Snakehead Fishing Derby

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EDIT: Due to heavy rain in the forecast, this event is being postponed until another Saturday in June or July.


The Northern Snakehead is an invasive species that was introduced into local bodies of water in 2002. Since then, they have become reproduced in great numbers and spread far beyond the Crofton pond where they were first released. Snakeheads have recently be identified in the C&O Canal past Great Falls. They can be ferocious feeders and have the ability to damage other local species of fish.

To combat their growing numbers, a Snakehead Fishing Derby sponsored by the Maryland Department of Natural Resources will be held on May 21st at the Pennyfield Lock in Potomac, Maryland.

The “Stop the Snakehead” Fishing Derby will raise awareness and reduce the negative impact of snakeheads in our ecosystems. Snakeheads have spread beyond the Potomac River and throughout many tidal rivers in the Chesapeake Bay. In 2015 the species was found reproducing in the C&O Canal.

Purposes of Fishing Derby

  1. Raise awareness about snakeheads and other invasive species.
  2. Raise awareness about fish that live in the C&O canal and that could be negatively impacted by snakeheads.
  3. Remove any snakeheads that are caught, thus reducing potential impacts to C&O canal fish.

Fillable Registration Form – Phone in, print out and mail registration form, or email form.

Rules of Fishing Derby

Meet at Pennyfield Lock at on May 21st at 9:00 am.
Check-in at the staging area.

Between 9:00 am and 12:30 pm, anglers can fish anywhere between Pennyfield to Violettes Lock (toward the inside of the floating boundary markers). When a fish is caught, the angler should flag down one of the staff in fluorescent vests. The staff member will measure the fish, record its species, take your name, and send the information to the staging area. Anglers are encouraged to release the fish, but if an angler catches a snakehead, then the snakehead should not be released alive. Instead, the staff will take the snakehead to the staging area. Staff can also dispose of the snakehead properly, if desired. The angler is then welcome to take the fish home with them to eat. Otherwise, snakeheads will be taken by biologists to learn more about what snakeheads are eating in the C&O Canal.

For questions:
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services – 1-800-448-8322