Rinse cleaned smelt under cold running water and pat dry with paper towels. Sprinkle fish cavities with salt and pepper.
Combine flour and Italian bread crumbs in a shallow dish.
In another shallow dish, pour the lemon juice, dip both sides of the smelt in lemon juice and then coat both sides in the flour mixture.
In a large frying pan over medium-high heat, melt 1/3 of the butter. Working in 3 batches, add the smelt and fry for 2 to 3 minutes, turning once, or until fish is lightly browned and flakes readily when prodded with a fork.
Remove from pan and drain on paper towels. Place smelt on a platter, garnish with lemon wedges, and serve immediately with tarter sauce if desired.
Cook's Note: Dredge fish in Shake 'n Bake instead of flour mixture...Yum!!