The heyday of smelt came in the 1960s and '70s but Kenyon still sees guests from miles around for their annual smelt feed.

It's this Saturday, all you can eat and at the Kenyon VFW Club.

Sponsored by the Kenyon Firefighters Relief Association, a group of firefighters actually head north to pick up the smelt and bring them home.

So these little silver fish are fresh and when fried are very delicious. They are a big delicacy in Japan, where they usually grill them.

The smelt in Minnesota are rainbow smelt and are usually 6-9 inches long. The Minnesota DNR says they are native to the Atlantic and Pacific oceans and entered the Great Lakes accidentally in 1912 when they escaped from an inland lake in Michigan where they had been stocked as forage fish.

Smelt quickly spread throughout Lake Michigan and were first discovered in Lake Superior in 1946. Salmon and lake trout love them just like humans do.

Smelt generally enter streams in mid- to late April when the water in the tributaries warms into the upper 40s. Smelt are light sensitive and run in shallow water at night, so most smelting takes place at night, when the fish are moving into the streams.

These little fish are not only tasty but very healthy.

According to Healthy Living magazine, a 3-ounce serving has 82 calories and contains 3 grams of the healthy omega-3 fatty acids. It's high in protein (19.21 grams) and is a good source of vitamin A and several B family vitamins including B12 and B6. Smelt are rich in minerals with calcium, potassium, iron, magnesium and zinc. So a terrific combination of a tasty and nutritious meal.

Serving begins at 5PM and takeouts are available beginning at 5:30PM. They are always a sell out and I would advise getting there early if you want some.

Kenyon Smelt Feed Poster- photo from Kenyon Firefighters
Kenyon Smelt Feed Poster- photo from Kenyon Firefighters

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