A large family of fish living in the river basins and seas of the Northern Hemisphere. Scientists include more than 30 species in the composition of smelt. Differences within the family are small, taking into account the habitats, one can distinguish European smelt (smelt), Asian and marine, as well as the lake form, also called typical smelts.

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Smelt Fishing

Characteristics of smelt

All species have adipose fin. The fish are small in size, but some species can reach 40 cm and weigh 400 g. Slowly growing smelt has a longer lifespan. Most fish of the family spawn in fresh water, but feeding takes place in the salty waters of the seas or estuary zone. There are also freshwater, lake, isolated forms. Capelin and small smelt spawn on the sea coast. Flocking fish, very popular among local residents of coastal cities for their taste. Most species, in a freshly caught state, have a light “cucumber flavor”. During the seasonal course to the rivers, it is a favorite object of fishing and amateur fishing.


Reproduction habit of smelt

As already mentioned, most species spawn in fresh water. Fertility of fish is quite high. Depending on the region of residence of the species, the ripening rate may vary. European smelt becomes sexually mature at 1-2 years old, Baltic at 2-4 years, and Siberian at 5-7 years. Spawn passes in the spring, the spawning time depends on the region and climatic conditions, begins after ice drift at a water temperature of 40 C. The Baltic smelt, often does not rise high along the river, but spawns several kilometers from the mouth. Sticky caviar is attached to the bottom. Fish development is fast enough and by the end of summer, juveniles slide into the sea for feeding.

Smelt fishing guide: Techniques, bait and gear

Smelt fishing techniques

The most popular smelt fishing is amateur fishing for winter gear. Lacustrine forms are caught in the summer. Both float tackle and “long casting” fishing rods are suitable for this.

Spinning for smelt


It would be more correct to name such fishing methods not with spinning rods, but with the help of spinning rods, along with other “long casting” rods. Given that smelt is a pelargic fish, its nutrition is directly related to plankton. The rigs are designed to deliver one or more lures to a school of fish. Sinkers, along with standard sinkers, can serve as a sinking bombardment, a Tyrolean wand, and so on. Equipment is used as a “tyrant”. Bait – imitation of invertebrates and fry. When fishing on equipment with long leashes or with several lures, it is recommended to use longer, specialized fishing rods (“distant fence”, match rods, for bombers).

Smelt fishing in the winter

For fishing smelt universally use multi-hook equipment. At the same time, fishing lines are quite thick. For a good bite, the main thing is to correctly determine the place of fishing. In addition to “tyrant”, smelt is caught on small spinners and traditional nodding fishing rods with freshwater shrimp (gammarus). Freshwater shrimp with light-accumulating coating is very popular. During the course of the fish, many fishermen manage to fish for 8-9 fishing rods.

Catching smelt on a fishing rod


Amateur smelt fishing on float tackle is not very original. These are ordinary 4-5 m fishing rods with a “blind” or “running rig”. Hooks should be chosen with a long forearm, the mouth of the fish with a large number of small teeth, problems with leashes may occur. The smaller the production, the smaller the hooks should be. It is recommended to fish from a boat, it is difficult to immediately determine the location of the flock of migrating smelt, therefore, perhaps during fishing you will have to move through the reservoir. For fishing, you can use both a float fishing rod and a “running donka” – a specialized fishing rod designed for bottom fishing.

Smelt fishing bait

To catch smelt, various artificial baits and imitations are used, including flies or simply “hairs” tied to a hook. In addition, they use small winter lures (in all seasons) with a soldered hook. From natural baits, various larvae, worms, clam meat, fish meat, including smelt itself, crab sticks are used. During active biting, the main approach in choosing a nozzle is strength.

Smelt fishing place

Fish is widespread enough. Catch it in the waters of the basins of the Pacific, Arctic and Atlantic oceans. There are known species of smelt living in lakes without direct access to the basins of the seas. It holds in a reservoir at different depths, this is due both to the search for food and the general climatic conditions. The main spot for smelt fishing is the Gulf of Finland. As in many Baltic cities, during the smelt course, fairs and festivals are held in the city dedicated to eating this fish.

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