The snakehead fish was first seen in May 2002 when an angler at Crofton Pond caught an unusual looking 18-inch fish and then released it. A month later, another angler caught a 26-inch fish similar to the first one. It was then identified as the northern snakehead fish.
Now, anglers can earn some extra money for catching the unwanted snakehead fish in the Chesapeake Bay’s watershed.
The Maryland Department of Natural Resources’ (DNR) second annual snakehead contest offers prizes and possibly cash for anyone who removes at least one of the “invasive, non-native” snakeheads from the bay and its waterways.
“We do not want snakeheads in our waters,” said DNR Inland Fisheries Director Don Cosden. “This initiative is a way to remind anglers that it is important to catch and remove this invasive species of fish.”
According to the DNR, someone illegally placed the fish in the Potomac River and it has wreaked havoc on wildlife ranging from Great Galls down to the Rhode and Nanticoke Rivers. The snakehead is a top predator in the waterways and negatively impacts the ecosystem and other valuable fish populations, according to a DNR release.
“These fish clobber any type of moving bait you throw,” said Rodney Hose of Lexington Park in the release. Hose won last year’s snakehead fish contest and earned a Bass Pro Shops gift card.
Anglers hoping to compete in the contest should submit catch details and a photo of their dead snakehead online to the DNR angler’s log. The contest lasts until Nov. 30 and three lucky winners will receive a $200 gift card from Bass Pro Shops, a Maryland State Passport that provides unlimited day-use entry up to 10 passengers in a vehicle, unlimited boat launching at state park facilities and a 10 percent discount on state-operated concessions and boat rentals.
For more information on identifying and killing snakeheads, check out a short video by the DNR.