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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Made you look ...

Isn't the smelt season half over already.

In the northern states, "smelt dipping" is a common sport in the early spring months (generally late April in the Upper Peninsula, when the stream water reaches approximately 40 °F). Fish are simply spotted using a flashlight (the best smelt dipping is in the middle of the night) and scooped out of the water using a dip net made of nylon or metal mesh. To clean a smelt, simply remove the head and the entrails. Fins, scales, and bones of all but the largest of smelts will soften when the smelts are cooked and do not need to be removed.
 

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A bucket or two sure would be nice!I can remember in the 70`s going to com-ed and scooping the smelt in by hand! Sometimes you could get two or three in one swoop!I was very young at this time but I`m sure there are alot more stories like mine.
 

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First time I went, back around 1973, my dad had been given an old setup. The gill net had a 5/8" mesh and was torn really bad, very rotten. Anyway, we go out to 95th st., start setting up, asking neighbors how to use the net. Just minutes before 7 PM, we're hooking the net to the trolley and the net drops into the water accidentilly. We pull it right up, and there are at least 15 smelt in the mesh! It was blast out there!
Years later, I fished Burnham. There was an old guy with a boom and dip net. He just sat and passed his home made wine around, as a group of young college guys handled the net duties. He also, cleaned and cooked the smelt, passing them out with his home made seafood sauce. Excellent! Sure wish we could go back to those times.
 

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I wish there were still enough smelt in Lake Mich to make a night of smelting worth while. Used to go to the beach between Zion and Winthrop Harbor in the late 70's and have a grand time. I guess a healthy preditor (salmon and trout) population in the lake is what is keeping the smelt population down. And that's a good thing too I guess.
 

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35 yrs ago long before Lake Shore Dr was on the other side of Lake Point Towers we would go to the North side of the Yacht Club to catch /net Smelt.
You could park at a meter 20' from the water. We would tie our pole that held the trolley line right to the parking meter. I remember days only having to pull the net 3 times because every mesh in the net would have a Smelt (sometimes a Herring) and the weight of the net with fish would dislodge the trolley anchor. It was exhausting and memorable. There were also guys with hoop nets on the pier that would load there haul in 55 gal drums in the back of pick up trucks. The good old days were really good. :)
 

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I never "smelted" on this side of the lake. Only in Michigan. In Michigan, dip nets are the only things you could use. In the day it took three guys to pull up a net and the river would get black. 10 guys filled a pick up bed very quickly. Now thats crazy!
 

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we were alway content to fill our bellies and then a 5-gallon bucket for each family. We dragged seines. Sometimes there would be 3 seines going at once in a reverse "V" formation so the 20' lone back net would get the ones that slipped out the sides of the front two 12 footers.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Just an update to this post ...

Smeltdown ahead for Chicago

Though Carl Walton remembers earlier decades when a night of smelting on the Chicago lakefront easily filled 5-gallon buckets, the West Side man proudly recounted last April.

http://www.suntimes.com/sports/outdoors ... 26.article
 
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