Nanticoke River is a beautiful tributary of the Chesapeake Bay on the Delmarva peninsula located on the east coast of USA. The river flows through Kent and Sussex counties and acts as a Dorchester-Wicomico boundary in Maryland. If you want to learn how to navigate a fishing lake without electronics or using wooden lures, take a look here.
The sudden occurrence of the Northern snakehead in the USA, especially in the Nanticoke River has cause a lot of issues to the native river spieces. This is due to the fact that the fish is of a predatory character and endangers the native river population and local wildlife.
They are easily identified by their long dorsal fin, a rounded tail and a larger mouth, filled with sharp teeth that extends past the eye. An adult snakehead is green or brown in color and has irregularly shaped blotches around their sides.
In the US, the Northern snakeheads are considered to be an exotic fish as its natural habitat is in Asia, more specifically in Russia and China. They have the ability to survive in an environment with lower oxygen and thrive in waters that are unsuitable for fish that are more commonly found in the American waters such as the bass.
Thanks to their delicious taste, snakeheads have been brought to the country for consumption purposes at live fish markets. However, some of them have escaped or have been illegally placed in the water system and can be now found threatening the native wildlife in the lakes and rivers of eleven US states.
As a result of this, the catching of snakeheads has become considerably high in demand especially in the Nanticoke River. The river gained on popularity when the biggest Northern snakehead was caught there in 2011. The recorded catch was caught by the Delaware fisheries biologists and was 26” long.
The process of catching this fish is basically the same as the one of catching a bass, meaning you don’t need any special equipment. The rod should be medium/heavy and 7ft long with spinning reel spooled to 15-40lb.
As the Northern snakeheads are predators, you can catch them on variety of lures. Baits such as top water frogs, buzzbaits or plugs are all a great example. On the plastic front, swim jigs, flukes and paddletails are a suitable option if the louder lures aren’t catching up.
When looking for the best time to catch a snakehead, the temperature is the key. The spring months of March and April is usually when the water starts to warm up, so look for a few consecutive days of above average temperature, which is typically enough for the bite to heat up.
Furthermore, because snakeheads enjoy warm waters, you can also easily find them swimming close to the surface at midday, when the sun is the strongest.
As mentioned before, a sneakhead is of a predatory character, meaning it is very powerful and puts up quite the fight when being caught. Its scales are also extremely slippery so it is advisable to bring along a fishing net.
Also, as the fish is an alien in the US water and causes issues with the native fish, the state of Maryland and Delaware prefer you kill every snakehead fish that you catch and don’t release them back to the water.