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The World’s Largest Producer of Freshwater Lake Smelt

Great Lakes Food Company is the largest quota holder and principal harvester of smelt in North America’s Great Lakes. In season, we send out our fleet of five, Company-owned trawlers plus selected independent fishermen to harvest smelt in the Canadian waters of Lake Erie - the most productive lake for commercially caught fish in the entire Great Lakes system in both Canadian and U.S. waters.

At Great Lakes Food Company, our management team brings together over 140 years of combined experience in the fishing and food processing industries in addition to supporting customer requirements in food service and retail across North America, Europe and in Asia.

Whether you are a long-standing customer or a new one, in North America or overseas, you can depend on Great Lakes Food Company Lake Smelt to exceed your expectations.

A Tradition That Began in 1911

Continuing a tradition that began in 1911 from a small fishing village in Wheatley, Ontario, Canada, Great Lakes Food Company is committed to reinforcing the hallmarks of the original family-owned business focusing on specialized processing, premium quality products and unprecedented customer service.

From our boat captains and crew to our plant operations and management team everyone at GLFC is committed to maintaining the superior quality and personalized customer service that are synonymous with our brand or yours for freshwater Lake Smelt.

Your Resource for Premium Quality Freshwater Lake Smelt

Specializing in IQF freezing and a finely-graded product, customers can count on exceptional quality and service, whether ordering Great Lakes Food brand or requesting product to their own private label specifications.

Lake Erie ‘rainbow’ smelt are the preferred choice around the globe. Their delicate sweet taste and characteristics similar to all natural wild-caught fish world-wide make them a popular menu item in restaurants and the Great Lakes brand THE consumer favorite.

All wild-caught fish have natural cycles influenced by Mother Nature. Lake smelt have a four-year life cycle and their size will fluctuate somewhat year-to-year and during the fishing season as the fish grow. In general, the smallest and largest size categories have the least availability. GLFC provides several carefully graded sizes to choose from in order to best serve customer needs. 

Overall and perhaps most important, this significant natural resource is protected for future generations with harvesting taking place under quota strictly enforced by Canadian government regulations with our catch verified each and every day.

GLFC lake smelt are recognized around the globe and whether you call it rainbow smelt, cucumber fish, niji wakasagi, our just plain ‘smelt’, we look forward in continuing to strengthen and grow relationships with our loyal customers and consumers as well as building new customers for many years to come.


Bob Thickett

Vice President, Sales


We've got good news for smelt lovers.

March 2016: There have been an increasing number of enquiries recently asking if our lake smelt fishery is sustainable... read more>

March 2015: With his Big City upbringing and a rewarding Bay Street career as a private equity finance specialist, John Neate may seem like the proverbial fish
out of water... read more>

June 12, 2013: With continued sales growth, Great Lakes Fish Company is pleased to announce a number of changes and a move into new facilities...





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