Animals -> Fish -> Freshwater Fish -> Freshwater Smelt

Freshwater Smelt

Pond smelt were caught in nets by Yupik of southwest Alaska when they swam upriver in late spring. Fish that were not eaten were dried for winter to feed their dogs [1].


1.         Wadsworth G: The Arctic Eskimo: I. The Eskimos and their Origins. In: The Diet and Health of Isolated Populations. edn. Boca: CRC Press; 1984: 83-95.


The pond smelt (Hypomesus olidus) is a freshwater representative of a family of small, slender, and silvery schooling fish which includes species that are exclusively found in saltwater, like the surf smelt (H. pretiosus) and the capelin (Mallotus villosus), and others that are searun and only spawn in freshwater, like the rainbow smelt (Osmerus mordax) and the eulachon (Thaleichthys pacificus) [1].

The pond smelt is most closely related to the surf smelt, both member of the same genus. Pond smelts occur in Alaska and Northwest Territories, most often in lakes and rivers, but also in brackish waters. They can grow to around 20 cm long and feed mainly on invertebrate and algae [2].


1.         Wooding FH: Lake, river and sea-run fishes of Canada. Madeira Park, BC, Canada: Harbour Publishing; 1997.

2.         "Hypomesus olidus Pallas, 1814." []


Images provided below were obtained from: Encyclopedia of Life. Available from
Pond smelt
© Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of Natural History, Department of Vertebrate Zoology, Division of Fishes
Supplier: National Museum of Natural History Collections
This map is based on occurrence records available through the GBIF network