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Ask a Conservation Officer: What are smelt requirements for Lake Superior?

Q: What are the requirements for taking smelt from Lake Superior?

A: The smelt run is underway in Duluth, and a lot of people have been doing well in different rivers along the shore. There are a few specific requirements you should know before smelting:

• Anyone taking or attempting to take smelt must have a valid Minnesota angling license. A trout stamp is not required to take smelt by net in Lake Superior.

• Dip nets can be used in the lake or the tributary rivers.

• Seine nets up to 25 feet long and 4 feet high can be used in Lake Superior to take smelt, but can't be used in tributary rivers or within 100 feet of the mouth of a river.

• Cast or umbrella type nets are illegal to use to take smelt in Lake Superior.

• Artificial lights may not be used to attract smelt, but can be used to find your way through the water or check the contents of your net.

• Any game fish incidentally taken while netting smelt must be immediately returned to the water.

• Smelt may be bought or sold to any person, but may not be used as bait anywhere but in Lake Superior unless packaged and treated under a DNR-issued bait preservation permit.

Send your questions to outdoors@duluthnews.com.

Matthew S. Miller is a Minnesota conservation officer with the Lake Superior Marine Unit.

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