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Smelt (fish)

For other uses, see Smelt (disambiguation).

Smelts are a family of small fish, the Osmeridae, found in the North Atlantic and North Pacific Oceans, as well as rivers, streams and lakes in Europe, North America and Northeast Asia. They are also known as freshwater smelts or typical smelts to distinguish them from the related Argentinidae (herring smelts or argentines), Bathylagidae (deep-sea smelts), and Retropinnidae (Australian and New Zealand smelts).

Some smelt species are common in the North American Great Lakes, and in the lakes and seas of the northern part of Europe, where they run in large schools along the saltwater coastline during spring migration to their spawning streams. In some western parts of the United States, smelt populations have greatly declined in recent decades, leading to their protection under the Endangered Species Act. The Delta smelt (Hypomesus transpacificus) found in the Sacramento Delta of California, and the eulachon (Thaleichthys pacificus) found in the Northeast Pacific and adjacent rivers, are both protected from harvest.

Some species of smelts are among the few fish that sportsmen have been allowed to net, using hand-held dip nets, either along the coastline or in streams. Some sportsmen also ice fish for smelt. They are often fried and eaten whole.

Contents

In size, smelts usually grow to about 20 centimetres (8 inches) long, although some species can reach 70 cm (28 in). Smelts are a food source for many fish, including salmon, striped bass, and lake trout.

Like salmon, many species are anadromous, living most of their lives in the sea, but traveling into fresh water to breed. However, a few exceptions, such as the surf smelt, spend their entire lives at sea.

Family Osmeridae
Osmeridae

Salangidae, Plecoglossus

Hypomesus

Mallotus

Osmerus

Thaleichthys

Allosmerus

Spirinchus

Cladogram of the family Osmeridae. Salangidae and Plecoglossus might be sister clades to the osmerid genera.
Smelt dipping in the Keweenaw Peninsula in Michigan

In the Canadian provinces and U.S. states around the Great Lakes, "smelt dipping" is a common group sport in the early spring and when stream waters reach around 4 °C (39 °F). Fish are spotted using a flashlight or headlamp and scooped out of the water using a dip net made of nylon or metal mesh. The smelt are cleaned by removing the head and the entrails. Fins, scales, and bones of all but the largest of smelts are cooked without removal.

On the Maine coast, smelts were also a sign of spring, with the run of these small fish up tiny tidal estuaries. Many of these streams were narrow enough for a person to straddle and get a good catch of smelts by dipping a bucket.

Close-up of smelt for sale at a California seafood market

North America

Dried smelt.

Smelts are an important winter catch in the saltwater mouths of rivers in New England and the Maritime Provinces of Canada. Fishermen would historically go to customary locations over the ice using horses and sleighs. Smelt taken out of the cold saltwater were preferred to those taken in warm water. The fish did not command a high price on the market, but provided a source of supplemental income due to their abundance. The smelts were "flash frozen" simply by leaving them on the ice and then sold to fish buyers who came down the rivers.

In the present day, smelts are fished both commercially using nets at sea, and for recreation by hand-netting them or spearing or angling them through holes in river ice. They are often the target fish of small 'fishing shack' villages that spring up along frozen rivers. Typical ways of preparing them to include pan-frying in flour and butter, or deep-frying in batter, and they are sometimes cooked directly out of the water over small stoves in the shacks.

East Asia

Smelt is popular in Japan, as the species Sprinchus lanceolatus, and is generally served grilled, called shishamo, especially when full of eggs.

Smelt roe, specifically from capelin, called masago in Japanese, is yellow to orange in color and is often used in sushi.

Smelt is also served in dim sum restaurants, deep fried with the heads and tails attached, identified as duō chūn yú (多春鱼) or duō luǎn yú (多卵魚), which loosely translates as "fish with many eggs".

Smelt is one of the prime fish species eaten in Tamil Nadu as Nethili fry, Nethili karuvadu (dried fish), coastal Karnataka, especially in Mangalore and Udupi regions, usually fried with heads and tailed removed or in curries. They are called 'Bolingei' (ಬೊಳಂಜೆ) in Kannada and Tulu and 'MotiyaLe' in Konkani.

