Seriously........ I am a big fan of smelt. Back in the day we used to catch them on Lake Ontario in spring just after ice out while we were catching the big brown trout that would come in to feed on them. the smelt would school up along the walls and rock jetties and you could just net them. During ice time guys would set up shacks and have a dozen or more lines down and catch them by hook.
As far as eating..... for fresh smelt, cut off head,remove guts and if you want you can pull out the backbone and ribcage( I do most times). coat them in a coating of your choice... bread crumbs, corn meal, flour, tempura, etc. and deep fry till golden.
you can buy them frozen already cleaned with the bone still in at most markets.