[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: In this study, we subjected eels from Lake Balaton (Hungary) to a swimming period of 1 week and 2 or 6 weeks. Most eels were silver and were 13–21 years old. Time dependent changes in morphometrical parameters and developmental characteristics of the oocytes were determined. Already after 1 week of swimming, the gonadal mass increased and oocytes became larger, filled with large numbers of lipid droplets. After 2 and 6 weeks of swimming we found in addition a significant enlargement of the eyes, which is a sign of sexual maturation. In contrast to the resting eels, that had oocytes in the primary growth phase (stage 1–2); the swimming eels had oocytes in stage 3; the cortical alveolus or lipid droplet stage. The results indicate that lipid mobilisation induced by swimming is a requirement for the natural incorporation of lipid droplets in the oocytes, a crucial step in oocyte maturation. As the Balaton eels responded stronger to swimming than young farmed eels, it is suggested that older eels are more sensitive for maturation triggers.