Smelt fry held at Big Lake Fire Department

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Staff Writer
Jennifer Edwards
The Big Lake Fire Dept. had some help from the Big Lake Lions to put on their annual smelt and fish fry at the fire hall Friday.
The event, which benefits the Firefighters Relief Association, drew a crowd of around 300 people, who paid $10 each to partake in the traditional meal.
While the Lions took charge of the fryers, the Big Lake Ambassadors helped serve the tasty fish. The Big Lake Lioness also had a large table laden with desserts for sale to finish the meal.
Smelt are little fish introduced to the Great Lakes by European settlement. The small fish swim upstream to breed as soon as the ice melts and the water temperatures get above 40 degrees, making them a tasty spring treat.   So many little fish swim together, they can be scooped up in nets or buckets, an activity which takes place at night because smelt are extremely light-sensitive. The numbers of smelt coming in to spawn or “running,” has declined over the years.
Smelt are gutted and their heads cut off, coated in flour, deep fried and eaten whole. Friday they came with baked potatoes, coleslaw, baked beans and fried perch. The Lions fried them to a crisp and crunchy golden brown and served them hot with tartar sauce.

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Duane Theodore Anderson

THE BIG LAKE LIONESS ANNUAL GARAGE SALE drew plenty of shoppers to Lions Park Saturday morning. The Lioness Club has been serving the Big Lake Community for 31 years. (Photo by Jennifer Edwards).

TREE EXPERT Gina Hugo works for the Sherburne County Soil and Water Conservation District.