The Maryland Department of Natural Resources is hosting the second Annual “Stop the Snakehead Fishing Derby” June 3 at the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal National Historic Park’s Pennyfield Lock in Potomac.
Since the 2002 discovery of snakeheads in Maryland, efforts have been made eradicate the invasive fish before it can alter the balance of our state’s aquatic ecosystem. The fish have spread beyond the Potomac River and are now prevalent in many tidal rivers in the Chesapeake Bay. In 2015, the species was found reproducing in the C&O Canal.
“Snakeheads are a top predator that have rapidly expanded their range in the watershed over the past 10 years. They have become very abundant in some Maryland streams and rivers,” Maryland Natural Resources Department, Resources Planner Joseph Love said. “While we are still studying their adverse impact, we are encouraging anglers to fish and harvest them to minimize their impact on our environment.”
This year’s derby is being hosted by the Maryland Department of Natural Resources in collaboration with the National Park Service, as well as the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Bass Pro Shops and the office of Maryland State Senator Susan C. Lee of Montgomery County.
The current Maryland State record for catching a Snakehead is 18.42 pounds, caught by Emory (Dutch) Baldwin III from Indian Head along the Maryland side of the Potomac River near Marshall Hall, Md. on May 20, 2015.
“Last year, the Snakehead Derby was fabulous – I was amazed how many people of all ages were excited to learn about invasive species, and have the opportunity to fish and handle snakeheads,” State Senator Susan Lee said. “It is a memorable and educational family experience along the beautiful C&O Canal.”
This year’s Stop the Snakehead Fishing Derby falls on one of Maryland’s license-free fishing days.