Isaiah Rickman, Recreational Angler
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Posted on June 25, 2013 | Permalink
Snakehead Range Question
Location: Owens Pond, VA
Isaiah Rickman shot a Northern Snakehead in 3 – 6 ft deep water off a sand bar south of Owens Pond in Virginia. We were fishing over the sandbars that, at the time, were anywhere from 3'-6' deep at shot the snakehead off of the top of one of the bars- about 4' deep. The fish was healthy and fought good, thrashed around on the boat a bit before we dispatched him, even though from what I read online everything says that they are intolerant to salt water.
DNR Response: Thanks Isaiah for your report! Adults and juveniles are capable of tolerating some salt water. The US FWS Maryland Fishery Resources Office has some information on that (http://www.fws.gov/northeast/marylandfisheries/projects/Northern%20Snakehead.html). The salinity was ranging between 11 – 14 ppt where you were. That fish may have been on its way to the Rappahannock. It’s not expected that snakehead will establish itself as a population in areas you were fishing. But, it’s generally believed that they are capable of leaving the mouth of the Potomac River and navigating the shoreline to the nearby Patuxent or Rappahannock rivers. Thanks for killing the fish and letting us know. To my knowledge, this is the first visually confirmed report of a snakehead being taken from a sandbar along the shoreline of the Chesapeake Bay.