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Share Your Invasive Catch on the Maryland Invasive Angler's Log

Maryland Fishing Challenge Logo showing striped bassWelcome to the Invasive Species' Angler's Log component of the Maryland Fishing Challenge! These entries must contain Blue Catfish, Northern Snakehead or Flathead Catfish. Beginning during the 2013/2014 tournament, Angler's Log entries which include any of the invasive species listed, at any length in size, will be eligible for a prize via random drawing at the annual Maryland Fishing Challenge Finale.

To be eligible the entry must include a clear photo of the fish and the fish must be killed by one of the following methods:
  • The head is severed from the dorsal area in line with the pectoral fins completely through the spinal vertebrae; the head does not have to be detached from the fish.
  • At least two gill arches are completely removed from the gill area.
  • The fish has all of its internal organs removed.

Fish must be caught using legal recreational fishing methods. All legal recreational fishing methods and gear are allowed.

Multiple entries are allowed, but each fish can only be entered once. Visit the Maryland fishing Challenge web site to read the complete set of rules.

To post a report please email your name, hometown, photos, location information, and a description of your fishing trip to fishingreports@dnr.state.md.us. All information is optional, but encouraged.

Important Note: If anyone in your picture is under 18 years of age, we must have a photo release signed by a parent/guardian before we can post your picture. By sending any photos or art to the Maryland Department of Natural Resources you are giving DNR permission to use the image(s) online and in print. You are also giving DNR permission to distribute the photo for non-commercial purposes to other media, print, digital and television for their use. You are not giving up your copyright, but are allowing the photo(s) to be used for educational and news purposes.


Latest Invasive Angler's Log Reports


Bill Boteler
Recreational Angler
New Market
Total Reports:
3
Sent in on: December 2, 2013 Permalink

November Blues

Type: Tidal
Location: Potomac River
Tags: Blue Catfish, Channel Catfish, White Catfish, Invasive

Outdoor enthusiasts should take a bit of time in November before Goose and Deer season to try the phenomenal blue cat fishery on the tidal Potomac. We have fished for the big cats twice in November. The first week we fished an ebbing tide and filled two 100 quart coolers with 44 fish. Last Friday on a flood tide, it only took 30 fish to fill the coolers with 5 over 30 lbs. We use 7/0 circle hooks on 60 lb flouro shock leaders tied to 30 lb braid on baitrunner reels. It sure is fun to hear the line peal out before setting the break on them. It is important to fish a moving tide and use fresh cut bait. We used Bluegills but other fresh cut fish will work such as alewives, White Perch and shad.

A question for DNR: We catch an occasional Channel or White Catfish while pursuing the invasive blues. The channels are much thinner than the channel cats I catch on the upper Potomac. Do you think it is the environment differences they live in or are they being out competed by the invasive specie.

DNR Response: Channel Catfish in tidal waters often do face harsher conditions than those that are found in nontidal waters. The constant current, change in tide and competition with other predators makes for a harsh environment. I have had more than one catfish angler say that they do find Blue Catfish in areas where they used to find Channel Catfish but the effects of Blue Catfish on resident species is not fully understood at this time.

 PHOTOS 

Larry Jarboe
Recreational Angler
Total Reports:
12
Sent in on: November 19, 2013 Permalink

We Were Glad to Get the Blues

Type: Tidal
Location: Potomac River
Tags: Blue Catfish, Invasive, White Catfish

Here's a pic of Catfish Bill Davis in the bow of my 12' Sears Gamefisher. We put 29 blue cats from 3-30 lbs. in two big coolers on Friday afternoon during the Potomac River incoming tide. We released one native White Catfish.

On Sunday morning, I caught ebb tide out of Mallows Bay and nailed 16 more.

These blue cats are great eating and fight like sharks. This time of year, they are greedily feeding at the edge of the river channel. We used fresh cut alewives. Fresh mud shad is equally good but can be hard to come by.

People pay a lot of money to charter boats out of Santee Cooper and other reservoirs to catch blue cats, and we've got tons of them here in our backyard. Catch 'em while you can.

