European smelt






1 European smelt

2 Carianthus orange    Carianthus membranaceus

6  Actinea cari

Calliactis parasitica

5 Dardanus calidus (hermit crab)

3 beadlet anemone

hermit crab

7 Aulactinia verrucosa










Ice fishing for smelt is a very popular sport for Russian men. The boots are called valenki.

Russian ice fishing for smelt

Ice fishing is very popular in Russia. Its is done on the frozen rivers and along the  long coast , Russia borders many seas.  Ice fishing starts in November and ends in April. The last month is quite dangerous as the ice becomes unstable, even when they are advised to stay off of the ice on rivers and streams.  Every year may ice fishing men drowning. Smelt is a very popular catch in the estuaria of those seas, and it used to be abundant in the brackish Baltic sea. In Petersburg (Leningrad) smelt used to be a popular seafood. But a combination of factors caused a sharp decline of smelt: pollution and fishery but most of all the raising temperatures. (2)





Glugea hertwigi   causes cysts (arrow) in the abdomen of freshwater smelt.(4)

parasites of smelt: Glugea hertwigi 

Glugea hertwigi  is a freshwater parasite of the smelts Osmerus eperlanus and Osmerus mordax   and can be found in lakes. Glugea hertwigi infects the digestive tract  of the smelt and causes a massive extinctions of spelt during spring. Physiological exhaustion of the adult smelts during spawning time, together with Glugea hertwigi  infection  , is responsible for the massive spring kill.(3)


1  painting by P. Flandersky in Brehm (1880)  with additions

2   The role of temperature in the population dynamis of smelt Osmerus eperlanus eperlanus m sprinchus in lake Peipsi (estonia/Russia) Hydrobiologica june 2007 , Volume 584, issue1, pp 433-441 

 Variations mensuelles de Glugea hertwigi (Sporozoa: Microsporida) chez différents tissus et organes de l’éperlan adulte dulcicole et conséquences de cette infection sur une mortalité massive annuelle de ce poisson by Claude E. Delisle

Animal Parasites: Their Life Cycles and Ecology