The rich smelt
Accessibility and chances to catch it
Also known as
Where to find it
St. Lawrence River and estuaries, close to the coasts
River mouths (winter)
Why anglers like it
It has a delicious, sharp-flavored and high-protein white meat.
It is enjoyable to fish during ice fishing season.
It is accessible to fish from a dock during the summer.
It is easy to bait and bites often, which is ideal for fishing with children.
Pro tips and tricks
in shallow water during winter.
Bait: marine worms, meat pieces (liver, heart, etc.)
Smelt is sensitive to light and appears to stay in the depths of a body of water during the day.
People who fish from a wharf use an ultra-sensitive rod to feel the strike of small fish.
How to recognize it
Average length: usually less than 20 cm.
It is a long, silvery fish with a light green back and iridescent sides.
Its head is slender, its mouth large and its teeth prominent.
detailed fact sheet
(in French only).
Good to know
Required licence :
(except Atlantic salmon)
No licence is required for Québec residents fishing in
(St. Lawrence River).
Quota: 60 or 120, depending on your fishing zone and localization.
The smelt population in the south of the St. Lawrence estuary has been designated a
(in French only) many years ago.