Tuesday, February 16, 2010


The camaraderie of smelting is unmatched. There is something about good friends gathered around holes in the ice, catching Rainbow smelt and shooting the breeze. The more the merrier for this type of fishing, as the chum and jigs just attract more smelt.

Many northern New England tidal rivers have winter populations of anadromous Rainbow smelt.  However, Connecticut has a handful of lakes with their smaller, land-locked brethren.  These slender, carnivorous fish are tasty to both humans and game-fish.  The end goal of a smelting trip is to catch enough to bait your tip-ups for trout and to take enough home for a solid meal.  Some days you can catch your limit in a few hours, other days you can punch 100 holes and only find a dozen.

Although I release most of what I catch while fishing, smelt don't go back.  These are too good to pass up and don't even need to be cleaned.  My uncle taught me his way of preparing the smelt that is simple, yet delicious.  Heat a small skillet medium-high with peanut or vegetable oil.  Dip the smelt in whisked egg yolk, then into flour or bread crumbs.  Next fry the smelt in the oil until they take on a light, crispy brown.  Afterwards, dry the smelt on paper towels, lightly coat with sea salt and enjoy.

1 comment:

  1. I don't think I've ever had smelt. But I have to say that is one ice fishing setup you have going.