It's not your imagination, smelt have disappeared.
Not just on the Chicago lakefront, but throughout Lake Michigan.
Smelt netting begins tonight in Chicago, but it will mainly be a social event, a welcome outdoor event to give winter a much needed kick in the ass.
At least in 2001, there was enough smelt netted at Montrose on opening night for Derrick Coley to eagerly perform the lakefront ritual of biting the head off the first smelt.
Now, smelt are so scarse, even a few being netted tonight might be a surprise.
First the dire smelt outlook from biologist Steve Robillard, then some basic details.