The specific and non-specific immune parameters and protection of European eels (Anguilla anguilla) were evaluated after bathing eels with Aeromonas hydrophila. Two hundred eels were distributed into two equal groups and bathed with Phosphate-buffered saline (Control group) or 1.0 × 107 cfu mL−1 A. hydrophila (Test group) for 1 h respectively. Then, eels were bled aseptically from the caudal sinus on 1, 4, 7, 14 and 28 days post treatment. The blood cells were used to evaluate the cellular immunity and the serum was used to determine the titres of specific antibody as well as the activities of superoxide dismutase (SOD) and lysozyme. Eels from both groups were challenged by intraperitoneal injection of 1.0 × 107 cfu of A. hydrophila on 28 and 42 days post bathing. The results show that eels bathed in A. hydrophila significantly (P < 0.05) enhanced the proliferation of different types of blood cells and the serum titres of anti-A. hydrophila antibody. The Relative Percent Survival (RPS) after challenge on 28 and 42 days post bathing in Test group vs. Control group was 40% and 50% respectively. These results suggest that bathing European eels in A. hydrophila would positively affect specific as well as non-specific immune parameters and protect against A. hydrophila infection in freshwater farming.