Forty degree water is plenty warm for the tiny smelt fishes. Swimming in school groups near shaded shores in early and late hours. Silvery quick, you can scoop them straight from the net into the fry pan. If you wanted to put them direct over fire. Best to make sure you have enough to eat first. Fill a small pail with thirty or forty or fifty or more. Rainbow hued they dart about as if waiting to become food. If they are too big to cook up on your iron skillet without boning, then they’re too big to taste any good.
The smelt are still for instant as I aim my net. For that instant, I see the smelt moved from some silvery spot and are moving towards a more blue spot, interchangeably flicking. However, in that instant, the smelt do not stir to my eye as I see they remain only smelt size – cooking size and eating size at that same instant. In this instant and that same instant moment, the smelt remain there for where else could they be? I take advantage of Zeno’s paradox. The smelt fall for it every time as almost paralyzed by the illusion of time not being able to flow forward in our own insistent, persistent instant.
You can cut off their heads first if you prefer – no problems. Although, in my opinion cutting off the head is more profane than eating the whole. Unless you’re not the knife wielder. Next, shake up those smelts in a bag or bowl lightly with flour, ground pepper, chili powder and what spice you like. If you find wild green spring onion nearby to toss in the pan, then all the entire better for your belly. Breakfast by the lake was never so good again.