Chasing Snakehead in MarylandPosted on: February 28, 2019 By: FHMD
There’s a little-known fish gaining attention in Maryland’s waterways these days: the northern snakehead. Why is it becoming so popular? It puts up a great fight, tastes delicious, and is an ideal species for bowfishing. Another plus – at least for anglers’ sake – is that the snakehead is an invasive species, so they can be harvested year-round and have no creel limit.
These little-known fish come from Asia and have quickly spread throughout Maryland’s waterways. The Maryland Department of Natural Resources has a great in-depth online resource this species. Since its introduction, the northern snakehead has gained a reputation for having an aggressive nature and tasty white meat. However, its appetite has created a big environmental problem throughout Maryland and the United States since the fish has been documented to feast on a variety of fish and animal species. For this reason and potential ecological impact on our native fauna, there is an open season on snakeheads. They are encouraged to be caught and removed from Maryland’s waterways. As a fun, delicious fish to go after – and a population that needs to be controlled – snakeheads are a great fish to chase in Maryland. Just a word of warning – make sure you handle snakeheads carefully. They do have very sharp teeth so have your fish pliers, grips or hook remover on hand.
Where to Go
These fish are flourishing throughout Maryland’s rivers, so finding them won’t pose a problem for you if you stick to the rivers. Rudow’s FishTalk recently published an in-depth article titled Destination Snakehead: Fishing for Snakeheads in Maryland around the top places to harvest these feisty fish. They’ve also included local resources suggestions for places to stay, eat, drop your boat and more.
The influx of interest in snakehead has led to a boom in charters and guides bringing clients out to bowfish. There is a growing number of guides taking sportsmen and women on the rivers at night in search of snakehead. Ride the bow scanning the illuminated water below, draw back and bag your fish. It’s a fun way to fish and a great way for hunters to get a little bow practice while white-tailed deer season is closed.
Be sure to check out our Kayak Fishing/Bowfishing Experience page for a bowfishing video to get a better sense of what is involved in this awesome fishing experience.
Before planning a snakehead trip to Maryland, be sure to visit Maryland Department of Natural Resources online for information on licenses and regulations. Be sure to visit the Plan Your Trip section of our website for lodging options, guides, outfitters, and more.
The 2019 Maryland Guide to Fishing and Crabbing does go into good detail on snakehead fishing. According to the guide:
- It is against Maryland, Virginia, and federal laws to possess, import, or transport live northern snakehead.
- If you catch a snakehead and want to keep it, you must immediately kill the fish by removing its head, gutting it or removing its gill arches. Anglers are encouraged to catch and keep northern snakeheads year round. There is no minimum size or creel limit for snakeheads.
- The Department of Natural Resources asks anglers to report snakeheads caught outside of the Potomac River and its tributaries or upstream of Great Falls. Send catch information to firstname.lastname@example.org or call 410-260-8300 to help the department track the range of the species.