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Ironranger

smelt fishing

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How do you hook the smelt and what kind of hook to use? Also do you leave the bait suspended or on the bottom?

Thanks

Also welcome Iron Ranger

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Well, first off you need a smelt hook, the long "L" shaped ones. And of course you will need to have some really heavy line on it, I use a Mason Cord. Other than that there really isn't much else to it, just start the smelt hook down toward the tail of the smelt and run it up towards the head and poke the barb up right through the head. The norts usually will take it head first. Oh, one other thing....I used to thaw the smelt out at home a little and put them in a ziplock freezer bag and add food coloring to it, like blue or red, leave them in the fridge for a couple of days and the smelt will turn color, works good. I won $800.00 at a fishing derby with a blue smelt once.

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I planned on using a quick strike rig, one treble through the head, and the other towards the tail, I'm told to suspend off the bottom a foot or so, also this time of year are they better in the shallow bays or down deep? I'm not familiar with the L hook, approximately how big are they?

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The "L" hooks come in different sizes depending on what size smelt you are using. I use one that is probably 4"-5" long and use smelt that are around 6"-7" long. Maybe somebody on here could point you toward a link that would show you what the hooks look like. As far as depth, I think you are right on when saying you should suspend them about 1' off of the bottom. I would look for and set up just off of a weed line.

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The L-hooks or Swedish hooks were talked about in the Duluth forum a while back. Some guys have good luck with them and some guys prefer the quickstrike rigs.

I think the conversation was back on 12/14/06 by Muttly.

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The quick strike is good because it keeps the smelt horizontal. I think for it to be legal in MN you have to have some type of spinner and a couple beads to have it be considered a lure and be legal. There is talk of changing that law going on with the DNR.

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I have never used smelt but was told by an old guy that fished with it a lot that if it wasn't horizontal you didn't catch near as many fish. If that is true or not I don't know but he always caught a lot of big Northerns.

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I always catch my biggest pike on the smelt w/ a swedish hook. Use the biggest smelt you can find for really big pike. I fish them about 18 inches off the bottom or 2 feet under the ice. I have had luck anywhere throughout the water column. If you plan on releasing the fish I would not suggest a swedish hook because they take them deep. grin.gif

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