A parade to honor a disappearing fish

I'm a smelt person now! #smeltparade #springbreakduluth2018 #throwsmeltately

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Billions of years from now, another civilization will come to what remains of earth and its archaeologists will uncover evidence of the Duluth smelt parade and come up with some fascinating conclusions about the species that once inhabited the planet.

The smelt are running into the rivers — but only at night — around Lake Superior, making smelt both a noun and a verb.

There aren’t as many smelt as there once were, thanks to the increase in lake trout.

But people still come out for the annual parade — as they did on Sunday in Canal Park — because what’s more Minnesotan that dressing up and paying homage to tiny fish?

  • MrE85

    Tried my first smelt fry when I was in college. They are delicious.

    • boB from WA

      I was in the AF stationed near Alpena MI. The fire dept used to have smelt frys for the crews. I agree they were good!

      BTW We have smelt runs out here on the Left Coast, but they are regulated by the state, and a lot of times, even they’re running, folks aren’t allowed to dip[, ‘cos the runs are so low

  • chlost

    I didn’t realize that they are disappearing. Wow. Back in the day (mid 70s) now husband and I went Up North to see the smelt run. At that time, there were stone steps that went up the hills from the stream at Gooseberry Falls to the top of the ridge. That entire stairway was covered in dead, dying and abandoned smelt. People would scoop 5-gallon- bucketloads of the fish from the stream, then not be able to carry those to the top of the stairs. Completely disgusted me. Never went back. I also never ate the things.
    Hard to imagine that they are now disappearing.

  • Mike Worcester

    The annual spring Smelt Fry hosted by the American Legion in my home town was one of the *the* biggest community events of the year. I honestly don’t remember them tasting all that great, but anyone who was anyone went, if for no other reason than to see who else was there.