Smelt fishing: gear for catching hooks from the shore with a bait in season


All about smelt fishing

A large family of fish living in the basins of rivers and seas of the Northern Hemisphere. Scientists include more than 30 species in the composition of smelt. The differences within the family are small, taking into account the habitats, one can distinguish the European smelt (smelt), Asian and marine, as well as the lake form, also called smelt or nagish (Arkhangelsk name). Lake smelt was brought into the Volga River basin. All species have an adipose fin. The size of the fish is small, but some species can reach 40 cm and weigh 400 grams. Smelt that grows slowly has a longer lifespan. Most fish of the family spawn in fresh water, but feeding takes place in the salty waters of the seas or the estuarine zone. There are also freshwater, lake, isolated forms. Capelin and smallmouth smelt spawn on the sea coast. A schooling fish, very popular with local residents of seaside towns for its taste. Most species, when freshly caught, have a slight “cucumber flavor”. During the seasonal trip to the rivers, it is a favorite object of fishing and amateur fishing.

Ways to catch smelt

The most popular smelt fishing is amateur fishing with winter gear. Lake forms are caught, along with sizhok, and in the summer. For this, both float gear and “long-cast” fishing rods are suitable.

Catching smelt on spinning

It would be more correct to call such methods of fishing not for spinning, but with the help of spinning rods, along with other “long-distance casting” rods. Given that smelt is a pelargic fish, its nutrition is directly related to plankton. The rigs are designed to deliver one or more baits to a school of fish. Sinkers, along with standard ones, can serve as a sinking bombard, a Tyrolean wand, and so on. Equipment used type “tyrant”. Lures – imitations of invertebrates and fry. When fishing for rigs with long leads or with several lures, it is recommended to use longer, specialized rods (“long fence”, match, for bombards).

Catching smelt with winter rods

Multi-hook rigs are widely used for catching smelt. Fishing lines, at the same time, use quite thick ones. For a successful bite, the main thing is to correctly determine the place of fishing. In addition to “tyrant” or “whatnots”, smelt is caught on small spinners and traditional nodding fishing rods with mormyshka. Mormyshkas with a light-accumulative coating are very popular. During the course of the fish, many fishermen manage to fish with 8-9 rods.

Catching smelt with a float rod

Amateur fishing for smelt on float gear is not particularly original. These are ordinary rods 4-5 m with a “deaf” or “running equipment”. Hooks should be chosen with a long shank, the fish has a mouth with a large number of small teeth, problems with leashes may arise. The smaller the prey, the smaller the hooks should be. Fishing is recommended from a boat, it is difficult to immediately determine the place of movement of a flock of migrating smelt, so you may have to move around the reservoir during fishing. For fishing, you can use both a float rod and a “running donk”.


To catch smelt, various artificial lures and imitations are used, including flies or simply “wool” tied to a hook. In addition, they use small winter spinners (in all seasons) with a soldered hook. From natural baits, various larvae, worms, shellfish meat, fish meat, including smelt itself, crab sticks are used. During active biting, the main approach in choosing a nozzle is strength.

Places of fishing and habitat

The fish is widely distributed. They catch it in the waters of the basins of the Pacific, Arctic and Atlantic oceans. Smelt species are known to live in lakes without direct access to sea basins. In the reservoir it keeps at different depths, this is due both to the search for food and general climatic conditions. In St. Petersburg, the main place for catching smelt is the Gulf of Finland. As in many cities of the Baltic, during the course of smelt, fairs and holidays dedicated to eating this fish are held in the city. Every year, helicopters of the Ministry of Emergency Situations remove dozens of smelt lovers from the torn off ice floes. This happens in almost all corners of Russia from the Baltic to Primorye and Sakhalin. The number of accidents is also not decreasing.


As already mentioned, most species spawn in fresh water. The fecundity of the fish is quite high. Depending on the region of residence of the species, the rate of maturation may vary. European smelt becomes sexually mature at 1-2 years, Baltic at 2-4, and Siberian at 5-7 years. Spawning takes place in the spring, spawning time depends on the region and climatic conditions, begins after the ice breaks at a water temperature of 40 C. Baltic smelt, often does not rise high up the river, but spawns a few kilometers from the mouth. Sticky caviar is attached to the bottom. The development of fish is quite fast, and by the end of summer the juveniles roll into the sea to feed.

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