University of California
California Fish Website

Fish Species


 Common Name Surf Smelt
 Scientific Name Hypomesus pretiosus
 Native Yes
 Identification
Surf smelt. Location: Eureka Slough, Humboldt Bay, CA. Date: 2004. Photo by Mike Wallace, California Department of Fish and Game. Note: Scale in cm.
Surf smelt. Location: Eureka Slough, Humboldt Bay, CA. Date: 2004. Photo by Mike Wallace, California Department of Fish and Game. Note: Scale in cm.

 

  • Small silvery fish, adipose fin present
  • Jaw teeth present, axillary process absent
  • Head more than 4 times as long as eye diameter, and less than 2.5 times as long as the longest anal fin ray
  • Lateral line scales: 53-60
  • Fin rays: anal 8
 Life History Surf Smelt are primarily a marine species that are occasionally found in estuaries. They are capable of surviving in water with a salinity as low as 4 ppt. Surf Smelt provide an important commercial and sport fishery in California.

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