Trainman327

Snakeheads

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In the upper bay there is fierce competition amongst native species. I'm not so sure the snakehead would have a detrimental impact. between the adult stripers, LM bass, SM bass, walleye, chain pickerel, musky and large catfish I think the snakehead will have to fight it's way into the food chain. The only advantage the snakehead has is it's nature to guard it's young. This will reduce the numbers eaten by predators. However, the schools of large stripers in the upper bay will not be intimidated when feeding. Sure a snakehead will frighten the solitary predators away, but schools of stripers eat whatever they want and once the young are no longer under the care of the adults they are fair game for everything that can eat them.

 

I don't want to see the current populations of native species reduced, but I'll admit that when the inevitable happens I will be plenty happy to fish for snakeheads.

I am sure an adult striper would have no problem eatting the adult snakehead guarding it young too. In the end, everything falls into the food chain and musky it pike, big blue cats eat small blue cats, and stripers will eat snakeheads.

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That's a pretty aggressive statement. I love the snakheads and in the 8-9 years I have been fishing them and the Potomac I can say that the scourge of the potomac and our fishery is humans and then blue catfish. Don't forget that the largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, flathead catfish, blue catfish, etc... are all invaisive/non-native species. The snakeheads main diet is killifish and their fry have provided LMB (and other fish and a LOT of bluecats) forage. The bluecats on the other hand... well at least there is a commercial fishery now and we're feeding our dirty river cats to unsuspecting people. 

 

I wish MD / VA would get their act together and regulate the snakehead fishery to be hook and line only with daily limits and no comercial sale. The guys going out at night in john boats are tearing up the grasses, leaving trash and beer cans all over, selling them without commercial licenses, and killing many other species either because they are cruel, drunk, drunk/cruel, or just blind. Take a paddle early in the morning on a June/July day and find the dead gar and carp that were shot the night before. It makes me sick. There is no way to irradicate these fish and it's time to get our heads around that and enjoy them for the sportfish that they are! You can bass fish anywhere and they fight like a clump of weeds, not that bass fishermen seem to care since they typically horse them into the boat anyway. Catching Potomac Pike in shallow water on topwater frogs? It's a blast and would be a great addition to our fishing/tourism economy in these states. 

 

People always freak out because they look strange but they look very similar to our native bowfin (mudfish) but with a cooler skin coloration... 

 

Anyway, that's my two cents on snakeheads and I am looking at buying a Gheenoe so I can fish blackwater and other remote areas more effectively for them. 

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My grandfather had a 2 acre farm pond that was so full of LM Bass and Blue Gills that the fish were stunted. We caught no bass over 6 inches for a few years. Then he put three chain pickerel and one northern pike in it and two years later the pond was starting to show signs of the fish getting bigger. About 5 years later we found one of the pickerel floating on the surface, it was 26" long. That pond just needed a few predators to consume some of the biomass. Today, 25 years later the guy that own it says he catches Bass in the 3 to 5 pound range every year.

 

I don't think the Snakehead will have a catastrophic effect on native species, but it will have some effect. We just won't know for a decade or more.

Edited by Trainman327

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That's a pretty aggressive statement. I love the snakheads and in the 8-9 years I have been fishing them and the Potomac I can say that the scourge of the potomac and our fishery is humans and then blue catfish. Don't forget that the largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, flathead catfish, blue catfish, etc... are all invaisive/non-native species. The snakeheads main diet is killifish and their fry have provided LMB (and other fish and a LOT of bluecats) forage. The bluecats on the other hand... well at least there is a commercial fishery now and we're feeding our dirty river cats to unsuspecting people.

 

I wish MD / VA would get their act together and regulate the snakehead fishery to be hook and line only with daily limits and no comercial sale. The guys going out at night in john boats are tearing up the grasses, leaving trash and beer cans all over, selling them without commercial licenses, and killing many other species either because they are cruel, drunk, drunk/cruel, or just blind. Take a paddle early in the morning on a June/July day and find the dead gar and carp that were shot the night before. It makes me sick. There is no way to irradicate these fish and it's time to get our heads around that and enjoy them for the sportfish that they are! You can bass fish anywhere and they fight like a clump of weeds, not that bass fishermen seem to care since they typically horse them into the boat anyway. Catching Potomac Pike in shallow water on topwater frogs? It's a blast and would be a great addition to our fishing/tourism economy in these states.

 

People always freak out because they look strange but they look very similar to our native bowfin (mudfish) but with a cooler skin coloration...

 

Anyway, that's my two cents on snakeheads and I am looking at buying a Gheenoe so I can fish blackwater and other remote areas more effectively for them.

 

I love the blue cat fishery myself, but the number of small bluecats is very high. I just hope that MD regulates the commercial and recreational bluecat fishery inorder to preserve the trophy cats.

 

I think a limit of no bluecats over 30in would ensure that the trophy fishery stays intact while culling out the large numbers of smaller blue cats. If the commercial fishery for stripers was curtailed and poaching of stripers eliminated, I am sure that larger numbers of big stripers, combined with larger blue cats and flatheads, would assist in decreasing the large numbers of smaller blue cats.

Edited by Pylodictis

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People always freak out because they look strange but they look very similar to our native bowfin (mudfish) but with a cooler skin coloration... 

 

Haven't caught a snakehead yet, but got into some bowfin when I was living in NC.  I'd always assumed "snakehead" was just a regional name for the same fish, like striper/rockfish.  Never knew it was a different species.   Learn something new every day.  

