It’s that time of year again when freshwater smelt, tiny fish that attract Illinoisans to Lake Michigan beaches in the spring, are migrating to their spawning streams.
For a family smelt fishing event that includes tasting the tiny fish, go to the Highland Park Smelt Fest, an annual park district event that is April 27 from 6:30 to 9 p.m., this year. Cost is $5 per car or $2 per person.
Smelt Fest nets will be provided by the park district. Smelt is one of the few fish that may be caught by using nets.
There will be smelt available for tasting. After park district staff drop the smelt into a pot of hot water they move the fish to a dish of bread crumbs then fry them over a camp fire.
In addition, food will also be sold by the North Shore Yacht Club. Local entertainer Lee Murdock will do some Great Lakes songs and stories. Warm clothing is suggested.
What you need to know: Unless the activity is a town or park district event you need an Illinois Sport Fishing License to fish for smelt. The smelt season can run from mid-March to the end of April. For more smelt fishing information visit Fish Illinois. For more Park District of Highland Park information visit PDHP.
The Park Avenue Beach is the east end of Park Avenue, east of Sheridan Road and north of Central Avenue in Highland Park.