It is getting to be that time of year again, the running of the Smelt. The breaking temperatures of late winter means the smelt will be heading upstream to party like it is 2022. Their annual river bacchanal is needed to create the next generation of bait fish for the big fish in Gitche Gumee. While the Smelt get their freak on, humans get to enjoy of the joyful side benefit of the annual Smelt Run; the annual Smelt Fry.
A Smelt Fry is a welcome distraction from the run of the mill Lenten fish fry your local Lions or Kiwanis or Volunteer Firemen or etc… are throwing to raise funds. A traditional fish fry means all-you-can-eat deep fried cod (if you are lucky) or pollock (maybe) along with all the fixins’. The problem with the traditional fish fry is the fried fish. As I’ve alluded to; once that fillet is battered and deep fried, you could be eating carp for all you know. Fried fish is only as good as the word of the person frying it. But a Smelt Fry is another thing entirely, because smelt are small enough to clean with a scissors and are fried bones and all, you know you eating smelt. The satisfying crunch of the little bones (and sometimes the look on the little smelts’ face) is an unmistakable pleasure.
And you still get all you can eat fixins’.
You can put your money on groundhogs or robins or whatever else you look to as a sign of spring. As far as I know, when I’m crunching the smelt, I know spring is just around the corner.