The Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR) confirmed last week that the state snakehead record has been officially broken. On October 16, bowfisherman Michael Meade of Upper Marlboro managed to arrow a 17.49-pound snakehead from the marshes of Mattawoman Creek.
“It was about 10:30 at night when I brought it onboard, and it was the biggest snakehead I had ever seen,” Meade said. “When I got home, I stepped on a bathroom scale with the fish, and it was over 17 pounds. So, I put it in a bucket of ice water and went looking for a certified scale.”
Meade eventually brought the fish to a local grocery store in Marbury, where it was certified by DNR biologist Mary Groves as the new state record. Snakeheads are not generally recognized in record books due to their status as an invasive species, but Maryland is one of the exceptions. The species was first discovered in the state in 2002 and have since established itself in over 60 miles of the Potomac River. More recently anglers have discovered the species in the Upper Potomac River as well, and biologists believe that the fish have established yet another breeding population.
“Eradication is not possible once these fish become established in an open river system such as the Potomac,” said DNR inland fisheries biologist John Mullican. “We expect that these fish will eventually become a permanent part of the Upper Potomac fish community. Confronting snakeheads in the canal system is the best way to mitigate their emigration into the Upper Potomac.”
Snakeheads are highly aggressive predators and can have a negative impact on a number of native species. To help combat their spread, wildlife officials are urging anglers to keep any snakeheads they catch and to report their movement upstream of Great Falls.
You can watch a video from the DNR regarding snakeheads below:
Image courtesy Maryland Department of Natural Resources