Longfin Eel

Anguilla reinhardtii
Longfin Eel - Marinewise © 2023 MarineWise

Quick Facts

Scientific name Anguilla reinhardtii
Other names Australian Longfinned Eel, Conger Eel, Freshwater Eel, Marbled Eel, River Eel, Speckled Longfin Eel, Spotted Eel
Size Up to 3 m (9.84 ft)
Weight Up to 22 kg (48.5 lb)


Habitat & AU Distribution Fresh & brackish waters amongst rivers, creeks, lakes, swamps & deep reservoirs - Oceanic waters for spawning
Depth Range 0 - 10 m (32 ft)
Longfin Eel Distribution

Interesting Info

  • The Longfin Eel is a freshwater eel species native to Australia. It is found in a variety of freshwater habitats, including rivers, creeks, swamps, and lakes, throughout most of eastern Australia and parts of southern Australia.
  • Longfin Eels have a dark brown or greenish-black coloration on their back and sides, with a pale yellow or white underbelly, and are characterised by their long, slender bodies and small, round heads.
  • The Longfin Eels’ migration to the ocean for spawning is triggered by changes in water temperature, flow rate, and other environmental cues. Once in the ocean, the males and females mate, and the females release millions of tiny eggs into the water. The eggs then hatch into larvae, which spend several months drifting in ocean currents before reaching the coastal areas.
  • The migration of Longfin Eels is one of the longest recorded migrations of any freshwater fish species in the world, with individuals travelling up to 5,000 kilometres to reach their spawning grounds.
  • It is a nocturnal species, often feeding at night on a variety of prey, including insects, crustaceans, and fish.
  • Longfin Eels have been observed exhibiting cooperative hunting behaviour, where multiple individuals work together to capture prey.
  • They are a long-lived species, known to live up to 60 years.
Species Interaction

Commercial & Recreational Fishing

Longfin Eels are commercially fished in Australia, particularly in the southern states where they are abundant. They are primarily harvested for their meat, which is considered a delicacy in many regions. They are also a prized fish by some anglers for their challenging nature and are considered a gamefish in some areas.

Scientific Classification

Kingdom: Animalia

Phylum: Chordata

Class: Actinopterygii

Order: Anguilliformes

Family: Anguillidae

Genus: Anguilla

Species: Anguilla reinhardtii

Conservation Status

The Longfin Eel is listed as a protected species under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (EPBC Act). The species is also listed as Vulnerable under the Commonwealth’s Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (EPBC Act) and under the New South Wales Fisheries Management Act 1994.

Fish Taste Quality

Longfin eels are considered a delicacy in some regions and are consumed by humans in many parts of the world. Their flesh is white, firm, and oily, with a rich and distinctive flavour.

Taste Rating: 4/5

How to catch
Longfin Eel

Catch Difficulty: Intermediate

Tackle: Patternoster Rig, Running Sinker Rig

Bait: Fresh cut flesh baits, Pilchards, Prawns, Squid, Worms, Yabbies, Live minnow

Technique: Keep bait on the bottom, Keep bait close to structure

Popularity: Highly Targeted

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