Down East 2013 ©
Smelt fishing isn’t really about the fishing. No one is going to mount a six-inch smelt. It’s an excuse to get out of the house, drink with friends, and spend time away from the couch on days like this when the air is crisp and the sun glows on the bare patches of ice. Located just up from the Brooklyn Bridge (a bit smaller than its New York counterpart) on a tidal river in a midcoast town, these famous camps are available for rent at fifteen dollars a person. All twenty-four well-made huts come complete with bait, lines, and woodstove. You just need to bring the cooler and cookware. For a state tailor-made for ice fishing, Maine has relatively few of these leasable smelt shacks. Most of them tend to be within twenty miles of the one pictured. The little anadromous fish are plentiful here. They move from a massive bay up into six rivers, just waiting to be caught and fried. Have you ever dropped a line at one of these shacks? Send us a note at P.O. Box 679, Camden, ME 04843; whip off an email to firstname.lastname@example.org ; or post a comment at DownEast.com  if you can identify this icy scene.