Animals -> Fish -> Saltwater Fish -> Wolf-eel


The Indigenous Peoples of Puget Sound, Salish of the Middle Columbia River, Nootka (Nuu-chah-nulth) of Vancouver Island, Kootenai and Tlingit, are reported to have eaten wolf-eel, catching the fish with straight-shanked angled hooks and/or gorges [1-5]. Indigenous Peoples of Puget Sound caught wolf-eel with a hook attached to a line. The hook was a bone splinter sharpened at both ends and was attached at the middle to the line. The device was baited, placed in the water and when the eel swallowed the bait, the fisherman tugged on the line, causing the splinter to lodge crosswise in the eel’s throat [3]. Middle Columbia River Salish used willow dip nets [5].


1.         Arima E, Dewhirst J: Nootkans of Vancouver Island. In: Handbook of North American Indians, Volume 7: Northwest Coast. edn. Edited by Suttles W. Washington, DC: Smithsonian Institution; 1990: 391-397.

2.         Ravenhill A: Chief Sources of Food Supply. In: The native tribes of British Columbia. edn. Victoria: King's Printer; 1938: 71-77.

3.         Waterman TT: Hunting Implements, Nets and Traps. In: Inidan Notes and Monographs No 59 Notes on the Ethonology of the Indians of Puget Sound. edn. New York. Museum of the American Indian, Heye Foundation.: J.J. Augustin, Gluckstadt, Germany.; 1973.

4.         Emmons GT: Food and Its preparation. In: The Tlingit Indians. edn. Edited by de Laguna F. New York: American Museum of Natural History; 1991: 140-153.

5.         Miller J: Middle Columbia River Salishans. In: Handbook of North American Indians, Volume 12: Plateau. edn. Edited by Walker DE, Jr. Washington, DC: Smithsonian Institution; 1998: 253-270.

The wolf-eel (Anarrhichthys ocellatus) is a saltwater fish occurring along the North American Pacific coast, from Alaska to southern California. They have a long snake-like body shape tapering towards the tail, a single dorsal fin running almost the entire body length, and a large robust head with strong teeth. They can grow quite big, close to 2.5 m long and weigh over 18 kg. They are most often found in shallow subtidal waters sheltered among rocks and feed mainly on mollusks, crustaceans, and small fish.


"Anarrhichthys ocellatus Ayres, 1855." []


Images provided below were obtained from: Encyclopedia of Life. Available from
Supplier: Fishes of the neotropics
Publisher: Robertson, D Ross
This map is based on occurrence records available through the GBIF network