Sunday, 1 May 2011

Smelt / Fish Batter

This post is not Vegetarian or Vegan Friendly!
Does anyone know what "smelts" are?  Has anyone gone "smelting" before?  Well, there is a GREAT Northern tradition, and it is not a Canada thing, it is specifically more like a Northern Ontario thing.  Every spring, as soon as the ice is off of the Great Lakes, swarms of these little fish, called "smelts", leave the lake, and swim upstream.  This is when the "Great Northern Smelt Hunter" appears, equipped with big rubber boots or hip waders, a net, a flashlight, and a pail, to catch these little fish.  No fishing rod required!  You just scoop them into your net!!  The only trick is to swoop your net in the same direction as the water is flowing!

It is very important to have the proper equipment:

Oh, also, these "Great White Hunters" must hunt these fish in the wee hours of the night, like midnight or later.  The smelts are shy, and like to "run" at night. There are bon fires along the shores of the rivers, and people everywhere.  They usually arrive early in the evening, and "await" the arrival of the smelts.
I am sure my SIL will be very happy I posted this on my blog!!

Here we all are!  My "Great Smelt Hunters!" (and me)

We didn't stay late or long, but we got our "feed".  EEEEEeeeeeeewwwwwwww!

OKOK, time for the Smelt Fry!  A lot of local restaurants have "smelt frys" during "smelt season", so if you ever get up here in April....give it a try!

Fish Batter:

2 cups of flour
4 Tbsp corn starch
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
2 cups of water

This is also the only time of year I make fresh cut fries!  I like to fry them up on the BBQ, in a big cast iron pan, so we don't stink up the inside of our house!

I joined these Linky Parties:


  1. You know, I love to fish but I've never heard of 'smelting'. Perhaps they are not in our area? The cooked fish & fries looks delish ~ I so wish I had some right now!


  2. I haven't had smelt in years! Yummy treat. I ordered them in a local restaurant. The menu item was "A Mess Of Smelt". Very popular. I'll copy the batter recipe. Thanks!