Smelt Run a Sure Sign of Spring in Thunder Bay


Thunder Bay River Bank Tradition

THUNDER BAY – The smelts have started to run in Thunder Bay. Late night smelt fishing is a tradition along the mouths of the rivers in Thunder Bay.

In banner years, people can gather buckets and buckets of the little fish. The little fish are caught in hand nets on long poles usually.

It is important to keep in mind that the water in the rivers are still very cold, and often flowing fast so keeping the younger kids under supervision is important.

Then the fun at home of getting the smelts from lake to table begins.

Cooking your Smelt Harvest

Smelt typically are cleaned using scissors due to their small size. You can clean the smelt with scissors, some people cut off the head and then cut along the belly to remove the stomach and internals. Others simply cook the smelt whole.
It all comes down to your personal preference.
Whisk together flour and salt in a pie plate. Dredge the individual smelt in the flour mixture. Make sure that you coat both the outside and cavity of the fish.
To cook the smelt, heat oil in a frying pan us oil that is at least 1/4-inch deep and heat it up to medium heat until hot.
Place fish in the hot oil and fry until crisp and firm, it only takes about two or three minutes per side.
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