ALL ABOUT EELGRASS
Fishing eelgrass on the Tennessee chain isn’t quite the same as fishing it elsewhere in its range, and the system’s current, channels and other governing factors require some study of how the grass grows. Common eelgrass (Vallisneria
americana) is known by a variety of names, including tape grass and wild celery or water celery. Often used as an aquarium plant and eaten by waterfowl and some shorebirds, eelgrass in various forms is found throughout the world. It’s hardy enough to withstand low water temperatures in Canada as well as equatorial heat and high salinity.
Eelgrass can grow to about 5 to 6 feet long and has long leaves that usually are about an inch wide or less. With no branches like hydrilla, coontail or Eurasian milfoil, the eelgrass might grow in large areas, and will mat up in shallow water, but not to the same density as hydrilla.
Eelgrass might grow in smaller clumps or wide swaths thanks to its rhizome root system (a rhizome is actually a horizontal stem that grows out and produces new plant shoots and roots, allowing the plant to spread). Like most aquatic vegetation, it will capitalize on the best available bottom surface – it prefers a hard bottom – for growing and proliferation.
Unlike milfoil or hydrilla, which have nodes on their stems that allow the plant to re-establish and grow elsewhere when pieces are broken off, eelgrass leaves that break away can’t produce a new plant.