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Springtime traditions: Anyone ever go smelting or bullheading?

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  • Springtime traditions: Anyone ever go smelting or bullheading?

    My grandfather used to talk about catching bucketfuls of springtime suckers, too. Apparently they were pretty good eating.

  • #2
    Funny, used to catch suckers while trout fishing, but never kept one.
    Bullhead were good eating, but for me they were both always bycatch.
    Do you have a particular method that you'd call "bullheading" or way to prepare?

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    • #3
      Used dip nets for smelt once years ago with my dad and some family friends. Had a blast that night until my friend and I got stuck cleaning gallon jugs full of the things.
      Never tried suckers, but the old man says they used to eat the eggs. Rolled them in flour, salt and pepper then deep fried. Wouldn't mind trying it actually.

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      • #4
        We used to fish by Coleman lantern light all night for bullheads by my Sisters place in the Adirondacks and catch a wash tub full.

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        • #5
          Double post

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          • #6
            I've gone seining for minnows before... and caught a 30"+ dogfish, along with HUNDREDS of golden shiners and crappie minnows, and a few sucker minnows and chubs, etc. My dad oft speaks of going smelting, but we haven't gotten around to it (yet!)
            -SSSOutdoorsman

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            • #7
              Originally posted by jcarlin View Post
              Funny, used to catch suckers while trout fishing, but never kept one.
              Bullhead were good eating, but for me they were both always bycatch.
              Do you have a particular method that you'd call "bullheading" or way to prepare?
              The main preparation is deciding who buys the hot dogs and marshmallows. We would always just bottom-fish after dark with nightcrawlers (one of my brothers would sometimes use some store-bought concoction called "blood bait."). Mainly an excuse to sit out by a fire 'til midnight and b.s. I do know some guys who are really into it, with little bells they put on their rod-tips and their own homemade baits, but even for them I think it's mainly a social occasion.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by fitch270 View Post
                Used dip nets for smelt once years ago with my dad and some family friends. Had a blast that night until my friend and I got stuck cleaning gallon jugs full of the things.
                Never tried suckers, but the old man says they used to eat the eggs. Rolled them in flour, salt and pepper then deep fried. Wouldn't mind trying it actually.
                I don't know if those big sucker runs even happen anymore. My grandpa used to say that they were always the same time as trout season opening, and even later. I hit quite a few streams this time of year and have never seen or caught any suckers. I suppose it depends on what other body of water the stream flows into ...?

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by fitch270 View Post
                  Used dip nets for smelt once years ago with my dad and some family friends. Had a blast that night until my friend and I got stuck cleaning gallon jugs full of the things.
                  Never tried suckers, but the old man says they used to eat the eggs. Rolled them in flour, salt and pepper then deep fried. Wouldn't mind trying it actually.
                  I don't know how they compare to days of yore, but they still happen. There's a noticable run of them in the Spring that seems to indicate the ending of the salmon run out of Champlain. It's kind of fun, because they hold all over the place, so when you walk around, they're blasting off in all directions.

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                  • #10
                    Bullheading is still very popular around here. Smelting has a long history in this area, but many of the best smelt fisheries have really suffered in recent years. In Champlain, the alewives have outcompeted them. I don't tend to do either, though. For me, the first spring fishing tradition is trolling for salmon and lakers when the ice goes out. I've attached a photo of the view from my house today...
                    Attached Files

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Dougfir View Post
                      Bullheading is still very popular around here. Smelting has a long history in this area, but many of the best smelt fisheries have really suffered in recent years. In Champlain, the alewives have outcompeted them. I don't tend to do either, though. For me, the first spring fishing tradition is trolling for salmon and lakers when the ice goes out. I've attached a photo of the view from my house today...
                      Hmmm... in real life it looks about 90 degrees more clockwise!

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                      • #12
                        We drive to a place call the Jolly Gator for Smoked Smelts O'H what good eating;-)) $5.00 for 3~8"smelts in a greasy brown bag........

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                        • #13
                          Use to dip net for herring in the Susquehanna river and tributaries. The runs have dwindle down to the season is now closed .

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                          • #14
                            Spring time sea run smelts with a dip net is a pretty common tradition around here. Suckers are mostly speared for lobster bait. I’ve done both in spades. Many a late night and long drive for suckers and smelts both. Fried smelt, 3 eggs over easy and a couple of hash browns and you’ve got yourself a breakfast.

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Dougfir View Post
                              Bullheading is still very popular around here. Smelting has a long history in this area, but many of the best smelt fisheries have really suffered in recent years. In Champlain, the alewives have outcompeted them. I don't tend to do either, though. For me, the first spring fishing tradition is trolling for salmon and lakers when the ice goes out. I've attached a photo of the view from my house today...
                              And to think, I thought you drank too much and took the photo laying down...

                              Comment

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