 

I've just started fishing the upper upper bay, albeit limited trips so far.  Only lmb and catfish so far, but I've just started learning the water.   

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Was in the fishing department of Walmart a few days ago and overheard a guy saying his buddy caught a weird looking fish off the pier in Charlestown. That's on the Northeast river. Said some other guy there called it a Snakehead. Seams like a legit story to me. This guy was clearly a novice and it sounded like he didn't know enough about fishing to make something like that up. I figure it's only a matter of time before I start catching them in Havre de Grace.

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Hea, while you are all discussing the pros and cons of Snakeheads, help a Snakehead noobie out... I live on the upper portion of the Nanticoke river, and according to DENREC's electro shocking studies, Snakeheads are indeed in the river. I do not hear of locals catching as of yet, even the glitter boat guys not saying much. What is a productive pattern for tidal river or creek fishing for them? We don't have SAV established very well in the upper Nanticoke, but lots of spatterdock, man made structure, and wooden laydowns etc typical of tidal water. Would top water in the spatterdock fields the best way to target them, or something else?

 

I hear they are delicious, and would love to help out population control by putting some on the grill.

 

JAL

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Posted (edited) · Report post

In the Potomac I catch them all the time while bass fishing. They hit top water, spinner baits, crank baits, rubber worms, jigs and just about anything else I'm using to catch bass. No need to target them, if they are there they will hit the same stuff used for bass. The only thing I will say is, you usually only get one shot at a hookup, they don't follow a lure and slap at it a few times like bass sometimes do. Snakeheads just ambush the bait and if they miss it they won't go for a second try. And they rarely hit it again if you cast back into the same place. You get one shot. But their aggression helps get the hook set, you just need to be patient and not lift the rod tip too fast.

 

They also don't seam to hang in groups. I have never caught more than one in a specific spot. Not sure if the hookup spooks others in the area or they are territorial  loners, but I have never brought more than one off any piece of structure. I have however caught a few bass off structure holding a Snakehead and the bass is usually bigger that the Snakehead, so if you pull in a 15" snakehead, keep fishing around that spot for a few more casts. If there is a bass there it should be at least about the same size as the Snakehead or bigger.

 

Also, watching wildlife shows has thought me another thing about Snakeheads that I've experienced first hand. They protect their young and the young keep in a tight ball near the parents. If you find a fry ball you can easily catch both adults by tossing the largest floating lure you have and slowly pull it through the fry. They will hit that over and over until they are hooked.

Edited by Trainman327

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Has anyone caught Snakeheads in the upper bay, Susquehanna River or the flats. I have heard a few reports of them being caught off Elk Neck State Park, the North East Creek and by Port Deposit, but I don't trust the sources. I have also seen the USGS reports map, but that's not entirely accurate because not all fish caught are recorded. I'm interested in any first hand accounts.

 

I have seen a picture of a dead snakehead that was scooped up after the fish kill in middle river 2 years ago. The fish kill was blamed on an oxygen depriving algae. If snakeheads can breath air from the surface then maybe they can survive such algae? I also saw a video of a fisherman that caught one on the Susquehanna flats this spring fishing for Bass. Bass are also introduced species like the snakehead. Pickerel are native but many Bass fishermen kill them because they think they eat their non native Bass.

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Posted (edited) · Report post

On 5/18/2017 at 1:04 PM, JAL said:

Hea, while you are all discussing the pros and cons of Snakeheads, help a Snakehead noobie out... I live on the upper portion of the Nanticoke river, and according to DENREC's electro shocking studies, Snakeheads are indeed in the river. I do not hear of locals catching as of yet, even the glitter boat guys not saying much. What is a productive pattern for tidal river or creek fishing for them? We don't have SAV established very well in the upper Nanticoke, but lots of spatterdock, man made structure, and wooden laydowns etc typical of tidal water. Would top water in the spatterdock fields the best way to target them, or something else?

 

I hear they are delicious, and would love to help out population control by putting some on the grill.

 

JAL

Not familiar with that river but I've had success fishing locations with heavy lily pad and grass cover on topwater frogs. Sight casting works best in my opinion... if you see them splashing or come up for air, cast in that vicinity. Also, from my experience they do hit a lure more than once... so if you miss a bite, cast back out. A hooked snakehead after it spits the hook, on the other hand, is a lost cause.

Edited by viper2788

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Be very careful about wishing snakeheads were to invade waters close to your home. They cause havoc on native species. And for that reason they are declared invasive and in MD must be killed and not returned into the water.

Capt Mike Starrett of Indian Head Charters guides anglers for snakeheads on tidal tributaries of the Potomac River. He's experienced, inexpensive, excellent guide, and very accommodating. And most importantly using a guide for an introductory experience is the best way to learn how to catch these peculiar fish on your own.

Edited by Capt Brady
incomplete information

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On 7/16/2017 at 8:45 AM, Capt Brady said:

Be very careful about wishing snakeheads were to invade waters close to your home. They cause havoc on native species. And for that reason they are declared invasive and in MD must be killed and not returned into the water.

Capt Mike Starrett of Indian Head Charters guides anglers for snakeheads on tidal tributaries of the Potomac River. He's experienced, inexpensive, excellent guide, and very accommodating. And most importantly using a guide for an introductory experience is the best way to learn how to catch these peculiar fish on your own.

Not true...

Personally I let em go... and let em grow

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