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Taking to the Ice in the Kennebecasis Valley

Each winter, as soon as the ice reaches a safe thickness, a whole new community pops up out on the ice of the Kennebecasis River.
This community of little huts gathers each year as they fish for the famous smelt, a small but tasty delicacy caught one at a time on a small hook with a tiny piece of bait ranging from shrimp to pork fat.

There are several spots for good smelt fishing around the region but the largest gathering is usually at the Renforth Wharf, which becomes quite a sight as dozens of huts are lined up in neat rows, complete with named streets.  The length of the ice fishing season varies but a good one in a cold winter can begin in mid to late January and last an average of six weeks into March.

If you get your hands on some local smelt, a nice way to prepare the cleaned filet is to simply dredge in flour and fry until crisp in vegetable oil, then season with salt and eat with a simple tartare or seafood cocktail sauce.  Watch for them on some local menus in some Saint John restaurants as well.

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