Definition of candlefish in US English:



  • A small edible marine fish with oily flesh, occurring on the west coast of North America.

    Thaleichthys pacificus, family Osmeridae

    Also called eulachon
    • ‘He'll then switch his lures to match the size of the candlefish, usually about 2 to 3 inches long.’
    • ‘In this case, many point their fingers at the shrimp trawler that operates off the coast, a trawler that doesn't want to stop fishing when the candlefish pass through.’
    • ‘Both herring and candlefish can be imitated with Marabous or weighted or unweighted Clouser Minnows.’
    • ‘Dr. Hubbard stated ‘While recovering sediment cores at night we attracted an enormous school of baitfish, likely candlefish, with our ship's deck lights.’’
    • ‘Gulls wheeled and screamed over the first slug of spawning candlefish.’


So named because the Chinook Indians formerly burnt the oily bodies of these fish as candles.