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American Smelt

About American Smelt

This fish is highly popular as food. It is a slender fish with an adipose fin that is set behind its dorsal fin. This fin relates it to the trout and the white fish. Smelt shoal together and swarm in millions during their April spawning run. Their spawning occurs at night when the fish leave the deep water to ascend small streams and rivers. The American Smelt that are landlocked normally shoal 50 to 200 feet (15 to 60m) deep. They live on insects, zooplankton and tiny fish and shrimps.

Smelt live in saltwater and make short inland spawning runs, and these runs last less than two weeks. This is a pan fish, and the American Smelt run usually turns into a great party. The fish are scooped up by the hundreds for immediate cooking. The American Smelt provides a lot of food for the game fish that is a constant supply of nutrition that they need. Salmon, pike, char, and trout rely on the smelt shoals for their everyday existence. On some lakes that are landlocked, American Smelt are fished for by commerical fishing companies.