Cold Maine town ready for big day of heating up smelts

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COLUMBIA FALLS, Maine (AP) - It still feels like winter in Down East Maine, but a little town near the coast is still planning its annual tradition of heating up smelts.

The 2019 Annual Smelt Fry and Fisheries Celebration is scheduled to take place on Saturday in Columbia Falls. The town of about 560 residents hosts the celebration of smelts every year to raise interest in fisheries conservation.

Downeast Salmon Federation puts on the event. The group says the cold winter kept rivers iced until early April this year, but it was still able to stock up on the smelts. The little fish are typically fried and eaten whole. They're the subject of conservation activism in Maine because of concerns about the sustainability of their population.