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Record Early Arrival of Migrating Glass Eels in Yonkers

For the last 8 weeks, CURB’s team has been busy checking a fyke net for migrating glass eels. This is our 10th year of participation in the NYSDEC’s American Eel Migration Project, which tracks eels on their journey from the Sargasso Sea to the Hudson River.

daily eel catches

The migration season in Yonkers typically runs from the last week of February through most of May, though this season got off to a surprisingly early start. The tiny eels arrived about 2 weeks earlier than usual thanks to the mild winter. We caught our first eels on February 14th, which is well before our previous record of the 25th. In all, we caught 784 eels for the month. The most eels that we had ever caught in February was 242 in 2020.

Eel counts tailed off a bit from the end of February through mid-March, which also coincided with some colder weather. During the three-week stretch from February 27th – March 19th, we caught just 238 eels. Counts would increase once again with 1,017 eels from 3/20 – 3/26.

running seasonal totals

On the season (as of 4/7), we have counted 2,094 glass eels. This ranks as our 3rd highest seasonal total. This follows the trend of higher counts during our most recent seasons. For our first 5 years of sampling (2014 – 2018), we averaged 763 eels per season. However, during the last 5 years (2019 – 2023) we are averaging 2,343 eels per season.

historical weekly catches

We typically continue sampling through much of May, though the early arrival of eels this year could mean a quicker finish to our season. In fact, we have seen much lower numbers to start April so perhaps the bulk of the migration has already moved to our north. We will continue to sample as long as we keep catching eels, and the live data may be tracked on our website.