It happens every year in early Spring as smelt make their ritual arrival up
rivers to spawn. Avid smelters, dress themselves with waders or hip boots
(depending on the depth of water) and line the river with a large dip net used
to scoop smelt from within the flowing river.
gone by, smelt dipping was considered a ritual as well- by locals and visitors
from all over the country. They'd line river banks with buckets and coolers and
in most cases, always filling them up to the brim. The smelt was then taken
home, cleaned, stored and or shared with relatives friends and family. Smelt is
also stored and used as fishing bait during the Spring and Summer fishing
days are different. It is quite unclear, but it appears the smelt population has
been deteriorating. In most recent years smelt runs have been sporadic and
extremely light, and rather than scooping up a dip net full, current averages
are only a few smelt at a time. Long time smelters seem to believe that
river-run smelt will make a come-back, and it is this notion that compel smelt
dippers to return again and again to Lake Superior & Lake Michigan river
Smelt Fishing & Dipping Report
Last smelt season erupted in northern Luce County around April 20th when a
thrash of warming rains filled tributaries to produce very good results, however
in other area rivers, smelt were scarce at best.
Pick out a couple of areas to consider, and follow the weather patterns
closely. Continuous rain showers, along with warming temps are usually a good
indication in narrowing your options down. An early Winter thaw will usually
bring about an early smelt run.
Smelt fishing with hook and line through the ice.
If you're willing enough to brave the elements during Winter and poke a few
holes through the ice on Lake Superior's Munising Bay, you just may get lucky
catching smelt through the ice.
Lake Superior Smelt are the biggest and best eating of all the Great Lakes.
Additional Smelt Dipping Resources
Fishing on Munising Bay
Little known, Munising Bay has got to be one of the most beautiful areas to go fishing this side of Canada.
Smelt - Osmerus mordax *
Michigan Department of Natural Resources Identifying Characteristics
Smelt Dipping *
The Michigan Department of Natural Resources provides a great article on smelt
fishing in Michigan.
Smelt Dipping Opportunities *
How far do you want to go to dip for smelt? Do you want to know where
all the Michigan Smelt Streams and Great Lakes Shorelines Locations are? The
Michigan Department of Natural Resources have a handy dandy Adobe pdf file that
lists them all in Michigan including the Upper Peninsula. Now go ahead... make