 PHOTOS 

Michael Dahlstrom
Recreational Angler
Hollywood, MD
Total Reports:
3
Sent in on: November 4, 2013 Permalink

Night Fishing For Snakeheads

Type: Tidal
Location: Potomac River
Tags: Northern Snakehead, Invasive

I went out last night (10/31/13) in the Potomic River and surrounding creeks, and managed to shoot and harvest 9 Northen Snakeheads..with windy and rainy conditions, our success rate wasn't that great, but still had a good time!

 PHOTOS 

Keith Harris
Recreational Angler
Brandywine, MD
Total Reports:
3
Sent in on: November 4, 2013 Permalink

Catfish Mix

Type: Tidal
Location: Potomac River
Tags: Blue Catfish, White Catfish, Channel Catfish, Invasive

A fishing buddy and I decided to go after the channel cats . The weather was ideal , incoming tide and barometric pressure failing. We fished the Potomac near Farming Road. We started with nighcrawlers then switched to cut bait. We used 3 oz weights and # 2 circle hooks. In 3 hours my cooler was ¾ full with a mix of catfish. The hydrilla is dying off and the fish are returning to shallow water. Sizes ranged from 1-18 lbs. Several anglers mentioned that several 40 lb cats were caught there this week also.

 PHOTOS 

Keith Lockwood
Fisheries Biologist
Oxford, MD
Total Reports:
40
Sent in on: June 24, 2011 Permalink

Flathead FunThis report contains valuable fishing information!

Type: Chesapeake
Location: Oxford
Tags: Flathead Catfish, Invasive Species

Recently I was able to acquire a flathead catfish from one of the Fisheries Service electro-shocking crews that was working on the Lower Susquehanna River. I wanted to get a first hand look at one of these invasive critters that are becoming more common in the upper bay area. I had heard that they were good to eat so that also was going to be part of this scientific necropsy and evaluation. On the way to my place from the Oxford Lab with my buddy residing in an ice chest I happened to pick up a 20lb. snapping turtle on the road for my good old friend retired DNR biologist Nick Carter who had put the word out that he needed one for an educational event he was scheduled to do. Well, when I called Nick; the combination of obtaining the snapping turtle and the opportunity to see a flathead catfish up close and personal was too much for Nick. He was jumping in his truck and was on his way to my place.

Our first observation of our friend the flathead was that it was obvious to us how he got his name; the top of his head was a thick as a cast iron skillet and what a mouth this guy had. A simple whack on the head was not going to put this guy out so being the creative biologist that Nick is, he opted for the delicate Buck Knife/hammer approach to sever the spine. Some of you may already know this; but this is the famed catfish in the Mississippi River drainage that folks over there go noodling for; perhaps you’ve seen it on TV or an internet video. I can’t imagine going underwater and putting my hand inside that things mouth. I couldn’t hold Nick back once he had a knife in his hand so he performed the delicate task, (perhaps not) of filleting our buddy. Some vital stats included that he weighed 24-1/2 lbs, 42” long, a male, no barbs on the pectoral spines like a channel catfish, large air bladder, light yellow colored meat and a tough bugger to skin. The evaluation session of the epicurean attributes of the fillets swathed in batter and fried in peanut oil with hush puppies will have to wait till another session.

 PHOTOS 

Linda DeMarco
Recreational Angler
Laurel
Total Reports:
1
Sent in on: November 4, 2010 Permalink

Invasive Red Swamp Crawfish on the Move in Laurel

Type: Freshwater
Location: Patuxent River
Tags: Invasive Species, Red Swamp Crawfish, Patuxent River

Linda DeMarco of Laurel, Maryland wrote in last week regarding a crawfish she came upon while walking to work near the Patuxent River. Linda sent in the below photos and as if we could identify the species.

DNR's response:
The crayfish you found on the sidewalk in Laurel is the Red Swamp Crawfish (Procambarus clarkii). This is a non-native species that has been introduced to Maryland. It is the typical “Louisiana” crayfish and is the species that is typically sold for food in the south. It is now common on Maryland’s Eastern Shore and in several Potomac and Patuxent River tributaries. Red Swamps were first brought to Maryland for aquaculture, but have also been imported and sold as pets and as bait. Jay Kilan, DNR Biologist

Reminder - there is a crayfish ban on particular waterways, please read our news story http://dnr.maryland.gov/fisheries/news/story.asp?story_id=8.

