Eel (Anquilla anquilla)

Eel (Anquilla anquilla)

The River Lee produced this fine 1.7 kg eel for Dirk Mueller in August, 2002.

The River Lee produced this fine 1.7 kg eel for Dirk Mueller in August, 2002.

Record weight: 6lb 15oz Lough Droumensia, Bantry, Cork. 1979.

Freshwater eel – suspended from ISFC list of eligible species

In compliance with a new bye-law, the CONSERVATION OF EEL FISHING BYE-LAW NO. C.S. 303, 2009, eel has been suspended from the specimen list from 14th May 2009. Claims for specimen eels taken before 14th May 2009 will be accepted. The new bye-law prohibits fishing for eel, or possessing or selling eel caught in the State. The commercial eel fishery has also been closed to conserve eel stocks in Ireland.
The angling bye-law will cease on 30 June 2012. For further information on the bye-law see the following link:


The long snake like appearance of the eel is its most distinguishing feature. It has small gills and pectoral fins, and a narrow dorsal fin.


Unlike all other coarse fish species the eel spawns at sea. The location of these spawning grounds are believed to be in the Sargasso Sea, although no adult eel has ever been located in this area. The newly hatched transparent larvae migrate across the Atlantic in less than one year eventually metamorphosing into small pigmented eels called “elvers”. At this stage the eel migrates into freshwater usually between April-June. The eel remains in freshwater for 7-40 years and then prepares for migration back to the spawning grounds. Prior to its migration back to the Sargasso the coloration of the eel changes from golden to silvery hue.


Adult female eels produce several million eggs.

Longevity (age):

Eels have been aged up to 40 years old.


Eels feed mainly on invertebrates, crustaceans, small fish and insect larvae.

Best Angling Methods:

Float fishing and ledgering.

Best Baits:

Worms and maggots in general. Small deadbaits are deadly for big specimens.

Best Times to Fish Eel
Note: ★ Good time to fish Eel      ★ ★ Very good time to fish Eel

Top 20 specimen eel from Irish waters

NoWeight (lbs ozs)Weight (kg)LocationDate of CaptureAnglerMethod
16 lbs 15ozs3.147 kgs Droumenisa Like, Bantry12/06/1979John MurnaneWorms
26 lbs 4 ozs2.835 kgsLough Naback, Co. Cavan04/07/1982David GrimesMaggots
35 lbs 15 ozs2.693 kgs Knockalough, Co. Clare04/09/1979Philip Treytel (NL)Strip of Trout
45 lbs 15 ozs2.693 kgsR. Shannon, Clondra25/09/1968Edmund HawksworthLobworms
5-2.608 kgsCalloughs Lake, Northern Region18/05/2001Des McIntyreWorms
65 lbs 11.5 ozs2.594 kgsLough Bawn, Northern Region04/10/1998Master Ciaran MaxwellWorms
75 lbs 11 ozs2.580 kgsRiver Barrow11/07/1985Kevin MurphyWorms
85 lbs 10 ozs2.551 kgsAughrusbeg Lake, WRFB21/09/1978J. J. SmitsWorms
9-2.500 kgsLough Derravaragh, Shannon Region12/08/1993Greg LongWorms
105 lbs 7 ozs2.466 kgsBallylagan Lake, Northern Ireland26/05/1995David MarkeyNymph
11-2.440 kgsLough Lene, Eastern Region17/06/2006Michael FlanaganWorms
12-2.381 kgsThe Lough, Cork09/05/2001John HealyWorms
135 lbs 2 ozs2.325 kgsAughrusbeg Lake, Western Region04/09/1978 J. J. SmitsWorms
145 lbs 2 ozs2.325 kgsWhite Lake, Eastern Region05/06/1988Paddy CarolanWorms
155 lbs 2 ozs2.325 kgsWhite Lake, Eastern Region19/06/1988Oliver KellyWorms
165 lbs 0 ozs2.268 kgsThe Lough, Cork12/07/1976Jim McGrathDead Rudd
174 lbs 15.5 ozs2.254 kgsLake Gorteen, Shannon Region26/09/1999Robin BrazierDog Biscuit
184 lbs 15 ozs2.240 kgsRiver Lee, Inniscarra Res.25/09/1998Bill CollinsLobworm
194 lbs 14 ozs2.211 kgsStoneyford Res., Antrim29/09/1977John HuddlestonWorms
204 lbs 11 ozs2.126 kgsDromtine Lake, Sneem, Co. Kerry10/07/1972A. KoppendraaierFish strip