Canada Day Capelin

Capelin are a small fish belonging to the smelt family, important to Newfoundland for centuries as both a reliable, seasonal food source, and serving as a fertilizer for vegetable gardens. The annual capelin roll is also a sign of summer’s arrival in Newfoundland; the timing of their arrival varies, but this year, it coincided with the best Canada Day weekend on record!

It was 8 o’clock in the morning when we saw the tell-tale sign of capelin on the beach: seabird city!

Gulls skimming the water for capelin

More fish than water!

Beaching themselves in an effort to propagate. Watch where you step!

Success! Almost as much capelin roe as sand on the beach.


J was lucky to inherit his grandfather’s cast net. He remembers hauling wheelbarrow loads of capelin up to the garden, where the fish would be buried beneath the soil. Here’s a composite of J throwing out the net:

Pulling in the net

Back at the cottage, it’s important to clean the cast net in fresh water.

Drying the net

Lastly, cleaning the capelin before pan-frying the tasty fish.


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