 PHOTOS 

Chuck Grove
Recreational Angler
Total Reports:
2
Sent in on: October 19, 2010 at 11:05AM Permalink

Trophy Blue Cats

Type: Freshwater
Location: Potomac River
Tags: Blue Catfish, Invasive Species

October means Trophy Catfish time in the Potomac River

I had the pleasure of having my cousin, Dave, from Ohio and my good friend from my hometown in Pennsylvania, Whitey, join me for a weekend of fishing on the Potomac River just south of D.C. I took Friday off work to catch bait and it was a good thing I did...it took 6 hours to catch 7 Gizzard Shad, but that would have to do. They arrived Saturday morning around 7:30 and we were on the water by 8:00. The weather was supposed to be really windy and it was all that and more...whitecaps and three foot waves were the norm on Saturday but my 170CC Triumph handled it well even though I had to put two anchors out the front of my boat just to keep it in one spot.

More importantly, we caught some big fish with the largest of the weekend coming in at 57 lbs. I truly believe this fish was over 60lbs but we couldn't get an accurate weight due to the boat rocking.

We managed to put over 100 lbs of fish in the boat on Saturday and then again on Sunday morning.

All in all we had a great time with everyone catching quality fish. We laughed so hard, ate too much and got soaked from all the waves...a perfect weekend. I think I have two new Trophy Catfish converts on my hands...they're already talking about the next trip.

 PHOTOS 

Jason Howard
Recreational Angler
Total Reports:
1
Sent in on: October 05, 2010 Permalink

Invasive Fish Species Caught in Prettyboy ReservoirThis report contains valuable fishing information!

Type: Freshwater
Location: Prettyboy Reservoir
Tags: Recreational, Freshwater, Prettyboy, Invasive, Red Oscar

Hello, this is a non-native fish I caught in Prettyboy Reservoir this past Sat (10/02/2010). The fish was about 12 inches long, I would guess it 1 ½ lbs. I took photos (below) of the fish, it was dirty from rolling around on the bank, it also seemed to lose its scales easily. After looking around at photos on the internet, I believe this fish to be a Red Oscar.

Thanks,
Jason

DNR's Response - Hello Jason, thank you for sending in your report, we believe you are correct in identifying the fish as an oscar. Periodically we get reports of oscars, pacu’s and other warm water fish from the aquarium trade, we have no evidence these types of fish can survive the winters in Maryland waters but we do not want dumping any type of invasives into the local waters for obvious reasons.

We (DNR) must emphasize the fact that one misplaced and (climate) tolerant species liberated into the waters of the state could promote damage to existing fisheries that may not be recoverable. We must further emphasize the fact that introducing fish and aquatic organisms into waters of the state without authorized permission is illegal . Thanks again Jason for bringing this to our attention.

 PHOTOS 

Paul D. Mullins
Recreational Angler
Total Reports:
1
Sent in on: July 6, 2010 at 4:52PM Permalink

Flathead Catfish in Susquehanna RiverThis report contains valuable fishing information!

Type: Freshwater
Location: Susquahanna River
Tags: Invasive Species, DNR Response, Flathead Catfish

I have been catching flathead catfish in the Susquehanna River and knowing that they are an invasive species; I was wondering if the Fisheries Service needed any information such as numbers, sizes, etc of flatheads caught by fishermen? The first one I caught was in the summer of 2007. It was roughly two pounds in weight. This past winter though, we were catching them in the reservoir at the Peach Bottom power plant discharge and now catching them regularly in the tailrace area of the Conowingo dam. The concern is that in three years I have gone to catching one small one to averaging ten fish over the ten pound mark per outing with 15-20 pound fish being common. I’m attaching some pictures of our last tow outings which were June 26 and July 3, 2010 in the same spot the first flathead I caught was landed.

