American Eel questions

bugmankeith

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Every year a local pond that goes into a lake (the pond is is near brackish water docks) is infested with tiny young migrating eels, which I later found out were young american eels. They amused me as I knew little about them.

Ok, so they settle into the lake and mature, but i've seen medium sized eels that are fairly slender, and silver in color in the lake also being sold for fish bait nearby (in salt water), they look like this, but instead of olive green on top they are a grayish-silver. http://www.dcnature.com/photosmid/American eel750.jpg
Do these eels sometimes show up more silver than usual and how are they living in salt water in the bait shop if they at that life stage are supposed to be freshwater?

My last question, for people keeping them as pets, when they are breeding age, and never released, do they die if they never get to be in salt water? Or do they remain the same as freshwater forms and never change?
 

GiantVinegaroon

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Every year a local pond that goes into a lake (the pond is is near brackish water docks) is infested with tiny young migrating eels, which I later found out were young american eels. They amused me as I knew little about them.

Ok, so they settle into the lake and mature, but i've seen medium sized eels that are fairly slender, and silver in color in the lake also being sold for fish bait nearby (in salt water), they look like this, but instead of olive green on top they are a grayish-silver. http://www.dcnature.com/photosmid/American eel750.jpg
Do these eels sometimes show up more silver than usual and how are they living in salt water in the bait shop if they at that life stage are supposed to be freshwater?

My last question, for people keeping them as pets, when they are breeding age, and never released, do they die if they never get to be in salt water? Or do they remain the same as freshwater forms and never change?
First off, thanks for posting my video lol. I'm actually making plans for decorating Eli's new tank right now haha.

Eels go through a yellow and a silver phase as they grow. Older animals tend to be more silver.. You're saying you see these guys in brackish water. I'm not an expert, but my guess is either the smaller slender silver eels are either still growing and changing color or possibly male. Generally it's the females that inhabit pure freshwater.

Remember, these eels hatch and feed in saltwater before growing into elvers(the stage often sold in baitshops) and going into freshwater. They don't always go into freshwater, many stay in estuaries where they feed and grow into adults. They are also very hardy critters that can survive a wide range of water conditions(heck, mine was perfectly healthy even after being kept in a filthy tank in a small grocery store).

I do not believe the eels die if they are kept in freshwater and unable to return to saltwater. They simply become "landlocked," feed, and get really freakin big. I might be wrong, but I think I read that somewhere....I'll need to double check.
 

Crysta

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they get BIG and they get YUMMY!

I love them in the wild, but they sure are tasty. Beautiful creatures that remind me of dragons!
 

GiantVinegaroon

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they get BIG and they get YUMMY!

I love them in the wild, but they sure are tasty. Beautiful creatures that remind me of dragons!
In all honesty, American eel should be avoided as a food because their numbers keep going down.

Every time I look at them, I keep forgetting they're fish. They definitely are reptilian

bugmankeith, glad I can help and even happier you enjoyed the vid. I freakin love that fish.
 

Crysta

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I dont know about numbers keep going down, because everytime I am fishing on the line they just keep biting! I only ever take 1 every fishing trip. (which is 2-3 times a year)
but they are pretty annoying if you want actual trout! .. lol
And I see that the big(3f) ones are silver in pictures, the ones here look the same but are way gold green (in new-brunswick)
 

dtknow

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It is hard to tell overall population trends with just a few fishing trips that for sure.

I'm sure its legal-but in honesty I'd leave those big girls alone and focus on the trout-they've got an important job to do.

Just curious-what are you fishing with? If I wanted to avoid eels I'd probably switch to hardware. Floating diving plugs, shallow running spinners or lightweight spoons, etc. I'd assume if you are catching lots of eels you are probably using bait.
 

Crysta

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I dunno I can't catch anything with spoons or spinners lol maybe i suck at fishing. I just use the normal cheap fishing poll and a shiny peice with worm, but since im in BC now I wont be fishing around so you don't need to worry about a lil eel ending up in my tummy ;)
 

GiantVinegaroon

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It is hard to tell overall population trends with just a few fishing trips that for sure.

I'm sure its legal-but in honesty I'd leave those big girls alone and focus on the trout-they've got an important job to do.

Just curious-what are you fishing with? If I wanted to avoid eels I'd probably switch to hardware. Floating diving plugs, shallow running spinners or lightweight spoons, etc. I'd assume if you are catching lots of eels you are probably using bait.
Yea I'm pretty sure it's not illegal anywhere but biologists say the numbers hauled in by big fishing companies are down. It doesn't have a status, although people recently fought to list it as threatened.
 

Bigboy

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Yea I'm pretty sure it's not illegal anywhere but biologists say the numbers hauled in by big fishing companies are down. It doesn't have a status, although people recently fought to list it as threatened.
From what I've read the real fishing threat to american eels comes from the unsustainable harvesting that occurs during the trip by glass eels from the sea back into fresh bodies of water. It greatly reduces the recruitment of new eels into current populations.
 

GiantVinegaroon

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From what I've read the real fishing threat to american eels comes from the unsustainable harvesting that occurs during the trip by glass eels from the sea back into fresh bodies of water. It greatly reduces the recruitment of new eels into current populations.
Yea that's what is really doing them in, and I think Greenpeace just added it to their list of fish to avoid eating.
 
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