Smelt run is underway “smelt are running”

Last night the smelt were running very strong in Duluth, and also in Ashland.

Large cooler of Lake Superior smelt

Smelt run is ON

The commercial nets in Duluth were loaded with large males for the most part.  Seiners on Park Point struggled  with waves and debris, but some did well if they were willing to get a little wet.  The Lester also had a small run, but the water level is very low and we’re not sure  how that will affect the run.  Tonight may be a repeat of last night with east wind still blowing.  Smelters will be smelting in large numbers this weekend. I hope the smelt cooperate.

Smelt run is near 2012

Smelting run may come early this year

Biting the head of smelt is an old tradition

Biting the head off smelt is an old tradition

Unseasonably warm weather has melted our snow and ice and the lake and the rivers are warming. Last year the smelt started running in the Duluth Mn area on or about the 23rd of April. This year the ice out time for lakes seems to be about 3 weeks early. Does this mean the smelt will run 3 weeks earlier? Not necessarily, Lake Superior takes longer to warm, especially if windy weather keeps stirring the cooler water to the surface. Also, smelt have to wait until their eggs are ready. Then how do you know when it’s time to go smelting?  Well the best way that I know is to follow a smelt fishing forum  At a forum you can get timely information from other smelters on their previous and current outings. They even have a cell phone app, so you can give and receive reports that are current, rather than a day old.  I will be launching my charter boat early this year.  Normally I don’t start fishing the lake until after the smelt run, but this year I will be following the smelt schools on the lake and catching the trout and salmon that are following the schools.  I will be adding my “on the water report” to the forum.  So – patch up the old waders and check your net and seines, and be ready when you finally hear “The Smelt are running”