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  #1  
Old 04-15-2012, 12:14 PM
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aquaflu aquaflu is offline
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Default American eel trapping

Hello I'm seeking tips for eel trapping.

I'm in Dutchess County, NY and went to a few local baitshops to buy live eels to use for striper fishing but the baitshops said new regulations don't allow them to carry them. I've caught them on hooks before, but those are usually too big to keep for bait. NY regulations say they have to be between 6" and 14" for use as bait in the Hudson. So I figure the quickest way to get a dozen live eels is to trap them.

I've looked through this forum and gathered good tips but still can't seem to get any. I'm using a minnow trap with two 1" openings which seem to allow in the perfect size eel I am looking for, baited with chicken livers, set at 6pm and retrieved next morning about 8am. I've tried placing the trap in different spots around a little inlet that runs under the railroad tracks and forms a tidal cove. Since I dont have a boat, I'm manually throwing the trap as far as i can, about 20 feet from shore. My first night I caught a 12 inch eel. That was a few weeks ago and I stupidly set him free because i thought it was too early for striper season and it seemed pretty easy to get eels. I'm not sure if that eel ran and told his friends or it was beginner's luck, but since then I haven't caught a single one.

Can anyone give me some advice? I read that cracked clams are the best bait, but I'm in Dutchess county where the Hudson is freshwater, do cracked clams still work? The trap is in about 10 feet deep of water at high tide, is that too shallow? Is my minnow trap not good enough? I saw other posts where people posted pictures of their eel traps, but those posts are so old that the pictures don't load anymore. At times I've tried fresh chicken livers and last night tried rotten livers that sat in the sun for 5 days. Which do eels like better, fresh or rotten? Sometimes the tide is so strong that it pushes the liver thru the trap metal mesh like cheese thru a cheese grater, leaving an empty trap so now I put the livers in pantyhose. Does that hinder the scent? I put like 1 or 2 good-sized livers in a standard sized gee's minnow trap, is that not enough?

Thanks in advance.
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  #2  
Old 04-15-2012, 06:52 PM
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Default Re: American eel trapping

Use a can of cat food. Put holes in the can with a nail. One per pot. Use the pots with the middle part that makes the trap bigger. Also; put a drum stick of chicken in there so they have something to eat. Two if you soak them over night. Do it after dark and harvest in the morning depending on the time and tides.
Go for brackish waters for the males and up river till its fresh water or a fresh water pond. Fresh water holds them too as long as it leads to the ocean.
Try the dollar store for the cat food and buy the cheapest chicken as eels won't care what you paid for the bait.

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Last edited by JakeF; 04-16-2012 at 07:31 AM. Reason: Do not post links to other forums.
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Old 04-15-2012, 06:53 PM
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Default Re: American eel trapping

I have the same user name as here
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Old 04-22-2012, 09:14 AM
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Default Re: American eel trapping

thanks. I used some cheap 50 cent catfood and herring. i've been catching a bunch of baby herring, 4" long. so i used 5 of those instead of chicken. i set the trap at night and by morning i had 1 eel in a minnow trap without the extension. in that short time he ate all the herring minnows except 2 of their heads. chicken legs like you said are probably better because that'd probably give them something to chew on for longer. on the 10 minute car ride home the eel got car sick and threw up all the minnows. eels are real messy, now i got a stinky-slimy-herring-vomiting-eel. i might just stick with striper fishing with herring lol. unfortunately where i am fishing, people are only catching the 4" baby herring on sabiki rigs. dont know where the big herring are.
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Old 04-25-2012, 03:12 PM
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Default Re: American eel trapping

Most baitfish.. including eels will purge once captured... I keep one eel keeper just for purging.. after 24 hours.. the puurged eels go into the main keeper..

Frozen herring works well until the calico crabs show up.. then, clams or horseshoe crabs make a better bait, they also do not go rancid as quckly in warm water as fish bait does..
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Old 04-25-2012, 11:07 PM
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Default Re: American eel trapping

Use a can of cat food (in the can) stab it with a nail so the scent gets out. Toss a chicken drum stick in with it so they have something to eat and keeps them there for a while.
Toss the trap in at night. Also go for brackish waters. That's where fresh water blends with salt water. Males are usually in there. Follow the river to its fresh water source. Toss one in there as well cause that's where eels go.
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Old 04-25-2012, 11:13 PM
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Default Re: American eel trapping

Misread the thread. Sry for the repost...
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Old 04-25-2012, 11:25 PM
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Default Re: American eel trapping

Chicken takes longer for them to eat when its raw. Thats why I said to use it. If you can get your hands on horseshoe crabs use them; they work very well. Just check your state regulations on that.
We on the North shore have a breeding ground for the H.crabs so they are easy to harvest.
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Old 04-26-2012, 10:01 PM
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Default Re: American eel trapping

Quote:
Originally Posted by Roccus View Post
Most baitfish.. including eels will purge once captured..
ok good, i thought it was my driving skills that made it car sick

ok thanks SnowRider. i think i'm too far north to be near brackish water. i'm in dutchess county. but i dont really know how to tell if it's brackish without stickin my tongue in the water. so i'll probably just use chicken legs and catfood.

i'm going to set my trap again tomorrow night. i'll keep u all posted how i do.
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Old 04-27-2012, 09:26 AM
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Default Re: American eel trapping

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Originally Posted by aquaflu View Post
ok good, i thought it was my driving skills that made it car sick

ok thanks SnowRider. i think i'm too far north to be near brackish water. i'm in dutchess county. but i dont really know how to tell if it's brackish without stickin my tongue in the water. so i'll probably just use chicken legs and catfood.

i'm going to set my trap again tomorrow night. i'll keep u all posted how i do.
you'll do better with chicken livers...... another good fresh ater bait is to load a bunch of night crawlers into a nylon sock ( the size of a base ball)... tie off the end... the eels go nuts trying to get the bait, only to have their tiny teeth snag into the sock..
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Old 04-27-2012, 11:44 AM
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Default Re: American eel trapping

Im gonna try that nightcrawler trick. I always am trying new things and that seems like a good one using the stalking
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Old 04-27-2012, 12:00 PM
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Default Re: American eel trapping

Quote:
Originally Posted by SnowRider View Post
Im gonna try that nightcrawler trick. I always am trying new things and that seems like a good one using the stalking
If you have a spot that you get them chummed in, you can tie the sock to a rope ( weighted) and drop it in... after a period of time ( depending on how thick they are0 you can pull the rope in.. they will have their teeth stuck in the stocking, shake them off over a fish box... it can net you alot of eels in a hurry.

another very good eel bait is hot dogs..they love e'm.
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Old 04-27-2012, 12:06 PM
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Default Re: American eel trapping

I'll give it a shot tonight or this weekend and see if they are up here yet. I got my commercial license with the eel endorsment. Probably will sell them to Pete @ Fin & Feather in Essex or Al's bait and tackle in Beverly. Well see who pays the most for them.
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Old 04-27-2012, 12:08 PM
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Default Re: American eel trapping

I would have got the Horseshoe crab on my license if the DMF was still issuing them.
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Old 04-27-2012, 12:38 PM
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Default Re: American eel trapping

Most towns have by - laws pertaining to eel trapping, which is controlled by the shellfish/worm warden.... usualy you need to get an endorsement/permit from each town as well as a state license..nothing is for free anymore.. everyone has a hand in the till..
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