11 APRIL 201

Osmerus Mordax....  or Rainbow Smelt

Primary forage for Landlocked Salmon, Lake Trout and Brook Trout in Maine's cold water lakes.

The SMELT RUN is a spring spawning occurrence where these treasured little beauties swim up lake inlets by the thousands to spawn.They are sought after by Maine fisherman in a time honored late night Spring  "road trip". Many search for them either for eating them or ( like myself & others )  to bring them home alive to use as sewn on bait for Salmon and Trout. Many a lure and Streamer fly has been invented in an attempt  to duplicate the look of  this preferred food source so neccasary for the predators of the cold water lakes. The trick, if you plan to keep them alive, is keeping them alive for the 2 +- hour bumpy drive home. When we get home, we quickly have to transfer them  from buckets into a cage placed in a brook or lake near the house.

The actual timing of the run varies from year to year by a few days to a few weeks. All ears are open to any scuttlebutt oabout a possible run occurring somewhere. Late night recon missions are carried out into the back woods to streams known to have good runs and are legal to harvest them. Some brooks are closed to the taking of Smelts.

Last week, myself and 2 of my Maine guide buddies went on such a mission. We covered two counties checking numerous inlets and sandy beaches, but to no avail. The highlite of the night was the 40 or so Woodcock we witnessed in the throws of their Spring mating rituals. But at the end of the night (4AM) nary a smelt had been seen. We had hopes of running into a local warden and becoming the newest stars of the new Animal Planet show  " North Woods Law".  Apparently, all the local wardens were tucked in bed that night. 3 Maine guides obeying the law would have made for boring television anyhow.

A few minutes before midnight last evening while I slept, my new cell phone in my pants pocket on the floor by my bed alerted me to the sound of an incoming message...It was a "Smelt report ..."  relayed by one of my guide friends via another guide friend who was out on recon mission. The report was that a few individual smelts were spotted. Game on...The start of the spring run is beginning. Plans are being made now for the trio plus probably 1 or 2 others to hit the back roads again tonight with dip nets in tow. When the run is in full swing, a single dip of your net can sometimes produce your 2qt legal limit. If you miss it by so much as a day, you could miss it for the entire season.

Stayed tuned for updates.