Pacific Rainbow Smelt


The⁣ Pacific Rainbow⁤ Smelt,⁣ scientifically known as Osmerus mordax dentex, is ⁤a small fish that belongs ⁢to the family⁢ Osmeridae.

Conservation Status

Currently, ‌the Pacific Rainbow Smelt is not‌ under any significant threat and is listed as ‘Least ‍Concern’ on the conservation status rankings. Despite this, ⁤monitoring and ⁤efforts to​ sustain⁣ healthy populations and habitats are still critical.


Stats Average Range
Length 16 cm 10-20 cm
Weight 20⁣ g 10-30 g
Average Lifespan 3-4 years N/A


Pacific Rainbow Smelt are​ found along the eastern outer coast of the Pacific, particularly⁢ in the⁢ northern regions. Their migration patterns include ​moving offshore in the winter and returning ⁤inshore for spawning during the spring.


These species inhabit a wide range‍ of water conditions, from ⁤fresh to brackish to​ marine. They are often⁤ found at depth ranges‍ of 0-200 meters and can tolerate a vast range of water temperatures.

When and⁢ Where to See

The best time to spot Pacific Rainbow Smelt is during⁢ their spring⁤ spawning season. Early morning hours are considered optimal.

Best Fishing Locations

While specific popular locations are not identified,⁣ general tips to find Pacific ⁢Rainbow Smelt include looking for them in rivers and coastal areas during the spring season.

How to Catch

The preferred bait for Pacific Rainbow Smelt are tiny jigs, larvae, and minnows. Effective techniques range from jigging to bottom fishing. Night fishing during the spring ​season usually yields the best results.

Identification Guide

Pacific Rainbow Smelt are identifiable ​by their silver-blue bodies ⁤and rainbow reflections. They have a streamlined shape and ‌can be differentiated from similar species by their unique jaw ‍structures and ⁣tooth​ patterns.


Pacific Rainbow Smelt offers a​ mild flavor with a light, ⁤smooth texture.⁣ They are rich​ in omega-3 fatty ‍acids and low in mercury. They can be prepared ⁣pan-fried, baked, or ‌even eaten raw in sushi.

Additional Information

These‍ species have a nocturnal feeding habit, mainly feeding on⁢ zooplankton.⁣ Known predators include ⁢larger fishes, sea ‌birds, and seals. Though there is‌ no specific cultural significance, Pacific Rainbow Smelt play‍ an important role in the food chain.

References​ and⁣ Further Reading

For further detailed information,‌ head to sources like Fishbase, Encyclopedia of Life and the ​Alaska Department of Fish and ​Game. Always remember to respect‌ local fishing regulations for a‌ sustainable fishing experience.