Jacksmelt occur from Santa Maria Bay, Baja California, to Yaquina, Oregon. Jacksmelt are found in California bays and ocean waters throughout the year. They are schooling fish which prefer shallow water less than 100 feet and are most common in 5 to 50 foot depths.
Jacksmelt feed on small crustaceans. Jacksmelt that are 13 to 15 inches long are 8 or 9 years old. A 16 inch, 1 pound male was 11 years old. They will spawn first when 2 years old and about 6 inches long. The spawning season extends from October to March. Large masses of eggs, about the size of small BB's, are attached to shallow water seaweeds by means of long filaments.
Other Common Names:
silverside, horse smelt, blue smelt, California smelt.
17.5 inches; no weight recorded; however, a jacksmelt 16 inches long weighed 1 pound.
Jacksmelt are one of the most common fishes taken by pier anglers, but are also caught in the surf. Sometimes a number of coiled up worms are found in the flesh. These are intermediate stages of spine headed worms, the adult of which are harmful to sharks, pelicans and other fish predators. The worms are harmless to humans when the fish is thoroughly cooked.