Bethel will smell like fried smelt tonight, Tuesday, May 19. The smelt began passing Bethel, traveling up the Kuskokwim River on Tuesday morning. Families and subsistence users headed to the seawall with long nets, dragging them through the water and lifting out the smelts’ narrow, silver bodies.
Smelt are the first anadromous fish to arrive in the Kuskokwim each season. Anadromous means that they migrate from the ocean to spawn in freshwater rivers or lakes. The smelt herald the arrival of king salmon up the Kuskokwim, and mark the beginning of the summer fishing season.