Rinse the smelt, pat dry and season with salt and pepper. Dredge the fish in the cornmeal, shaking off excess.
Heat 600-800 ml (approximately 201/2- 27 ounces) of oil to 190°C (approximately 375°F) in a deep-fryer or saucepan. Working in batches fry the smelts until golden brown.
Drain on paper towels, arrange on a plate and serve immediately with lime or lemon wedges.