Smelt are a small species of fish from the salmon family. They typically reach a length of 7 inches and run into the estuaries and rivers in early spring. They are a common table fare on the Northern U.S. coasts and around the Great Lakes. They can be deep-fried or smoked. The smoking process produces a deep flavor and can be done in an afternoon.
Mix the water, sugar and salt in the pot. Make sure everything is dissolved. Add the herbs of your choice. This is a personal issue, so the selection is yours.
Add the smelt to the pot. Allow the smelt to sit in the brine mixture for about 2 hours; any longer may make them too salty.
Start the smoker. Your selection of smoke wood again is a personal choice. Mesquite is one choice. Get the smoker to about 140 degrees.
Place the smelt into the fish basket. Fish baskets have small grills and clamp around the fish like a clam. They allow the smoke to penetrate the fish. Place the smelt on the grill.
Smoke at 140 degrees for 2 hours. Raise the temperature in the smoker to 180 degrees. This is done by closing the vents slightly. Smoke the smelt for another hour.