It doesn't matter where I go to catch them or talk about eating them, I
always have someone ask me with some wretched look on their face, "Are you
going to eat that?". Hell yes!
These little fish are an abundant food source in some lakes in and around
the northern hemisphere. They can be found in the Great Lakes and even in
some deeper, larger land locked lakes. Once the waters reach a certain
temperature, it triggers the reproductive instinct in them. The Smelt run
in the spring time as some other fish do, making their way from the open
waters to streams and tributaries to spawn. They can congregate in the
thousands just in one little school. Their average size ranging from 7-10
inches in length. They are forage for salmon, trout, walleye, northern pike
and many other species of fish, oh, and me.
'Smelting' as it has been referred to, has been a spring past time for
outdoorsmen for generations. I grew up tagging along with my father and a
few other OMP'S in the neighborhood, heading out at dusk to get the 'good
spots' and wait for the smelt to show. For us, it was usi g dip nets in
rivers along the north shore of Lake Superior. Joining other people lining
the banks taking turns trying to scoop out some tasty goodness. Now, with a
change in location, laws and gear, I have the ability to use a seine,
dragging the shorelines. With timing, luck, hard work and a little know
how, this method can be extremely successful.
Regardless of where you might be, if the opportunity presents itself and
you have the ability to do so, try getting out and having some fun
wrangling these little guys. They are incredibly tasty, healthy and can
provide memories to last a lifetime!