This is a deep sea fish that comes to spawn on the coarse sand beaches. In Canada, caplin is fished mostly on the west coast of Newfoundland where it is caught with seine nets, on the lower north coast of Quebec and in the St. Lawrence estuary where it is caught with fish weirs.
Like its relative the smelt, the caplin is pale olive-green to bottle green on the back, with silvery sides and a white belly. Its scales are smaller than those of the smelt and it does not have hooked teeth on its tongue.
Max. length: 23 cm
Fishing seson: June and July, during the spawning period.
Caplin is commonly found surrounded by shrimp, redfish and cod.
In the kitchen
Moderately fatty fish
Caplin is an important link in the food chain because it is a foraging fish. It used to be used to fertilize fields, as bait for cod, and more recently, to make meal. In cooking, it is particularly sought out for its eggs, served like caviar. Every year in the spring, this little silvery fish comes to the shores of Gaspé and the Lower St. Lawrence to lay its eggs before returning to the river to die.
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