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Now that the smelt season is here, we all have that issue of what to do with the smelt we catch.

Of course eating them the night or day after you catch them is the best, there is no way I have found to keep them palatable by freezing.

I was wondering if anyone has a secret on how to freeze them so they don't taste fishy after you thaw them out. Every time in the past I have frozen smelt they taste terrible and I just ended up using them for bait on superior to tip my jigs.

Now that we can't use them inland it cuts down on the amount of smelt I want to keep for bait.

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I will only be keeping about a gallon or 2 this year for that reason.

Here is what I do for the stuff I freeze that Im going to eat later. By the way nothing you do while freezing makes them taste like they are fresh.

If Im going to eat them later I clean them very well and then lay them on a cookie sheet with a clean old towl on it. Let dry a bit and then I take a vacume seal bag and put a few rolled paper towels on bottom. Lay smelt in the bag flat and then a couple more paper towels on top. Vacume seal and freeze flat. Thats the best way I have found.

As far as bait I just rinse them and freeze them 12 each in a zip lock bag. Lay flat in freezer.

No sense in keeping a bunch of smelt this year unless you can sell them. Its a waste.

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I have never had a real problem freezing them to eat later, in fact I froze some 2 years ago in the spring and cooked them at our elk camp in CO in November and the guys that had never had them raved about em. Head off, guts out and rinsed with water then vacuum sealed. I've been doing them this way for quite awhile and they taste good baked or fried.

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never freezed any to eat afterwards only for bait purposes. always seened to get too soft after they were thawed.

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I usually fill the bag with water full and then freeze them. This way of freezing it has kept the smelt pretty fresh for me.

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I have found that after years of freezing any fish that if you soak them in a solution of one quart of vinegar, add 2 TBSP of baking powder (get a large bowl because it's gonna foam and rise)soak overnight in the fridge. Now take a 1/2 gallon paper milk jug that has been cleaned and after rinsing fillets, load up the carton and fill with cold water (careful to leave an inch or two of room at top, it will expand). When you are ready to eat them later, take them out cut away the carton and soak them in 1/2 gallon of milk, until they thaw, might take a couple days in fridge (kind of like thawing a turkey). Believe me, this works! Beer batter for smelt is awesome, simple flour mixed with salt and pepper, mixed with a beer that has been opened and sat out all day (otherwise you'll have too much foam, some call it using a stale beer). Make sure dip drips from a spoon pretty easily, not to thick and not too thin, then enjoy!!!

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Oop's for got to add this, I use Lard (56% beef fat) for the deep frying, ok, peanut oil is healthier and has a high heat tolerance, however the taste you get from Lard is unreal, and we are not going to use it every day right? Filter the old oil and save in back of fridge for future use. Bring temp to 365 degrees and drain any dark peices that float around in your oil.

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  • Your Responses - Share & Have Fun :)

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