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Old 03-08-2015, 08:52 PM   #1
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Smelt Fishing

I have been reading about the smelt runs from some of the Adirondack lakes and want to give it a try any pointers or locations to try would be appreciated.
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Old 03-08-2015, 10:44 PM   #2
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Ice-fishing? Years ago (circa 2000) we used to successfully jig for them on the southern end of Indian Lake out from where the campsites are along route 30. I remember using a very light jigging rod with light line, 2-3 tiny chartreuse jig heads (baited with a piece of mealworm) and a heavier weight at the terminus. We'd haul them in all day. Good times.
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Old 03-09-2015, 01:32 PM   #3
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Sleepy: Smelt "fishing" is more of an ice fishing sport, I believe. Most other smelt fishing is done with dip nets in the tributaries where they run. The Bog River where it flows into Tupper Lake is a good spot from what I've heard (no first hand experience). There are lots of lakes with smelt in the Adirondacks, but you are restricted from fishing or possessing them on a few lakes (ie, Lake George). I'm departing in about an hour to try to catch some in Piseco Lake. Never tried for them there but on my last trip I saw a guy that was fishing for them and caught some. If ice fishing, a hali jig tipped with grubs work. Once you catch one, a small piece of fish works well too. If you're targeting the spring runs, they are short lived so it helps to have a local who can keep you posted. They also run at night.
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Old 03-09-2015, 01:41 PM   #4
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you catch them to what end? do you eat them? bait?
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Old 03-09-2015, 03:31 PM   #5
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Fried smelt dinners are outstanding.
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Old 03-09-2015, 04:26 PM   #6
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There's lake here at home. Guys go out and net them at night. They start around the same time sucker do, maybe a bit earlier. It is all about timing. It's over quick. Would pay to be local. I'd think the DEC or bait shops could help you out with where. St. Regis is right they are delicious. Use a pair of scissors to clean out the gut. Put a light dusting of seasoned flour on them and throw them whole into the fryer.
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Old 03-09-2015, 10:59 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by gmorin71 View Post
you catch them to what end? do you eat them? bait?
I'd say yes on both counts, but you can't transport bait in NY any more, so just to eat. And yes, they are delicious as previously mentioned.
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Old 04-18-2020, 09:59 AM   #8
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Smelt Fishing ADK

This is the week this year, I have friends at Indian Lake this weekend waiting for the spring run, the smelt are schooled up at the mouths of the creeks. Thursday night they did not run as it's been quite cold, I'm waiting for the update. Opened April 1st, the heavy run is short lived and your limit is 8 qts. I believe.
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Old 04-20-2020, 08:08 AM   #9
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Don't forget that you have to be off the streams by 10 PM too.

I'm not sure how you are setting up, but when I used to go off Lake Ontario, a lot of the nights that they " didn't run", the guys who blind dipped in the main current were not finding any, but I always liked to set a lanterns so it illuminated a small piece of the bottom in a quiet eddy, and then pick off singles and doubles, which could be seen (or their shadows could be seen, they are very well camouflaged) as they picked their way up the current. You only have about 2 hours from dark until 10 PM now, so you should check every night. If you get tired of waiting and you know they are schooled up off the tributary ( where they will also spawn, as they are broadcast spawners) toss a 7 Rapala out as the Landlocks love to hang out and chow on those densely packed little fish. Or watch for stragglers. If it is a clear night, check the north sky once in a while, this is a great time of year for catching the Aurora.
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