PRATT — A Kansas angler got quite the surprise recently when he reeled to the surface not a just an ordinary fish, but a 30-inch-long eel from the Kansas River, below the Bowersock Dam near Lawrence. After closer inspection, it was determined the catch was an American eel, a species that hasn’t been seen in Kansas for nearly 10 years.
“This species spawns in the Sargaso Sea of the Atlantic Ocean,” said Doug Nygren, Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism Fisheries section chief. “So, this eel made a long journey from the Atlantic Ocean, through the Gulf of Mexico, up the Mississippi, took a turn at St. Louis to enter the Missouri River, and another turn to go up the Kansas River to the Bowersock Dam.”
Less active during the day, eels will often remain under logs or other cover until night approaches. They feed primarily on invertebrates and soft-bodied fish.