|Description||Smelts are a family of small fish, Osmeridae, found in the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. They are also known as freshwater smelts or typical smelts to distinguish them from the related Argentinidae, Bathylagidae, and Retropinnidae.
Some smelt species are common in the North American Great Lakes, and in the lakes and seas of the northern part of Europe, where they run in large shoals along the saltwater coastline during spring migration to their spawning streams.
In size, smelts usually grow to about 20 cm (7.9 in) long, although some species can reach 70 cm (28 in). Smelts are a food source for salmon and lake trout.
Like salmon, many species are anadromous, living most of their lives in the sea, but traveling into fresh water to breed. However, a few exceptions, such as the surf smelt, spend their entire lives at sea.|