Fishing for smelt, Gold Bluffs Beach, Orick, California, 1972

In the city of Inje, South Korea (Gangwon Province), an Ice Fishing Festival is held annually from January 30 to February 2 on Soyang Lake, coinciding with the smelt's yearly run into fresh water to spawn. They are locally known as bing-eo (빙어) and typically eaten alive or deep-fried.[1]

In Finland, the province of Paltamo has yearly Norssikarnevaali festivals in the middle of May.

For some Italians, especially from the region of Calabria, fried smelts are a traditional part of the Christmas Eve dinner consisting of multiple courses of fish.

In 1956, the Chamber of Commerce in Kelso, Washington, declared Kelso, located on the Cowlitz River, as the "Smelt Capital of the World". They erected billboards proclaiming this, and held festivals for the annual smelt runs until the runs dried up.

The village of Lewiston, New York, on the lower portion of the Niagara River, celebrates an annual two-day smelt festival the first weekend in May. During the festival, approximately 160 kilograms (350 pounds) of smelt are battered and fried at the Lewiston Waterfront. The smelt samples are free during the festival and donations are welcome, as they help support programs supported by the Niagara River Anglers. The festival has a motto, which is a play on words: "Lewiston never smelt so good."

Lithuania celebrates an annual weekend smelt festival in Palanga "Palangos Stinta" early every January.

The American Legion Post 82, in Port Washington, Wisconsin has been hosting its annual Smelt Fry since 1951. Located on the Western shore of Lake Michigan, 35 miles North of Milwaukee, Port Washington has a long history as a fishing community with commercial and sports ventures. The Legion's Smelt Fry happens every year in mid to late April. In mid-July, the quaint town hosts their Fish Day event, billed as "The world's largest, one-day, outdoor fish fry!"

At the time of the smelt's spring run in the Neva River at the head of the Gulf of Finland on the Baltic Sea in Saint Petersburg, a Smelt Festival [ru] (Prazdnik koryushki) is celebrated.

The Magic Smelt Puppet Troupe of Duluth, Minnesota has held an annual "Run, Smelt, Run!" puppet-based second line parade, smelt fry, and dance party since 2012. The troupe occasionally hosts other performances throughout the year.

  1. Froese, Rainer, and Daniel Pauly, eds. (2012). "Osmeridae" in FishBase. February 2012 version.
  2. McDowell, Robert M. (1998). Paxton, J.R.; Eschmeyer, W.N. (eds.). Encyclopedia of Fishes. San Diego: Academic Press. p. 116. ISBN 0-12-547665-5.
  3. Molecular resolution of the systematics of a problematic group of fishes (Teleostei: Osmeridae) and evidence for morphological homoplasy, Katriina L. Ilves , Eric B. Taylor, Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 50 (2009) 163–178. doi:10.1016/j.ympev.2008.10.021
  4. Hassan, Gillani. "Smeltdown: Small fish continues Great Lakes vanishing act". freep. Keith MathenyDetroit Free Press. Retrieved21 December 2020.
  5. "[Japan Smelt fishing Popularity Ranking] Ice / Dome Boat Tour! Lake Leisure A thorough introduction to winter tradition of smelt fishing! | Activity Japan". Activity Japan. Unknown. Retrieved21 December 2020.
  6. Hinrichsen, Richard A (1998) "The Ghost Run of the Cowlitz" Archived 2010-02-15 at the Wayback Machine Cowlitz Historical Quarterly, 40 (2): 5–21.
  7. http://www.buffalonews.com/cityregion/niagaracounty/story/652177.html
  8. http://www.tonawanda-news.com/local/local_story_117011425.html
  9. http://www.buffalospree.com/Buffalo-Spree/Events/Calendar/index.php/name/Lewiston-Smelt-Festival/event/13495/
  10. http://www.niagarariverregion.com/event/100049/lewiston-never-smelt-so-good
  11. "'Magic' march: Annual Duluth parade celebrates spring smelt run".
Wikisource has the text of the 1911 Encyclopædia Britannica article "Smelt".

