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Fish ID – Smelt

Rainbow Smelt
Osmerus mordax
Also known as: smelt

Description: A small, slender, silvery fish having teeth on jaws and an adipose fin, but lacks a triangular axillary process at the upper end of the pelvic fin. Non-native, coolwater species that occasionally migrates downstream into the state. It was initially introduced as an additional prey species in main-stem, Missouri River reservoirs above Nebraska. Although smelts are typically anadromous marine fish (requiring spawning runs up freshwater streams), landlocked populations are also quite successful. Smelt primarily feed on crustaceans and insects, and will also eat their own young. They are normally captured by dipping or seining during the spring as they enter tributaries to spawn and are either eaten or used as bait.

Family: Smelt
Type: Non-Game Fish
Range: Missouri River (primarily north of Nebraska)

RainbowSmelt