American Eel - Anguila rostrata

American Eel

Life history and habitat requirements: The American eel, a native fish of the Assabet, Sudbury and Concord watersheds, frequents large and moderately large streams and rivers and is occasionally found in smaller streams. Adults live in freshwater rivers until they migrate downstream in the fall to the ocean. After a two-three month journey to the Sargasso Sea, which is located hundreds of miles off Bermuda, they spawn and die. Females lay about 20 million eggs. The transparent larvae drift in the northward current for about a year back to the Atlantic coast. Here the larvae grow into elvers and make their way up into freshwater rivers, lakes and ponds.
(Sources: Fishes of Arkansas and AMC Guide to Freshwater Fishing in New England)

Total Length: females up to 48 inches; males 12-14 inches (largest recorded in MA, 52-inch female).
Pollution Tolerance (US EPA): Tolerant
Classification: Macrohabitat generalist

Summary of 1954 & 2001 surveys*:

Location No. of Fish 1957 No. of Fish 2001
Assabet River   119
Assabet Brook 1 13
Danforth Brook   1
Elizabeth Brook   9
Fort Meadow Brook   2
Great Brook   1
Guggins Brook   2
Hop Brook   2
Nashoba Brook 3 2
North Brook   2
Total 4 154

*Sources:
DFW. 2001. Assabet Watershed Fish Survey. Mass. Division of Fisheries and Wildlife (MassWildlife), Westborough, MA.

Schlotterbeck, L.C. and W.A. Tompkins. 1954. "A Fisheries Investigation of the Merrimack and Ipswich River Drainages." Bureau of Wildlife Research and Management, Mass. Division of Fisheries and Wildlife, Westborough, MA.