The Downeast Salmon Federation is bringing back their Smelt Fry on Saturday, April 29 from 12-4 p.m. The community and visitors will be getting together near the Pleasant River Hatchery in Columbia Falls to enjoy some authentic Downeast heritage and tasty fish. The event welcomes over 400 guests eager to experience fried smelts caught by DSF volunteers along with other food provided by community organizations and local farms. This year the event will include some special guests from Bangor and Portland. Five bands from the Maine Academy of Modern Music will be joining the celebration and performing a mix of original songs and covers at the event.

Programming for the 2023 Smelt Fry is a collaboration between the Shaw brothers. Dwayne Shaw is the executive director of DSF which has a mission to conserve the fish and habitat, restore a viable sport fishery, and protect other important river, scenic, recreational, and ecological resources in eastern Maine. Jeff Shaw is the executive director of the Maine Academy of Modern Music, an independent non-profit music school of contemporary music that operates on a ‘school of rock’ model to provide classes, lessons, gigs, and camps, for young musicians ages 10 to 18. Having bands perform at the event is part of a larger initiative to support music education in the area and connect different parts of Maine. The Smelt Fry is following the Mallett Brothers Downeast concert which MAMM produced at Narraguagus Jr/Sr High School in Harrington on March 30th and is coming before the Bangor Girls Rock! Concert on May 13 where tickets and transportation are being provided to area students so they may attend.

“It is great to be working with Dwayne on this project”, offered Jeff. “It reminds me of how connected things in Maine can be and how different sectors come together to build strong communities. I think it is a pretty amazing opportunity for our southern and central Maine MAMM student bands to tour into this area and experience playing at this event, and I think attendees will be impressed at the amount of musical talent these young Mainers have.”

The event will be held from 12-4 p.m. at the Columbia Falls Town Hall on Main Street in Columbia Falls. The smelt fry meal is $10 per person and $8 for veterans.

Proceeds from the event will benefit the federation’s Pleasant River Hatchery in Columbia Falls. More information can be found by calling 207-483-4336 or visiting To learn more about the Maine Academy of Modern Music, its programs, please visit