How to Catch Eels From a River

How to Catch Eels From a RiverFew fish in freshwater can put up the fight that a good sized eel can. These slithery creatures are a handful on the line as well as off. Anglers that target other species in the local river miss out on plenty of action when they decide not to pursue the eel, a fish that can be caught if you know when and how to try.


Difficulty: Moderately Challenging

Step 1
Go fishing for eels at night. Eels hide during the day in the mud and under structure such as boulders and logs to avoid detection by predators. Eels will begin biting at twilight and come out in full force when it becomes dark.
Step 2
Locate a spot on the river where the current is not that strong. Go fishing for eels in coves and in places where shallower water runs into a deeper portion of the river. Be certain to have flashlights, although head lamps are the best equipment for this type of angling. It is also advisable to build a small fire if conditions allow; the more light the better for the fishermen on shore.
Step 3
Utilize 12-lb. test monofilament line rigged with a number four snelled hook. Attach three large split shots to your line approximately 16 inches above the hook. Bait your hook with a large night crawler. Thread the worm onto your hook so that there is very little left dangling and cast it out into the river as far as you can.
Step 4
Wait for a tug on the line. Eels will normally give one strong tug followed by another as they try to eat the night crawler. Once you feel the first tug be on guard for the second. Set the hook when the second tug comes by pulling back strongly and quickly on the rod tip.
Step 5
Fight the eel as it thrashes in the river. At first you may think you have a snag; that's how strong an eel is as it realizes it is hooked. Gradually you will be able to reel the eel in after this initial burst of energy and strength as the fish tires. The best way to land an eel is to beach it on the shore, as using a net will result in the slippery eel becoming tangled and possibly injured.

Tips & Warnings

If an eel fails to bite after about 2 minutes, reel the line in and cast it out again.

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