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Smelting


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I was just wondering if smelting is a thing of the past or if you can still get them along the north shore? It has been years since we been up there and the last time we went it was so poor we ended up buying some from a local comercial fisherman.

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I went last season and it was poor and ended up with about a dozen smelt I had went off of the Lester.

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Since the mid 90's smelting has been a hit or miss proposition. If you are there when a school runs you will get a bucket full, but the runs are not very strong or frequent. I gave up a couple of years ago. Most people I know now go to the beach on Park Point in Duluth where smelting is somewhat better than the streams on the north shore.

If you just gotta have a smelt meal you can always go to the Tap-A-keg bar in west Duluth.

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As stated it can be good or real bad. Last 2 years were poor. 3 years ago we did good. Watch the Duluth/Bwca forum and we will keep ya all up to date.

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  • Official Fishing Report Team - MN

Ahh! The good old days of smelting on the lester river. Reading this topic brought back alot of memeories of times past. I also heard the smelting isn't what it use to be. I remeber standing in the river at night half under the weather if you know what I mean and dipping basket fulls of smelt. Who knows maybe someday I'll give it a shot again, I still have my net hanging in the garage.

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Smelting is so bad according to the MN DNR that legislature has been persued to eliminate all commercial and recreational harvest of smelt on Lake Superior. If my memory serves me right the total harvest last year was around 2,000 lbs. Thats not good.
So if your coming for the smelt its usually slow and in my opinion bring a sane net and leave the dip net at home. Try the Park Point beach area as Animal mentioned.

------------------
End of the Line Charters
Lake Superior
1-888-U-HOOK-EM
www.minnesotacharterfishing.com

[This message has been edited by End of the Line (edited 03-23-2004).]

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Guess i will have to break out some old photo albums and look back on the good ol days of smelting.Shure used to have alot of fun up there.Maybe they should eliminate the harvest on smelt and hopefully they would come back to the numbers they once were and then put a harvest limit on them.

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Weren't the DNR for the Duluth Area of Lake Superior Trying to get rid of the smelt? I at least heard that they weren't going to stock them anymore. I know the first reason they were put in Superior for the Kings correct?

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Tight Lines,

JP Z

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Stocking Smelt? I dont think Smelt have been stocked for many years. At least not inthe Duluth/Superior area. As Explorer says Ashland can be good at times. Dont waste your time with dip nets. A seign is the only way to go these days. Not a big enough run to use a dip net.

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Hey from New York,

I live in the Finger Lakes area central NY. Our smelt population has died too the point our regeonal biologest said that the rainbow smelt in our waters is now considered extinct.There is no plans of stocking them here either.The man said its do to flooding ,scouring the tribs, warming trends causing streams too dry before fry are mature enough too go back too the lake .The zebra mussles competing for the same food base.The loss of forage base has really hurt the fishery ,we are seeing stunted growth in our lakers and salmonids.DEC has no plans in place yet too solve the problems ... what else is new.
Hope your powers to be react faster than ours .This crash in smelt population started in 94.

------------------
ny angler

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My father(76) always tells me about when he used to go with his first batch of kids(im a youngin from the second batch) up to Duluth. How the streams and rivers would be shoulder to shoulder with people during a run and you couldn't park for blocks. How people would fill up 50 gallon drums if they hit the run at the right time. Boy, sure a sport foreign to me. Can't imagine it....

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If ya really want to smelt, i would suggest heading about 80 miles east of duluth to Ashland and seine in chequamegon bay. Call the chamber for info.
Xplorer

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  • 'we have more fun' FishingMN Creators

Ah yes the sight, sound and smells of the smelt run.
I remember those days. Folks would come from all the state. Traffic would be backed up for a mile. Smelting was the official start of spring for us. It was a raucous time with campfire smoke slowly lifting of the beach. The clamor of smelters and the sound of click click as the metal hoop from smelters nets would bounce off the rocky river bottom. The Boy Scout concession would be set up on the beach and across the road was the smelt fry tent.

As with any new species that are introduced, the smelt flourished.
Slowly the numbers started to drop as forage for the smelt declined.
In the 70's the introduction of Salmon really started to take it toll on the smelt numbers to where we have a very small remnant of the runs of yesteryear.
You can still get smelt dipping the rivers but nothing like it used to be.
Between dwindling numbers of smelt and fire and alcohol restrictions on the shores the party is over. You won't see the Boy Scout concession stand any more nor the smelt fry tent.
Seining Park Point is your best now adays. Keep in mind the theres a 10 PM curfew on the Point. No alcohol or fires are permitted I believe. This is our last stand for smelting so keep it quiet and pick up any trash you see.

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Oh yes the smell of camp fires, standing in fridgid waters and cleaning smelt into the late hrs of the night, and the many smelt fry's too bad they now few and far between.
I can remember the days of dip nets actually breaking due to the loads. It "was" good times when even the smallest local creeks would produce buckets full.
Sad thing is? Another cause for the depleation of the smelt population is from over harvest not just commercially, as a kid I remember people litterly taking truck loads of them home all over the state. Only for the purpose of spreding them in a garden or cornfield.
It used to be advertised on all radio and t.v. stations when the run started, but now it seems to be done more quietly and locally.
restocking and closing the harvest for a year or 2 wouldnt hurt either.

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JPZ -Smelt were first introduced into the Lake Michigan by accident, and spread throughout the Great Lakes. Lake Superior was the last of the lakes to be invaded by smelt.

------------------
End of the Line Charters
Lake Superior
1-888-U-HOOK-EM
www.minnesotacharterfishing.com

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