodies. In Springdale, join Indian Falls Chalet on a guided fly fishing experience and then learn the art of preparing smoked salmon—a truly unique experience for the foodie and non-foodie alike.
If you have ever wanted to learn to fly fish in and around the St. John's area, EC Ghillies is a fantastic cooperative which connects you with a guide who can teach, outfit and show you a favourite location to land a salmon or trout fit for the pan.
In Labrador, you can pair your fishing experience with a stay in a wilderness lodge. Both Cloud 9 Salmon Lodge in Eagle River and Michael’s River Lodge in Michael’s River provide high-end angling experiences. After a full day on the river, completely secluded in nature, savour the fruits of your labour from the comfort of your wilderness lodge as the sun sets over the Big Land.
Merchants Fish To Go
Drive the Road to the Isles towards Campbellton and there’s a good chance the 26-foot roadside lobster will catch your eye! Welcome to Kinden’s Treats from the Sea, a busy spot for fresh seafood since 1997. Step inside and meet the friendly folks selling a wide variety of seafood, including lobster, crab, mussels, cod tongues, cod cheeks, scallops, and so much more.
If you can’t make it to Kinden’s Treats from the Sea, keep your eyes peeled for their fish truck which travels throughout Gander, Grand Falls-Windsor, Botwood and St. John's.
At The Fish Depot on Water Street in St. John’s you’ll find fresh cod, cheeks, tongues, britches (cod roe), and more. You can take your lobster to go, or have them cook it for you beforehand. Flying home soon? Ask them to package your seafood for you! You’ll be able to show off your cooking skills for all your friends as you tell a tale or two about your travels throughout Newfoundland and Labrador.
Taylor’s Fish Market in Conception Bay South, just outside of St. John’s, is another place offering up tasty fish and fish dishes that you can take with you to go. They have it all, from mackerel to squid to turbot and shrimp (and everything in between).
There are a handful of Lobster Pools (holding pounds) around Newfoundland and Labrador, including Doyle W. Sansome & Sons, located in Hillgrade. Ask to have your lobster cooked and ready for carry-out so that you may enjoy the fresh air on their new deck. Enjoy the stunning views over the North Atlantic as the waves practically lap at your feet. Pause and watch the fish drift by the wharf on the fun “Fish Cam.”
There's also the aforementioned Kinden’s Treats from the Sea. You can pick your lobster straight from the tank or have someone package up your dinner to go.
From the Wharf
When all else fails, head out to the nearest fishing wharf and start chatting with the local fishermen. Often you’ll be able to directly purchase your fish from them, depending on what surprises you’ll find in the daily catch. Who knows—you might even get a tale out of it!
Learn About Fishing Culture in Newfoundland and Labrador
At the Bay de Verde Heritage Premises, visit the Heritage House built in 1896 by Mr. John Blundon, a local merchant who owned schooners and traded along the coast. You can tour this Victorian home and its finely decorated interior, as well as the quarters for servants, sharemen, and sailors. The premises are also home to the Baccalieu Interpretation Centre, a Heritage Park, and a fish store and flake.
The Ryan Premises National Historic Site in Bonavista also commemorates the history of fishing in the area, and tells the story of the Ryan family who pioneered generations of fishing business success. There are six buildings onsite—distinguishable for their white, 19th-century clapboard facades—including a house, salt storage, a store, and other outbuildings for you to visit.
Near Bonavista you'll find the Port Union National Historic District of Canada, a "union-built town" carrying out the vision of William Coaker and the Fisherman's Protective Union. You can tour the restored factory building and learn about the collection of paper presses and equipment used for the union newspaper (The Fishermen's Advocate), take a walking tour of the town, or just hike along the area's scenic oceanfront on the North Atlantic.
Next, head to Winterton to check out the Wooden Boat Museum where you can peruse exhibits and artifacts related to Newfoundland and Labrador's diverse boatbuilding heritage. Visit a boatbuilder in action or even get hands-on in one of the boatbuilding workshops.
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