Capelin, uyok is a fish well known to many Russians, often sold in retail. The fish belongs to the smelt family. The origin of the Russian name comes from the Finno-Baltic dialects. The translation of the word is small fish, nozzle and so on. Capelins are medium-sized fish, usually up to 20 cm long and weighing about 50 g. But, also, some specimens can grow up to 25 cm. Capelins have an elongated body with small scales. Scientists note a certain sexual dimorphism; during the spawning period, males have scales with hairy appendages on certain parts of the body. Fish lives everywhere in the polar latitudes, a massive species. There are several subspecies, the main difference of which is the habitat. Due to their mass and size, fish is often the main food for larger species such as cod, salmon and others. Unlike many other fish of the family, it is a purely marine fish. Capelin are pelargic fish of the open sea, approaching the shore only during spawning. Capelin feeds on zooplankton, in search of which numerous flocks roam the expanses of the cold northern seas.
In most cases, fish are caught only during spawning migration. Fishing for capelin is carried out with various net gear. In amateur fishing near the coastline, fish can be collected in accessible ways, up to buckets or baskets. Due to easy access to fish during the spawning season, almost all anglers use the simplest methods. The most convenient way is to use large landing nets. Fish is eaten fried, smoked, in pies and so on. The most delicious dishes from the freshest capelin. The most important purpose of such fishing is the preparation of bait for hook gear, both in amateur fishing and for fishermen.
Places of fishing and habitat
The habitat of capelin is the Arctic and adjacent seas. In the Pacific, schools of fish reach the Sea of Japan on the Asian coast and British Columbia off the American mainland. In the Atlantic, in North American waters, capelin reach the Hudson Bay. Throughout the entire North Atlantic coast of Eurasia and a significant part of the shores of the Arctic Ocean, this fish is known to a greater or lesser extent. Everywhere, capelin is considered an excellent bait for catching larger marine fish. Due to the availability in retail chains, capelin is now often used for catching freshwater fish such as pike, walleye or even snakehead. As already mentioned, fish spend most of their lives in the open sea, in the pelargic zone, in search of zooplankton accumulations. At the same time, being the main food for many species of northern fish.
Given their small size, capelin has a high fecundity – 40-60 thousand eggs. Spawning takes place in the coastal zone in the bottom layers of water at a temperature of 2-30 C. Spawning grounds are located on sandbanks and banks with a water depth of up to 150 m. Caviar is sticky, bottom, like most smelt. Spawning is seasonal, confined to the spring-summer period, but may differ regionally. After spawning, a large number of fish die. Spawning fish are often washed ashore. At such moments, many kilometers of beaches can be littered with dead capelin.