Little fish goes a long way
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Little fish goes a long way

August 04, 2020

Like gold in Alaska, the smelt loved by Norilsk people was discovered by accident.

In the early 80s, an icebreaker came to Dudinka, which, had to be examined according to the regulations, it was required to inspect the propeller. The diver who sank into the water to do the work soon reported that he could not see anything because of the colossal amount of fish swimming past him. A few days later, all the ice on the berths that were not working until the summer navigation was filled with fishermen, who stuffed their backpacks, bags and other containers with smelt.

Almost immediately, the news reached Norilsk, and overcrowded electric trains with fishermen went to Dudinka. They caught no less, and maybe more than the Dudinka residents did. But if the latter had the opportunity to carry the fish home and return for the next portion, the Norilsk catches were near the holes. The Soviet fish inspectorate, of course, intervened in the process and limited the catch to the norm of 10 kilograms per a fisherman. But the fishermen did not care, and every two hours they returned to the ice for another 10 kilos.

Soon the Norilsk people also figured it out, filling all the snowdrifts near the port with the backpacks with their catch. Many of them did not have time for the evening train and remained to wait for the morning one, spending the night in the Dudinka high-rise buildings’ halls, celebrating the fishing success. The local police got into the incident. The situation was rapidly acquiring the character of an interregional conflict, but Mother Nature intervened: the smelt run was over. And everything finished until the next year. True, every year the catches became more reasonable.

For those who are going to catch smelt, here are some useful tips.

The smelt in our area starts moving at the end of April and is caught until the middle of the first decade of May. I can’t say anything about weather influence on the bite, since I caught it in frost, in a blizzard, in a thaw, and in rain. It more likely depended on the part of the day. Seemed to be more fun in the morning. However, it happened that it bit all day or in the late afternoon.

What to use to lure fish? There is no limit to imagination here. Once they used lard. It was my eight-year-old son who did it. The fish was so hungry that I hardly had time to replace the bait for him. He caught from one hole, removed the fish himself, the frost was more than 20 degrees below zero, his fingers were like sausages, swollen, cold, but every two minutes he yelled: “Daddy! Bait!” We brought a couple of backpacks with him from that fishing. In general, when there is a good bite, you can fish a bare hook!

Text: Yulia Gubeladze, Photo: open sources

August 04, 2020

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