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Northern Snakeads turn Maryland fishery on it's ear.


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Despite the best efforts of the Maryland DNR - The Northern Snakehead is here to stay. As a fisherman, I had feared this. I had heard that they would destroy the ecosystem....that they walked on land and would crawl into my bed at night and possibly sire children with my wife! [kidding of course, but this is not too far off what people were insinuating]


The fish first appeared in U.S. news when an alert fisherman discovered one in a Crofton, Maryland, pond in the summer of 2000. The snakehead fish was considered to be a threat to the Chesapeake Bay watershed, and wary officials took action by draining the pond in an attempt to destroy the species. The action was successful, and two adult and over 100 small fish were found and destroyed. A man admitted having released two adults in the pond he had purchased from a New York market.

In 2004, nineteen northern snakeheads were captured in the Potomac River, and it is was later confirmed that they had become established (were breeding). They are somewhat limited to that stretch of the river and its local tributaries, upstream by the Great Falls, and downstream by the salinity of Chesapeake Bay. Tests found that they are not related to northern snakeheads found in other waters in the region, alleviating some concern of their overland migration. Northern snakehead continue to be caught in the river as of 2007.

The northern snakehead has been found in three counties of Florida, and may be established. Apparently non-established specimens have been found in Flushing Meadows-Corona Park, New York, two ponds outside Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, a pond in Massachusetts, and reservoirs in California and North Carolina. In 2008, the northern snakehead was found in drainage ditches in Arkansas, as a result of a commercial fish farming accident. It is feared that recent flooding allowed the species to spread into the nearby White River, which would allow an eventual population of the fish in the Arkansas and Mississippi Rivers.

The DNR is is suggesting that they be killed....all of them. They want pictures of dead snakeheads - the new Jessie James of the Potomac river. The dashing, sexy and dangerous scourge of the great outdoors.

Too late. The natural landscape of north America has been irrevocably changed - for better or worse, The Northern Snakehead has a permanent change of address.

I will say this....those darn critters sure fight hard and taste good! They beat the hell out of catching bass, another non-native species that was stocked in Maryland waters. We wanted the bass....we didn't have a choice where Snakeheads were concerned, though.

Here are some recent pictures of Snakeheads from Maryland waters, caught this year, that weigh up to 16 pounds.....





Welcome to the neighborhood!

They seem to like shallow coves and noisy topwater baits. If you find one, you will find a bunch.

They are all over the DC area

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They seem too nasty to eat. I would just throw them up the bank far enough they couldn't flop back in (I hope).

You have to kill them and they are supposed to be delicious to eat. I will be fishing for snake head this summer just because I've never caught one. Should be fun.

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While we are on the subject anyone know of a good spot to catch these? Also can they be landed from shore?

Fletcher's boat house DC.


Yes, they are easy to catch from shore. They hang off the bank just a few feet out. they love noisy, top water lures.

During the three week period of flooding at Fletcher's, snakehead fever infected some of the locals. Snakeheads in large numbers were spotted prowling in the shallow headwaters of every creek and outfall at and above Fletcher's Cove. On Friday, the 29th of April, at least a dozen snakeheads from four to nine pounds were pulled from the muddy water of The Cove.

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I think it's easier to fish for them from the water, but yeah you can catch them from the shore.

They are kind of a pain in the ass from a boat. You have to hit them in the head like a Zombie, or they wiggle like a snake to get away. THEY DO NOT GIVE UP WITHOUT A FIGHT!!!!

...AND YES they do bite!!

---------- Post added June-5th-2011 at 03:49 PM ----------

Offering a bounty on dead snake-head by the pound would be the way to fix this.

Of course, you'll then have some rednecks start stocking the lakes with snakeheads so they can make more money :doh:


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The government stance on this doesn't strike me as being at all effective. I think the snakeheads are here to stay. Some things simply can't be undone.

You can still inform people to kill them vs releasing them, they are very bad for maryland fisheries, especially the bass population. It's kind of like throwing carp in the woods or allowing varment hunting 365 days a year.

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