Fishing the Kinneret

Posted 8:03PM on Saturday 17th December 2016 ( 7 years ago )

As I write this blog it is one week until Christmas.  Our tree is up, the outdoor lights are lit and I’ve spent the last two hours wrapping gifts.

As a Christian my thoughts this time of year turn to the arrival of the Messiah and what He must have been like as a guy.

One thing I know is that He did seem to enjoy the company of fishermen – four of His closest followers: Peter, Andrew, James and John - did it for a living. 

Jesus grew up in Nazareth, about 18-miles from the Sea of Galilee and spent a large part of His ministry walking around (and upon!) the massive freshwater lake…as it is more aptly described.

And when He called His disciples He said to them: “Follow Me and I will make you fishers of men.” (Matthew 4:19)

I think Jesus knows fishermen very well.

Then, as my mind so often does, my thoughts began to wander, and I couldn’t help but imagine what it was like to fish where Jesus lived. 

“Fishing the Sea of Galilee” was quickly typed into my Google search bar and, boy, did I learn a lot. 

The Sea of Galilee today is known as Kinneret…not Lake Kinneret, not the Sea of Kinneret, but simply Kinneret.

It has 41,018-acres of surface water; Lake Lanier has 37,069-acres; not too different in size when you think about it. 

The biggest difference in how those acres are distributed is that the silhouette or outline of Kinneret is egg-shaped; Lanier has the profile of a gnarly-old tree branch.  Hence Kinneret (the Sea of Galilee, once again) has only 34-miles of shoreline whereas Lanier has 692-miles.

Another similarity between Kinneret and Lanier is that the deepest spot in Kinneret is 155’ deep; Lake Lanier (due to fifty years of siltation) has a maximum depth of 160’. 

Here is one noticeable difference between the lakes:  Lanier’s elevation when full is 1071-feet above mean sea level; Kinneret is 696-feet BELOW sea level.  That’s correct; Kinneret is the lowest freshwater lake in the world.

So what can you catch in that big Israeli lake?

Google again to the rescue: there are 18 species of indigenous fish in the Sea of Galilee, none of them of the micropterus (bass) genus.  So keep your finesse worms at home.

People who maintain a kosher diet enjoy three of the fish species:

Another common fish eaten by area residents, but not allowed under strict kosher dietary law because it does not have scales, is catfish.

One final item before I let you go: in 2010 all fishing was banned for two year on Kinneret because of depleted resources.  Once that ban was completed a new “No Fishing” season was instituted and fishing is prohibited during the spawning season: from mid-April through early August (Hebrew calendar).

Merry Christmas, good fishing and Shalom


Tilapia Galilea, commonly called Saint Peter’s fish

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