Huge eel found in Austin's Lady Bird Lake

Texas Parks & Wildlife posted a picture of a 38-inch American Eel on their Facebook page this week. They found Lady Bird Lake.

"Austin is Austin and we love it so it's always fun to come to Lady Bird and do a survey because you never know what you're going to find," said Marcos De Jesus.

De Jesus is an Inland Fisheries Supervisor for Texas Parks & Wildlife

He says they encountered the big guy when they were doing a fish survey last week.
"It started wiggling and I said 'Oh look an Eel, pretty neat,'" De Jesus said.
They conducted their fish survey using a process called Electro-Fishing.
"We have a team of biologists on the boat and what happens is that boat is set up to throw an electrical shock in the water to stun the fish and we go in and net them up out of the water when they're stunned," he said.
Speaking of electricity -- this Eel won't shock you.  It's an American Eel...native to Texas
But they breed in the Atlantic Ocean.   
"When they breed out there, the adults die and the young start traveling back toward fresh water and eventually run up rivers to actually grow and become adults before they run back out to sea again," De Jesus said.
De Jesus says because of dams that have been built, like the Longhorn Dam, Eels getting back upstream is a little difficult.
"In the case of Lady Bird Lake, it's hard to tell if the fish we have here are actually remnants of before the lake was impounded and they've been living here that long or maybe that they are finding a way to get through the dam," he said.
So either this guy is a very gifted swimmer or he's been hanging around Lady Bird Lake since the Gerald Ford Administration -- yeah...Eels can live up to 40 years
"It's very slimy and the way it moves is kind of icky to a lot of people but they're really neat critters," De Jesus said.  "Really hard fish to handle because of its slime and the way that it moves, it's a really strong fish.  But we got it and it's a sensation," he said.
De Jesus says male Eels can grow up to 3 feet...females up to 5.
And the one they caught is not the biggest that's been found.  The state record was caught in Lady Bird Lake back in 2001: 42 inches long.
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