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Minnesota in Photos: Smelt return for a fishy tradition

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Smelt fishermen in Duluth
Smelt fishermen take their nets back into the waters of Lake Superior on Sunday, April 22 at Park Point in Duluth, Minn.
Derek Montgomery for MPR

It's springtime, which in Duluth means the smelt are running. But not the way they used to. Decades ago the city was nuts over the small silver fish, with hordes of people flocking to Lake Superior streams and beaches so thick with smelt it wasn't hard to catch a garbage can full. But the smelt population crashed in the 1980s, and now only a few die-hard smelters are keeping the tradition alive.