Northern Snakehead Fish

The northern snakehead is an invasive species of fish that has become established in the Chesapeake Bay Watershed. Snakeheads were first discovered in a Maryland pond in 2002.

In 2004, the species was found in the Potomac River. Northern snakeheads quickly established populations in the Potomac watershed from Great Falls to the river mouth, including many of the river’s tributaries.

Northern snakeheads have also been found in the Rhode and Nanticoke Rivers in Maryland.

The northern snakehead can be identified by noting their slender body shape, rounded tail, snake shaped head, brown coloration, markings, and other features.

Snakeheads are frequently caught by fishermen. They readily take baits artificial lures. Maryland, Virginia, and the Potomac River Fisheries Commission all prohibit the possession of live northern snakeheads. Federal law prohibits the transport of live snakeheads into the U.S. or across State lines.