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The smelt are running: Volunteers catch and clean over a 1000 smelt for Golden Lake Fish Fry

The smelt run is on. Conditions have been just right over the last week or so for the small fish to head upstream.  

We spoke with Brian from The Golden Lake property owners association who said a group of volunteers recently caught over a thousand smelt that they will use in the Golden Lake fish fry later in the spring. With warmer weather making the water temperatures rise he says he doesn’t think the smelt will run for much longer, 

“7 to 8°C is the best [water] temperature. Last night when we checked at 10:00pm it was 12°, so that’s why the run was slow last night” 

In order to catch smelt people usually go to the creeks that feed into a lake, with a thin mesh net, a headlamp and hip waders (or boots if the water level is not too high). They can then catch the smelt by the hundreds as they head upstream. 

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“They have fairly big eyes for the size of fish they are and they’re very light sensitive, so they only come up the creeks at night” 

Not only are the smelt runs a great source of food and community gathering, according to Brian it also improves the fish population in the lakes, 

“The more smelt we can get out of the lake the better. That way when we release the walleye in the lake, the smelts won’t eat the small walleye.  

According to Brian, smelt, though small, will eat fish the same size as them. 

For those who were hoping to get to a smelt run this year, Brian said he thinks there’s only a a night or two left for the run in the area around Golden Lake. He also reminds people to make sure when they go to the creeks that they aren’t trespassing onto private property. 

The smelt caught by volunteers will be used for a Golden Lake fish fry on May 19th.

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