Smelt fishing on Sinclair Inlet | Photo

Smelt fishing on Sinclair Inlet.  - Brett Cihon
Smelt fishing on Sinclair Inlet.
— image credit: Brett Cihon

Fishermen gather near Ross Point in Sinclair Inlet in search of one thing: Smelt.

A small fish that runs in schools throughout the inlet, the best time to fish for smelt is in late fall, local fisherman Emilio Pascua said.

“After the last leaf on the trees drop, then they run,” he said.

The schools run close to shore and are caught in large, sweeping nets — a technique known as dip fishing.

Smelt, along with crayfish and carp, can be legally caught in Washington without a fishing license. The fish is commonly used as bait for salmon and steelhead. It’s also considered a delicacy by some, with brining, smoking and frying the most popular forms of preparation.


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