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mojorig

American Eel in Bull Shoals Lake

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I seldom read the lakes section, so didn't see this until now.  Eels are one of my favorite subjects, and I did a long treatise on the in one of the other message boards.  It's really a mystery how an eel could have gotten into Bull Shoals, due to their life cycle, in which they are born in the Sargasso Sea, gradually make their way to land in both North America and Europe from that same area, and aren't adults until they do some growing in freshwater.  They move all the way up into fairly small streams as adults, but by the time they get into the Ozarks (think about it...from the Sargasso Sea in the Atlantic Ocean, across the ocean and into the Gulf of Mexico, across the Gulf to the mouth of the Mississippi, then up the Mississippi to tributaries draining the Ozarks, up those tributaries into the Ozarks) they should all be adults.  So the bait bucket thing doesn't make much sense...the guy would have had to get them somewhere near the Gulf of Mexico and drag them up to Bull Shoals just to use for bait?  They can travel for short distances overland, but not up the face of Bull Shoals dam or up the hillsides surrounding it, I don't think.  Since they would be adults before getting anywhere in the vicinity, it's doubtful that a bird could have transported it.  The story just doesn't make a lot of sense, and it would really be interesting to know how that eel got there.

I caught them on upper Big River when I was a kid.  Not often, but there were a couple of pools that we camped on in the stretch below Bonne Terre that had them.  We were fishing for catfish with dead minnows and caught several, all of them at least 2.5-3 feet long.  One of the "worst" tricks I ever played on one of my buddies was one night when he'd already gone to sleep, in his sleeping bag out in the open on the gravel bar.  I got a bite and reeled in a big eel.  It was dangling from my rod tip, and I carried it up and let its writhing tail brush across his face.  He woke up screaming, and I thought he was going to kill me.

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