The Smelt are Running

If you put your fishing gear away for the winter, that’s a mistake. There are still plenty of fish  to be caught, you just have to trade your rod and reel for a net, preferably with a  long reach. It’s the state’s annual Smelt run. Ask anyone who’s been in Oregon very long and they’ll tell you that the small fish can sometimes be shoulder to shoulder in the Sandy River in Troutdale.

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Unfortunately, that was decades ago. Back in 2011 their population dwindled so much that the smelt was placed on the Endangered Species List. But that all changes this Saturday, March 7 as  well as on Sunday March 15 when the state’s Fish And Wildlife Department allows recreational  smelt fishing on the Sandy River. It’s a limited catch, from 6 a.m. until noon on both days but if the run is anything like the one last month in the Cowlitz River you’re sure to get your daily limit of 10 pounds per person. Bank only fishing is allowed, and restricted to dip nets. But It gets even better. Under Oregon law anglers do not need a license to dip for smelt. You just need a net which you can rent right there in Troutdale.

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