The Wahkiakum County Eagle - Established as The Skamokawa Eagle in 1891

Smelt lover happy to have a turn at tasty fish


February 26, 2014

To The Eagle:

I am a smelt lover. I can feel someone out there thinking, “Good, you can have my share.” OK! For me, once the Christmas tree goes out the door on January 6, I look forward to a “mess (meal) of smelt”. Unfortunately, for several years only the seals and gulls have been able to enjoy them. Finally, we get our turn.

I believe that food sources provided by nature, in a given area, are the foods we need to eat. Smelt are organic, a great source of protein, rich in Omega 3 and a whole lot tastier than fish oil pills.

If you haven’t tasted smelt, now is the time. They’re only here for a short while. And only the biologists know if you’ll ever get a chance at them again.

Smelt need to be cooked fresh. Some people cook them whole. While they’re a bit tedious to clean, it’s easier than you think. I prefer them cleaned and fried in hot butter and olive oil. Just dip them in seasoned flour, egg, flour again and lay them carefully in a hot pan that holds a steady heat. They’re fragile, so turn them carefully to fry the other side. Serve with tartar sauce and enjoy.

If you need help, call me; bring your “mess of smelt” and your scissors.

Kayrene Gilbertsen, Puget Island


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