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They don't adjust to changing temps well at all. They came from the cold lake, into the warmer river, to spawn. And they died. It is something that happens to Alewives.
 

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I've seen them swarming in the river in TC, during their spawn. It was a long time ago - probably before the Mussels invaded our lakes. If they are thick again, that is a great sign for northern Lake Michigan. And that is relatively close to the straits, so maybe some will migrate to Huron, and spawn in rivers/streams/creeks over there.
 

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I was pretty mesmerized by the whole scene. I couldn't help but think "why couldn't you dip for these like you do smelt?". I also thought about what they taste like. They're a herring I think, so can't be that bad.
The biggest appeal to Smelt, is that we can fry and eat them, bones-and-all. Go ahead and try that with Alewives. Or Herring. Or shad. Or Cisco. Or Gobies. "Can't be that bad." :D
 
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