gettin' fishy~

No ... we didn't go fishing ... but I'm ready to!

Slim ran into one of our ol' customers, Swennie ~ from the bait shop days ... down by the river while he was checking his spring beaver traps and he was catching redhorse.

image from the internet

Well, Swennie, the good guy that he is ... dropped off seven of them (about half the size of the one in the picture) for me to pickle up.

Slim filleted them out, and I cut them up into bite sized pieces and had them in a 3 day soak of salt water, then today put them into a 3 day soak of white vinegar ... then I'll put them into jars, alternated with onion slices and a brine of white wine and pickling spices.

image from the internet
When it's all done ~ It'll be looking like these.  Yum!  It's a pretty tasty little treat on a saltine cracker.

Then ... to top the day ...

Swennie and Slim's brother, JD ... went seining smelt up on Lake Superior and they dropped off a meal of the little fish for me to clean.

Smelt to me are an acquired taste.  I like them okay ... but one meal of them a year will satisfy my pallet.

image from the internet

I remember having to clean wash tubs full of those stinky little buggers.  You just take it up in your hand, slice them across the belly with a pair of scissors, cut off their heads and run your thumb up their insides to remove the entrails. They are only caught by seining or dip nets in the spring time of the year when they are in the shallows mating. 

Some of the restaurants in the area even offer smelt fry specials this time of the year.  I guess I got my fill of them while I was cooking at the restaurant that I really don't care that much for them anymore.

I read on the internet that the roe of smelt are considered a delicacy and are used as a garnish for sushi ... you couldn't pay me enough to eat that!

If you're not familiar with smelt ... take my word for it ... they are named appropriately ... they smelt like something the cat dragged in.

 Dear Hubby likes them though ... so I give in and fix a meal or two for him when they're fresh.  Ahh... the things we do for love.

Until next time...
So it goes in my neck of the woods.


  1. oh my gosh. as a kid my dad and brothers would bring home gobs of smelt and put them in our old washing machine tub. it was awful to see their heads and guts all over. and the pregnant females with their 'caviar'. we used that same tub to bath our beagle and there were ALWAYS leftover fish parts stuck in it!!! :)

  2. Oh My.... Don't think I'd ever want to come in contact with Smelt..... I love seafood --but when things taste FISHY (if you know what I mean), I turn up my nose....

    I do remember that my Daddy used to go trout fishing... He'd come home and clean those things in our basement and it would stink down there for weeks it seemed. BUT--the trout were wonderful!!!!! That is good -eating!


  3. Looks good ... pickled fish and smelt ~ but one meal of each is my annual quota. I guess I've cleaned, cooked and canned enough of both in my lifetime. But I gotta say - that pic of the fried smelt looks tempting!
    'love & hugs from afar'

  4. Love the pickled redhorse but can do without the smelt, fish bait, too. Are we all alike or what~it's still a good thing.
    Looks like a busy canning day by Wed. for you.

  5. I have never heard of any of those kind of fish. Didn't know there was such a thing as pickled fish. Now I have heard of Sushi but I wouldn't want to try that. Thanks for posting all that interesting stuff. Helen

  6. I've heard of Smelt but don't know any thing about it. I like fish only if it doesn't taste fishy. Yes I'm a wimp. Maybe because I never lived near the water.

  7. My husband goes fishing in Minnesota for a week or two every year and brings back fish for me to, umm, deal with. I've made the pickled fish out of Northern, but I imagine any fish would do. It's an acquired taste. ;)

  8. Never had smelt. Have had lots a sushi. Now I will avoid the roe. lol

  9. thank you for joining farm tails mel! i am glad you found me and i just joined you back...i love your description of your canning process. how very intersting and healthy!do they taste really salty though? i can, but only green beans, salsa and bread and butter pickles. i want to can some things this year. i am sure i can learn from you!! take care and have a great week!

  10. I've never eaten them and am quite willing to pass on the experience.

    I feed my Mingus dried ooligans or Japanese sardines. Very small. He LOVES them and are his treat for being good.

  11. Never heard of smelt fish. They did look tasty with that breading on. No fishing here due to flooding. Season opened Sat. I can say I did not miss cleaning trout. Blessings!

  12. This post reminded me of one of my Uncles who used to complain that his wife was scraping all the taste out of the fish when she took too long cleaning it. He complained that it became a tasteless morsel if it didn't taste like fish. Might as well have steak or pork if it don't taste fishy!