Smelt (fish)
Smelt fish Language Watch Edit For other uses see Smelt disambiguation Smelts are a family of small fish the Osmeridae found in the North Atlantic and North Pacific Oceans as well as rivers streams and lakes in Europe North America and Northeast Asia They are also known as freshwater smelts or typical smelts to distinguish them from the related Argentinidae herring smelts or argentines Bathylagidae deep sea smelts and Retropinnidae Australian and New Zealand smelts SmeltPond smelt Hypomesus olidus Scientific classificationKingdom AnimaliaPhylum ChordataClass ActinopterygiiOrder OsmeriformesSuborder OsmeroideiFamily OsmeridaeGeneraAllosmerus Hypomesus Mallotus Osmerus Spirinchus Thaleichthys Some smelt species are common in the North American Great Lakes and in the lakes and seas of the northern part of Europe where they run in large schools along the saltwater coastline during spring migration to their spawning streams In some western parts of the United States smelt populations have greatly declined in recent decades leading to their protection under the Endangered Species Act The Delta smelt Hypomesus transpacificus found in the Sacramento Delta of California and the eulachon Thaleichthys pacificus found in the Northeast Pacific and adjacent rivers are both protected from harvest Some species of smelts are among the few fish that sportsmen have been allowed to net using hand held dip nets either along the coastline or in streams Some sportsmen also ice fish for smelt They are often fried and eaten whole Contents 1 Description 2 Smelt dipping 3 As food 3 1 North America 3 2 East Asia 4 Festivals 5 See also 6 References 7 External linksDescription EditIn size smelts usually grow to about 20 centimetres 8 inches long although some species can reach 70 cm 28 in 1 Smelts are a food source for many fish including salmon striped bass and lake trout Like salmon many species are anadromous living most of their lives in the sea but traveling into fresh water to breed However a few exceptions such as the surf smelt spend their entire lives at sea 2 Family OsmeridaeOsmeridae Salangidae Plecoglossus Hypomesus Mallotus Osmerus Thaleichthys Allosmerus Spirinchus Cladogram of the family Osmeridae Salangidae and Plecoglossus might be sister clades to the osmerid genera 3 Smelt dipping Edit Smelt dipping in the Keweenaw Peninsula in Michigan In the Canadian provinces and U S states around the Great Lakes smelt dipping is a common group sport in the early spring and when stream waters reach around 4 C 39 F Fish are spotted using a flashlight or headlamp and scooped out of the water using a dip net made of nylon or metal mesh The smelt are cleaned by removing the head and the entrails Fins scales and bones of all but the largest of smelts are cooked without removal 4 On the Maine coast smelts were also a sign of spring with the run of these small fish up tiny tidal estuaries Many of these streams were narrow enough for a person to straddle and get a good catch of smelts by dipping a bucket 4 As food Edit Close up of smelt for sale at a California seafood market North America Edit Dried smelt Smelts are an important winter catch in the saltwater mouths of rivers in New England and the Maritime Provinces of Canada Fishermen would historically go to customary locations over the ice using horses and sleighs Smelt taken out of the cold saltwater were preferred to those taken in warm water The fish did not command a high price on the market but provided a source of supplemental income due to their abundance The smelts were flash frozen simply by leaving them on the ice and then sold to fish buyers who came down the rivers In the present day smelts are fished both commercially using nets at sea and for recreation by hand netting them or spearing or angling them through holes in river ice They are often the target fish of small fishing shack villages that spring up along frozen rivers Typical ways of preparing them to include pan frying in flour and butter or deep frying in batter and they are sometimes cooked directly out of the water over small stoves in the shacks East Asia Edit Smelt is popular in Japan as the species Sprinchus lanceolatus and is generally served grilled called shishamo especially when full of eggs Smelt roe specifically from capelin called masago in Japanese is yellow to orange in color and is often used in sushi Smelt is also served in dim sum restaurants