The American eel is an extraordinary catadromous fish. The eel is born in salt water and then spends its adult life in freshwater until they migrate back to the Sargasso Sea of their birth. Connecticut freshwater rivers, streams, lakes, and estuaries are home to many American eel. They spend years feeding on zooplankton, frogs, insects, crustaceans, worms, and small fish in the Connecticut watershed and Long Island Sound, growing and maturing before they migrate back to the Sargasso Sea where they mate, spawn, and then die.
Eels are fin fish that look like snakes. They have two small fins behind their gills that help them swim and move over land. Eels can use their fins to move across, up, and though muddy, moist soil which enables them to “slither” around dams and obstructions. Incredibly, eels are known to move from ponds to rivers by the thousands using their bodies as bridges.
Furthermore, eels are able to absorb oxygen through their skin as well as their gills which allows them to “breathe” out of water for short periods of time.
For these reasons, eels are able to inhabit inland lakes, rivers, and streams as far west as Kansas, Nebraska, and Oklahoma.