Cold River Cash

TV review by
Melissa Camacho, Common Sense Media
Cold River Cash TV Poster Image
Eel fishing reality show stars rough characters.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.

Positive Messages

Hard work and sacrifice are on display. Occasionally fishermen make sexist statements.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Elder fisherman try to teach newbies old tricks of the trade, but they usually don't listen. The guys are rough around the edges -- cursing, drinking, and sometimes making insensitive comments.


Guns visible; eel fishermen discuss concerns about being robbed at gunpoint. Arguments break out between eelers. 


Some crude references to male genitals.


Lots of salty language, like "s--t" and "f--k" (bleeped). Rude gestures are blurred. 


Toyotas, GMCs, and other car makes visible. 

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Cigarette smoking and (beer, hard liquor) drinking visible. 

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that the reality series Cold River Cash includes lots of bleeped salty language ("s--t", "f--k"), some rude gestures (blurred), and some crude references and sexist comments. Arguments occasionally break out among the cast, and occasionally drinking and cigarette smoking is visible. Guns are sometimes visible, and fishermen discuss robberies.

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What's the story?

The reality series COLD RIVER CASH features three teams of Maine eel fisherman working the rivers during the state's 10-week eeling season. With American glass eels selling at a premium in Asia, licensed eelers spend up to 22 hours a day catching buckets of the tiny transparent creatures, known as elvers, and selling them to buyers for thousands of dollars. While team Eelinators, led by fisherman Dana Hole, hopes for big hauls thanks to being licensed to use large funnel-shaped fyke nets, teams like the Maineiacs and the Grinders, headed up by Lee Leavitt and Chad Jordan respectively, can only fish using hand-dipped nets. It's hard work, competitive, and occasionally dangerous, but they do everything they can to make the most of the season.

Is it any good?

Cold River Cash offers a voyeuristic look into the unique elver fishing industry, which began in the 1970s, and was revitalized in the early 1990s. It also offers some information about the eels, which which spawn in the ocean and move to freshwater to grow to adult size. Industry regulations and licensing limits are also discussed. 

Most of the show's focus is on the various ups and downs each team faces during the season, but the fishermen are saltier than the water, and a few are colorful enough to generate some lighthearted moments. If you're interested in this kind of reality entertainment, there's some interesting things about Maine's commercial fishing culture that can be learned here.  

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the appeal of fishing-themed reality shows. Is it the culture that surrounds it? Is it the dangers associated with the job? Or is it the fisherman (and women) themselves who make these shows interesting? 

  • Why do you think these folks agreed to be on a reality show? What do they stand to gain or lose by being on TV?

TV details

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For kids who love reality shows

Themes & Topics

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