In 2002, invasive snakeheads were found in a Pond near Crofton, Maryland. Soon after, additional snakeheads were found in Maryland and the species established itself in the Potomac River.
Snakehead Fish Identification
The northern snakehead fish is recognizable by its long, slender body and a snake-like head. Its dorsal and anal fins are long and its tail is rounded. Adults are brownish with lighter markings along the head and flank.
How to Catch Snakehead Fish
Due to their aggressive nature, snakeheads are relatively simple to catch. They are easy to catch using traditional bass lures and can also be caught with live or cut bait.
Potomac River Snakeheads
Northern snakeheads occur in the Potomac River from Great Falls down to the Chesapeake Bay. They have been reported in Potomac tributaries including Little Hunting Creek, Dogue Creek, Pohick Creek, Occoquan River, Neabsco Creek, Quantico Creek, and Aquia Creek.
Other Maryland Snakehead Populations
Northern snakeheads have been found in a number of rivers throughout Maryland. Most recently, they have been found in the Nanticoke and Wicomico Rivers.
Invasive Species Status
According to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, northern snakeheads present multiple threats and could alter the balance of U.S. ecosystems. They are air-breathers and are capable of overland migration. Adult snakeheads are very aggressive in their efforts to protect their young.
Maryland, Virginia, and the Potomac River Fisheries Commission have regulations in effect regarding the possession or release of live northern snakeheads. Additionally, Federal law prohibits the transport of live snakeheads into the U.S. or across State lines.