American Eel Identifier

American Eel Identifier explains that they look like snakes because of their long body and pointy heads. Their dorsal, anal, and caudal find appear to be one continuous fin that runs ¾ the length of their body.

 

 

themed_object

Features and behaviors from the American Eel Identifier

American eel is found throughout the US

American Eel Identifier explains that they look like snakes because of their long body and pointy heads. Their dorsal, anal, and caudal find appear to be one continuous fin that runs ¾ the length of their body. They are olive-gray with pale yellow-white abdomens. They can grow as long as 3 feet but typically average about 2 feet long. Though it’s rare, a few have even reached up to 5 feet long.

American eel are found throughout the US

American eel Identifier

Elongated, snakelike body with a broad, depressed snout. Lower jaw extends beyond the upper jaw, and eyes are placed well forward on the head. The mouth is large and slightly oblique, with the gape extending to the posterior margin of the eye.

One long dorsal fin originates far behind the pectorals and is continuous with the rounded caudal and anal fins. Pelvic fins are absent. One small gill slit is present in front of each pectoral fin. Scales are cycloid and embedded, and are difficult to see without magnification. The lateral line is well developed and prominent. Coloration varies depending on maturity level. The larval stage, known as the glass eel, is transparent and leaf shaped with a prominent black eye.

Diet:

American eels are opportunistic feeders, meaning they will eat any food available to them. They are considered carnivorous, with a diet including fish, frogs, insects and dead organisms.

Habitat:

Eels are bottom dwellers. They hide in burrows, tubes, snags, masses of plants, other types of shelters. They are found in a variety of habitats including streams, rivers, and muddy or silt-bottomed lakes during their freshwater stage, as well as oceanic waters, coastal bays and estuaries. Individuals during the continental stage occasionally migrate between fresh, salt and brackish water habitats and have varying degrees of residence time in each. During winter, eels burrow under the mud and enter a state of torpor (or complete inactivity) at temperatures below 5 °C (41 °F).

Angling:

Fishing for eels is not unlike fishing for bullheads, except eels are even harder to hold once caught. In ponds, lakes, and sloughs, cast bait rigs to shallow flats adjacent to deep water. In rivers, look for riffles at the head of a deep hole or quiet backwater areas near deep water. Dams concentrate migrating eels by temporarily blocking their upstream migration and distracting them with a steady supply of dead or injured baitfish. They often nibble gently at a bait, but quickly swallow the hook if you don’t set immediately. To handle an eel you want to keep or release, dip your hand in water then press your palm into dry sand-this improves your grip on their slick skin.

American eels feed by scent, and catching them requires a stinkbait—whole, juicy nightcrawlers, herring or shiner chunks, or even nontraditional offerings like chunks of fire pit hot dogs.” The eeling rig is simple: 10-pound-test main line, a No. 4 to No. 2 bait holder or Carlisle hook, and a couple of split shots.

back to top