Unbenosent to a vast majority of anglers, eels live in the freshwater lakes that they are fishing. The eel is considered a slimy creature that poses a threat when handled and therefore should not be targeted. While this remains true for some varieties of eels, it does not exist for the entire eel family. Just what is a freshwater eel?

Where Do Freshwater Eels Live

What is interesting about the eel is despite them being considered freshwater, they live in both salt and freshwater during some stage in life. 

As an adult, the eel lives in freshwater or brackish water but migrates when it spawns. Eels will swim from lakes into the ocean to spawn before dying. 

The freshwater eel is found in freshwater lakes and rivers in Georgia, South Carolina, and North Carolina and the ocean where they migrate and spawn. 

What Does A Freshwater Eel Eat

The eel that resides in freshwater primarily feeds in the evening hours and through the night. These fish dine on crayfish, frogs, worms, fish, and a multitude of insects. The eel has a superb pallet for a fish that spends most of its time on the bottom of the lake. 

Are Freshwater Eels Aggressive

The eel bites bait presented by anglers, including nightcrawlers or minnows on the bottom of freshwater or saltwater environments. Once they are hooked, the fish is known to put up a fierce battle before being landed. 

Do Freshwater Eels Bite Humans

Fortunately, the freshwater eel does not contain venom. Therefore, the fish is not harmful to humans if a swimmer or angler were bitten.

Keep in mind; the eel does not stalk and bite an unsuspecting swimmer. Therefore this eel is not considered to be aggressive. However, anglers who mishandle the fish have been bit by the strong jaws containing many small teeth. 

To help avoid mishandling an eel that has been caught, wear gloves to maintain a firm grip and utilize pliers to pull the hook free while keeping your fingers clear of the mouth. 

Are Freshwater Eels Actually Eels

While the freshwater eel is an eel, it has a unique life compared to others in the family. A vast majority of fish are anadromous, which means they migrate from the sea to freshwater for spawning purposes; however, the freshwater eel is the exact opposite.

This specific type of eel is catadromous, meaning that the fish lives in fresh or brackish water but travels to saltwater to spawn.

With all of this being said, the eel is an eel but has a unique life span due to the migration pattern. 

Are Freshwater Eels Good To Eat

The freshwater eel is incredibly popular to eat, specifically in Japanese and Chinese cuisines. Connoisseurs of eel would describe the flesh to be mild, sweet, and firm in texture. The fillets are always cooked because the blood contains a toxic protein. As a result, the blood must be thoroughly cooked. 

 The Japanese name for freshwater eel is unagi. One of the unique forms of sushi consisting of unagi is the unagi roll which contains eel, cucumber, seaweed paper, and sticky rice, known as sushi rice. 

In addition to forming unagi into sushi, eel is also prepared by grilling and frying the fillets. The fish is delicious tasting because of the sweetness contained in the cooked flesh. 

Unfortunately, the population of these eels is on the decline as a result of habitat loss in addition to overfishing. 

Do You Have A Good Understanding Of A Freshwater Eel

It is more than likely that an avid angler has stumbled across a freshwater eel while venturing out fishing. Remember, the eel is not harmful but should be handled carefully to avoid contact with its sharp teeth. While the eel is most often released here in the United States, visit a local sushi restaurant to taste unagi.