1 - 1 pounds
7" - 9"
The Whitebait Smelt (Allosmerus elongatus) is a small fish of the Osmeridae family. It is often found swimming in small to medium schools and is often eaten by other larger fishes such as salmon, striped bass, and trout. Whitebait Smelts are also a popular food fish in some parts of the US. In fact, the fish is often sold in Californian seafood markets.
The Whitebait Smelt is shaped like a tiny torpedo with big eyes and a slightly forked tail. It has a pale silvery color with a slight tinge of green or brown on the dorsal side; although it’s so pale that it looks like it is translucent and colorless. The fish can also be recognized through the visible white line that runs from the gills to the base of the tail on both its sides.
The Whitebait Smelt is an anadromous fish that migrates to different environments for most of its life. Although they live most of their life in the north-eastern Pacific’s coastal waters, they would often travel to estuaries, bays, rivers, lakes, streams, and lakes to breed. They are also known to spawn near the shores, particularly in subtidal zones.
The Whitebait Smelt is a tiny food fish that usually grows nine inches and smaller—although there have been some records of this fish species growing up to twenty-eight inches in length. The fish is also known to be carnivorous, often feeding on tiny worms and crustaceans, fish eggs and fish larvae, as well as planktons.
The whitebait Smelt can be caught either via a net or by a conventional hook and line. If you’re going to be fishing with a hook and line, an ultra-light rod and spinning reel paired with 2- to 4-pound fluorocarbon is a must because of this fish’s minuscule size. Also, tiny jigs and spoons tipped with a mealworm is said to be the most effective lure you can use to catch this fish. Lastly, once you hook a Whitebait Smelt, you have to reel in as slow as you can as not to tear the fish’s soft mouth tissue.
The Whitebait Smelt can be found in the north-eastern Pacific, specifically from coastal waters of Vancouver Island in Canada to San Francisco, California in the US. The fish is also known to be a demersal schooling fish that lives near the bottom of the ocean, typically in shallow waters with depths between three to three hundred feet.