The colorful lives of rainbow smelt

Learn about these fascinating fish with Dr. Danielle Frechette
Mon, 01/24/2022 - 8:15am

Ice fishing for rainbow smelt has been a winter staple for generations of Mainers. The Kennebec Estuary Land Trust (KELT) is excited to welcome Dr. Danielle Frechette, a biologist at the Maine Department of Marine Resources, to speak about the colorful lives of rainbow smelt on Thursday, Feb. 3 at 6 p.m. The virtual evening lecture will provide insights into the biology, ecology, behavior, and natural history of these fascinating fish. Participants are welcomed and encouraged to ask questions during the Q&A portion of the lecture.

During the colder months, smelt congregate in schools near their spring spawning tributaries and clusters of fishing shacks often dot the ice above them. Along with drawing folks out to brave the winter cold, these small silvery fish play an important role in Maine’s estuaries and food webs. They are one of the few important species of sea-run fish that migrate between fresh and salt water.

Registration is free and required in order to receive the Zoom link for the presentation. The Zoom link will be sent out to registrants before the event. For more information and to sign-up, visit KELT’s website at or call (207) 442-8400.

Dr. Danielle Frechette completed her PhD studies at the Eau Terre Environnement Centre, Institut National de la Recherche Scientifique in July 2019. Her current research focuses on salmon ecology and migration, conservation translocation, and population dynamics. She is also a principal investigator in the Gulf of Maine Research Institute’s Smelt Spawning project, which hopes to answer the question: where are anadromous smelt spawning in Maine? The presentation will highlight opportunities for people to get involved as volunteer citizen scientists in this study.