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Old 01-19-2011, 09:54 AM
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Default First time fishing for smelt

As a kid we dipped smelt when they ran the rivers in the UP. Don't really have a smelt run in lower Michigan, but they fish for them during the ice season.

Had never fished for smelt and had not had fresh smelt since about 1982.

Few friends and I decided it was time to give it a whirl. Still a little early. We spent 11 hours on the ice and caught about 40 smelt.

It's not fly fishing, but heck it winter here and things are slow. Quick video on the website.

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Old 01-19-2011, 11:56 AM
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Default Re: First time fishing for smelt

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Originally Posted by 2PawsRiver View Post
As a kid we dipped smelt when they ran the rivers in the UP. Don't really have a smelt run in lower Michigan, but they fish for them during the ice season.

Had never fished for smelt and had not had fresh smelt since about 1982.

Few friends and I decided it was time to give it a whirl. Still a little early. We spent 11 hours on the ice and caught about 40 smelt.

It's not fly fishing, but heck it winter here and things are slow. Quick video on the website.

Untitled

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"Don't really have a smelt run in Lower Michigan" that is not true When I was a kid we would fill the back of a pick-up full of smelt at Point Pelee, Canada on the point of Lake Erie just the other side of the Ambassador Bridge or we would go to Port Huron, U.S on the St Clair River and do the same. I was still fishing for smelt there (port huron) 2 months prior to me moving to Tennessee 6 1/2 years ago, spring time is the major run for smelt. Now grant you, the smelt numbers have drop drastically, this is due to the large number of fresh water Salmon introduced into the Great Lakes over the years feeding on the smelt. Like I said you would literary fill a pick-up truck full of smelt and today’s numbers measure in the 5 gallon bucket full on a good day.
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Old 01-20-2011, 12:23 AM
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Default Re: First time fishing for smelt

I generally dont play the I can top that story telling....but I might have one here.

Here in AK, we have major smelt runs and locally they are generally known as hooligan(euligan) and they generally live in salt water and spawn in the rivers. They are generally caught with dip nets or in some areas with small mesh gill nets. It is not uncommon to become overwhelmed with the volume of them when running hard.

I was fishing last Memorial Day weekend on the Kenai River with a buddy of mine. His Aunt and Cousin were up visiting from Montana. Neither had been to AK before. We didnt have a ton of time, but thought it would be nice to put his cousin onto a King Salmon. I let him use my 10wt and I was goofing around with my 3 wt catching some dolly varden. After releasing two smallish dollies I managed a hooligan on an egg sucking leech of all things! It was totally accidental and I thought at first I had simply snagged it. On closer inspection the fish had hit the fly so hard the barb was sticking out the top of its head. The fly was a sz 8 and nearly 1/3 its body length.

I soon turned my efforts into goofing around dragging various streamers through thier migration path and caught several dozen over 90minutes or so. I really like fish roe, especially herring roe on kelp. In the Yupik language we call it Maaloochuq (ma-loo-chuck).

Well I hooked a few females that started to expell eggs when handled and my buddies aunt was horrified when she realized I was tipping my head back and shaking the fish so the eggs would fall into(around) my mouth. Nothing more fresh that that, they werent as good as herring, but still tasty.

I have a friend who is a biologist and when I told him the story he had never heard of them taking a fly or lure of any sort while on the spawning run in AK. He mentioned that I was probably the only one in the state stupid enough to target them when I could have just dipped them.

Either way it was a great day, and the only thing lacking was his cousin hooking a big King. It might have been foreshadowing because fish and game closed the Kenai to King fishing later in the week due to a lack of fish. Thankfully the Kings showed up later in the season.
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Old 01-20-2011, 12:44 AM
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Default Re: First time fishing for smelt

nerka,
i lived in ak a long time, but never herd of hooligan on a fly, or any lure. but it certainly sounds like fun.
they sure are tasty smoked!


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Old 01-20-2011, 01:50 AM
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Default Re: First time fishing for smelt

You guys ice fish the hard way. Up here on Lake of the Woods, we drive, or take track vehicles like Bombers, then fish in heated solid ice houses with satellite dishes. We even have a full service bar on the lake, with a wide screen TV, and holes in the floor so you can set in a T Shirt, have a waitress bring you a beer, catch fish and watch the game all at the same time.
Click the image to open in full size.
Our fish are a tad bigger to.
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Old 01-20-2011, 02:18 AM
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Default Re: First time fishing for smelt

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Originally Posted by caseywise View Post
nerka,
i lived in ak a long time, but never herd of hooligan on a fly, or any lure. but it certainly sounds like fun.
they sure are tasty smoked!


casey
I hadnt either, didnt think anything of it until last summer. When I lived in Bristol Bay we used gill nets. Once I caught a a 40gallons in less than 5 minutes. I was giving away hooligan to anyone who would take them because I didnt have the freezer space for them. Thankfully it was in October and it was cold outside so I could freeze them that way.

I also like them smoked, I generally make a spread with mayo and garlic that is awesome on pilot bread or with pretzels.

I dont anticipate heading to 20mile with a 3wt to catch them but it was fun for the day. In case you are interested I was right at the Pillars boat launch on the Kenai.

---------- Post added at 02:18 AM ---------- Previous post was at 02:13 AM ----------

Quote:
Originally Posted by Diver Dan View Post
You guys ice fish the hard way. Up here on Lake of the Woods, we drive, or take track vehicles like Bombers, then fish in heated solid ice houses with satellite dishes. We even have a full service bar on the lake, with a wide screen TV, and holes in the floor so you can set in a T Shirt, have a waitress bring you a beer, catch fish and watch the game all at the same time.
Our fish are a tad bigger to.
Awesome pike Dan. I have noticed you with some real lunkers. I have family from the mid west and am aware of the various ice fishing luxuries that have become the norm. It must be nice, but to be honest I am not sure that is for me. I icefish for subsistence and the enjoyment I get is food in the freezer and not a beverage in hand. That pike would look great with the head in the soup pot and the rest filleted, then battered and fried.
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