deep fried with the heads and tails attached identified as duō chun yu 多春鱼 or duō luǎn yu 多卵魚 which loosely translates as fish with many eggs 5 Smelt is one of the prime fish species eaten in Tamil Nadu as Nethili fry Nethili karuvadu dried fish coastal Karnataka especially in Mangalore and Udupi regions usually fried with heads and tailed removed or in curries They are called Bolingei ಬ ಳ ಜ in Kannada and Tulu and MotiyaLe in Konkani Festivals Edit Fishing for smelt Gold Bluffs Beach Orick California 1972 In the city of Inje South Korea Gangwon Province an Ice Fishing Festival is held annually from January 30 to February 2 on Soyang Lake coinciding with the smelt s yearly run into fresh water to spawn They are locally known as bing eo 빙어 and typically eaten alive or deep fried 1 In Finland the province of Paltamo has yearly Norssikarnevaali festivals in the middle of May For some Italians especially from the region of Calabria fried smelts are a traditional part of the Christmas Eve dinner consisting of multiple courses of fish In 1956 the Chamber of Commerce in Kelso Washington declared Kelso located on the Cowlitz River as the Smelt Capital of the World They erected billboards proclaiming this and held festivals for the annual smelt runs until the runs dried up 6 The village of Lewiston New York on the lower portion of the Niagara River celebrates an annual two day smelt festival the first weekend in May 7 8 During the festival approximately 160 kilograms 350 pounds of smelt are battered and fried at the Lewiston Waterfront 9 The smelt samples are free during the festival and donations are welcome as they help support programs supported by the Niagara River Anglers The festival has a motto which is a play on words Lewiston never smelt so good 10 Lithuania celebrates an annual weekend smelt festival in Palanga Palangos Stinta early every January The American Legion Post 82 in Port Washington Wisconsin has been hosting its annual Smelt Fry since 1951 Located on the Western shore of Lake Michigan 35 miles North of Milwaukee Port Washington has a long history as a fishing community with commercial and sports ventures The Legion s Smelt Fry happens every year in mid to late April In mid July the quaint town hosts their Fish Day event billed as The world s largest one day outdoor fish fry At the time of the smelt s spring run in the Neva River at the head of the Gulf of Finland on the Baltic Sea in Saint Petersburg a Smelt Festival ru Prazdnik koryushki is celebrated The Magic Smelt Puppet Troupe of Duluth Minnesota has held an annual Run Smelt Run puppet based second line parade smelt fry and dance party since 2012 11 The troupe occasionally hosts other performances throughout the year See also EditRainbow smeltReferences Edit Froese Rainer and Daniel Pauly eds 2012 Osmeridae in FishBase February 2012 version McDowell Robert M 1998 Paxton J R Eschmeyer W N eds Encyclopedia of Fishes San Diego Academic Press p 116 ISBN 0 12 547665 5 Molecular resolution of the systematics of a problematic group of fishes Teleostei Osmeridae and evidence for morphological homoplasy Katriina L Ilves Eric B Taylor Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 50 2009 163 178 doi 10 1016 j ympev 2008 10 021 a b Hassan Gillani Smeltdown Small fish continues Great Lakes vanishing act freep Keith MathenyDetroit Free Press Retrieved 21 December 2020 Japan Smelt fishing Popularity Ranking Ice Dome Boat Tour Lake Leisure A thorough introduction to winter tradition of smelt fishing Activity Japan Activity Japan Unknown Retrieved 21 December 2020 Hinrichsen Richard A 1998 The Ghost Run of the Cowlitz Archived 2010 02 15 at the Wayback Machine Cowlitz Historical Quarterly 40 2 5 21 http www buffalonews com cityregion niagaracounty story 652177 html http www tonawanda news com local local story 117011425 html http www buffalospree com Buffalo Spree Events Calendar index php name Lewiston Smelt Festival event 13495 http www niagarariverregion com event 100049 lewiston never smelt so good Magic march Annual Duluth parade celebrates spring smelt run External links EditWikisource has the text of the 1911 Encyclopaedia Britannica article Smelt Froese Rainer and Daniel Pauly eds 2006 Osmeridae in FishBase January 2006 version Retrieved from https en wikipedia org w index php title Smelt fish amp oldid 1042052638, wikipedia, wiki, book,

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