Friday, April 12, 2013

Maryland Snakehead Fishing

The northern snakehead is a species of invasive fish that has begun appearing in several Maryland rivers. Originating from Eastern Asia. the northern snakehead quickly adapted to Maryland waterways following its controversial introduction.

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.

Snakehead Regulations

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.

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