DNR RESPONSE via Brett Coakley (Fisheries Biologist) Thanks for your report! Yes, it appears the flathead population is growing in the Susquehanna/Upper Bay. They are showing with more regularity in out electro-fishing surveys each year. We have reports of some fish topping 30 lbs, and have seen individuals as far south as the Sassafras and Bush Rivers. Flatheads are voracious predators, but prefer to eat spiny-rayed fish (like perch and sunfish) to smooth rayed baitfish like gizzard shad and shiners for some reason. But, it seems they will eat almost anything that swims.

We are asking anglers to keep any flatheads they catch in an effort to help control their numbers. However, below Conowingo (which is legally classified as tidal water) they must be greater than 10”. The current law does not exclude flatheads from the general “catfish” length limits, but we are working to change that. Above the Dam (non-tidal waters) there is no size restriction, please keep all of them.

I have eaten several, and I found them quite delicious when fried!

 PHOTOS 

Stephen Cuccia
Fisheries Intern
Crofton
Total Reports:
4
Sent in on: July 01, 2010 Permalink

Internship Log - Week ending July 2, 2010

Type: Chesapeake
Location: Annapolis
Tags: Summer Internship, water chestnut, invasive species, otiliths, Fishing Challenge

Invasive Species Removal - Water Chestnut

This week was one of the more labor intensive weeks, but none-the-less a great turn-out. Monday started off at the crack of dawn. We were headed to the Sassafras river to help eradicate an invasive species known as Water Chestnut. For those who don't know, Water Chestnut is an annual aquatic plant with a submerged flexuous stem that anchors into the mud and extends upward to the surface of the water. It has saw-tooth edged leaves that are triangular in shape and connect to an inflated petiole, which provides added buoyancy for the leafy portion of the plant. The plant itself grows so extensively that it prevents the sun's rays from reaching the very important bay grasses. We scanned the spots where people reported sightings of this species and only pulled a couple of plants. However, on the way back to the boat launch, me and my fellow intern Ryan Gary, were on the waverunner and decided to check one of the last coves. Needless to say, there was quite a bit of it. Our team of two boats and one waverunner knocked out the cove in about 2 1/2 hours. It was said that we pulled up over 120 bushels of the Water Chestnut, so overall it was a great day!

Tagging Striped Bass

Tuesday was a big day for DNR, marking the second day of tagging for the Diamond Jim Fishing Challenge. Each month until September, one fish will be predetermined to be the official Diamond Jim worth as much as $25,000 to the angler who catches him. The other tagged “imposter” fish are worth $500 each. This year, as many as 600 fish will be tagged and released representing more than $300,000 in potential cash winnings. On tuesday, all of the boats combined tagged 154 fish, bringing the total to over 320 fish for both rounds. The fish weren't biting as well as they have been but the captains still pulled through.

Water Chestnut Removal - Round 2

On Wednesday, we were back to the Water Chestnut's! This time, we were on the Bird River, but on canoes. Our team for this day consisted of 4 canoes, and 1 boat. The canoes were needed in order to get back into the shallow waters that the boat could not reach. We did pull up some plants, however it was not nearly as much as we got on the Sassafras. It's a great thing that were out there doing this, as our goal is to preserve as much as we can.

Aging Largemouth Bass

I had an excellent, solid week in the field! To conclude the week, Ryan and I took a trip to the Manning Hatchery. Here we were working with otoliths, which are hard structures located behind the fish's brain. They aid the fish in balance, and hearing, just like humans. Here we were using the otoliths to age the fish, and to help determine growth studies. The process of aging a fish using an Otolith is very interesting. First, you have to break the otolith in half. Once you have a half that you are satisfied with, you move to the sanding process. Wet sanding allows you to smooth the side of the otolith that is going to be presented under the microscope. After you have wet sanded the half of the otolith, you move it under the microscope, into a petri dish with clay; to help support the bone. The microscope has a camera hooked up to a computer, where you take a picuture of the otolith, in order to determine the age. The next process is actually determining the age of the fish. The fish grow the fastest during the warmer seasons, and slower during winter. The darker, "translucent" zone represents a period of fast growth. The whiter area, or "opaque zone" represents a period of slower growth. So essentially, the age of the fish is determined by counting the annuli, or opaque bands that represent slower growth(winter's). Once again, it had to be one of the most interesting activities I've taken part in.