Eels migrate up streams as elvers to find suitable adult habitat. After many years (15-30 years for shortfins, 25 years for longfins, and sometimes up to 80 years) they migrate to the Pacific Ocean to breed and die.
Do eels hibernate in winter?
They live mainly in freshwater but migrate and breed in the ocean. In colder regions, the eels hibernate in winter.
Can you catch eels in winter?
Eels can be caught year-round but are generally considered to be summer feeders, July to October are the best months to catch them.
Do NZ eels hibernate?
With the onset of winter eels hibernate to deep mud in backwaters, swampy areas or drains where they lie dormant until spring.
Do eels migrate over land?
As long as its a dewy or rainy night, eels can leave the water and wriggle across land and even straight up dam walls. Recently some dams have been covered with Astroturf to make it easier for the eels to climb, and fish ladders have been installed in several rivers to aid their migration.
How do you attract eels?
Earthworms, chicken livers, and small pieces of oily cut bait all work well to attract a strike from an eel. For your hook, it needs to be small but strong. A number two to a number six size long shank hook is fine, but do not use fine-wire hooks.
Where can I catch eels?
Good eel fishing spots include rivers, reservoirs, ponds, and canals. In ponds and lakes, you can cast into shallow flats next to deep water. In rivers, you can look for quiet backwater near deep areas.
Is it legal to catch eels in NZ?
A maximum size limit of four kilograms will apply to commercial fishers taking eels from the North Island and Chatham Island. The same maximum size limit has already been introduced for eels taken by commercial fishers in the South Island.
How long do NZ eels live for?
Endemic to New Zealand, the longfin eel, so-named because its dorsal (top) fin is longer than its bottom fin, is probably the biggest eel in the world. Slow growing and sometimes living for 80 years, some females can reach 2 metres long and weigh up to 40kg.
How old can an eel live?
Adults remain in freshwater rivers and streams for the majority of their lives. Once they reach sexual maturity, they return to the Sargasso Sea to spawn and die. American eels usually live for at least five years, though some eels can reach 15 to 20 years old.