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    Giant Snakehead sighting in Upper Gunpowder Falls Hereford MD

    Today I was working in north central Maryland and decided to fish the upper Gunpowder falls in Hereford MD. I checked out the middle section of the catch and release in the state park and did more hiking then fishing , admiring the sulphur hatch but wanted to did more solitude. I went upstream almost all the way to the prettyboy dam. There was a nice long pool with a few risers around 6 PM . I was curious how a river bend would look downstream so I went on a hike to see if I could spot some fish and find some pools. After hiking about a mile, I came to a very large pool with numerous eddies downstream of the roughest pocket water I saw all day on the river. I crept over to a rock to peer into the cutbank, when I spotted a fish with a black back and a body like an arapaima. It was about as thick as my thigh and and approximately 40 inches long. I was honestly a bit startled because I wasn't able to identify it until I got home. I have seen monster carp suckers and goldfish in wissihickon creek in Philly but this was none of the above. After going online I read some articles about snakeheads invading coastal Chesapeake creeks but never the upper gunpowder, that is very far inland. Has anyone ever targeted one of these with a fly rod? I'd love to get rid of this beast. I also noticed a dead bass on the side of the pool and looked like it had the blood sucked out of it or something. A snakehead in this fishery could be a disaster.

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  2. #2
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    Re: Giant Snakehead sighting in Upper Gunpowder Falls Hereford MD

    Quote Originally Posted by PinelandsGillie View Post
    Today I was working in north central Maryland and decided to fish the upper Gunpowder falls in Hereford MD. I checked out the middle section of the catch and release in the state park and did more hiking then fishing , admiring the sulphur hatch but wanted to did more solitude. I went upstream almost all the way to the prettyboy dam. There was a nice long pool with a few risers around 6 PM . I was curious how a river bend would look downstream so I went on a hike to see if I could spot some fish and find some pools. After hiking about a mile, I came to a very large pool with numerous eddies downstream of the roughest pocket water I saw all day on the river. I crept over to a rock to peer into the cutbank, when I spotted a fish with a black back and a body like an arapaima. It was about as thick as my thigh and and approximately 40 inches long. I was honestly a bit startled because I wasn't able to identify it until I got home. I have seen monster carp suckers and goldfish in wissihickon creek in Philly but this was none of the above. After going online I read some articles about snakeheads invading coastal Chesapeake creeks but never the upper gunpowder, that is very far inland. Has anyone ever targeted one of these with a fly rod? I'd love to get rid of this beast. I also noticed a dead bass on the side of the pool and looked like it had the blood sucked out of it or something. A snakehead in this fishery could be a disaster.
    after a little more research i realize this may be a native bowfin , or it could just be a giant snakehead... regardless I am going back with my two sons and we will see who catches it first


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    Re: Giant Snakehead sighting in Upper Gunpowder Falls Hereford MD

    Snakeheads are in the Delaware now. They spawn in back channels in the summer where they aggressively protect their beds. Which of course leads to fly fishing opportunities. Heard stories, but haven't seen them yet.

    I personally haven't seen snakeheads, but I saw two flathead catfish in the 5 foot long range caught in the Delaware. I've caught one bowfin in the Delaware but they are rare. However, they are found in a pond near the Little Flatbrook and in the Basher Kill marshes which drain into the Delaware.

    Of course the list of invasive species for the Delaware is long: Asian clams, smallmouth bass, walleyes, rock bass, brown trout, rainbow trout, carp, flathead and channel catfish, bluegills (pumpkinseeds and red breast sunfish are the natives), muskies, and northern pike.


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    Re: Giant Snakehead sighting in Upper Gunpowder Falls Hereford MD

    Native bowfins are very often confused with non-native snakeheads. The anal fin of snakeheads is very long, but on bowfins it is far shorter. That is the easiest way to make positive ID.

    A sinking fly is closer to Hell - ​Unknown

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    Re: Giant Snakehead sighting in Upper Gunpowder Falls Hereford MD

    Jeffk, is there a fishery for pike?


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    Re: Giant Snakehead sighting in Upper Gunpowder Falls Hereford MD

    Not really. There are less northerns than muskies, and muskies take a lot of work to find. Passaic is the river, Budd Lake and Spruce Run Res are the lakes where the pike seem to be IMHO.


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    Re: Giant Snakehead sighting in Upper Gunpowder Falls Hereford MD

    Took my kids Sunday with an 8 weight and some big frog and baitfish imitations to see if we could catch it. Didn't see it in the same pool and hiked 3 miles downstream fishing pools. Talked to some locals and told them to keep an eye out. I'm sure everybody though I was crazy. People at the local fly shop said I probably saw a beaver. Pretty sure it was a bowfin or snakehead I saw it in a clear slow pool. Aside from that I had one of the best days of fishing with my two oldest boys 13 and 15. They caught countless wild browns fishing dries and emergers in the upper section near the dam during a great sulphur spinner fall at sunset. I think they are hooked!


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    Re: Giant Snakehead sighting in Upper Gunpowder Falls Hereford MD

    I never considered that many invasive species. What species do you think existed before humans intervened?


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    Re: Giant Snakehead sighting in Upper Gunpowder Falls Hereford MD

    NJ's only freshwater gamefish were brook trout and chain pickerel. The main sunfish species were pumpkinseeds and red breast sunfish, with some oddballs in the pine barrens. Of course there were plenty of anadromous fish like stripers, shad, herring, white perch, and sturgeon. Most of the spread of freshwater fish species was along the Great Lakes and Mississippi drainages and somewhat along the brackish bays of the south. This left NJ out of the loop. Here is the checklist of NJ fish:

    NJDEP Division of Fish & Wildlife - Freshwater Fish of New Jersey

    One more native is the yellow perch, which raises a sore point with me. At one time NJ held the world record for yellow perch at a shade over 4 lbs, which was a great source of NJ pride for me. When I was a kid I caught a 3 lbs one nearby and a friend caught a 3 1/2 lbs one, so a 4 lbs perch certainly seemed possible. However, the record was taken away and asterisked as a historic record because it was caught in 1865 and didn't have all the paperwork, calibration, ect required now. A big bummer for me.


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    Re: Giant Snakehead sighting in Upper Gunpowder Falls Hereford MD

    Quote Originally Posted by PinelandsGillie View Post
    Didn't see it in the same pool and hiked 3 miles downstream fishing pools. Talked to some locals and told them to keep an eye out. I'm sure everybody though I was crazy. People at the local fly shop said I probably saw a beaver.
    ...
    Aside from that I had one of the best days of fishing with my two oldest boys 13 and 15. They caught countless wild browns fishing dries and emergers in the upper section near the dam during a great sulphur spinner fall at sunset. I think they are hooked!
    I fish the Gunpowder every week, and have heard no other rumors of either a snakehead or a bowfin. In fact, there are very few fish other than trout in the upper Gunpowder at all; the water is too cold. (The lack of baitfish is one of the reasons that the browns are on the small side.)

    I wouldn't rule out a beaver. The GP is infested with them, pretty much everywhere, and can surprisingly hard to identify when seen underwater at an odd angle. Also, carp sometimes get washed over Prettyboy dam, as do bass. Neither stay very long.

    I'm glad to hear you and your boys got into some fish during the spinner fall. I had a pretty good evening myself on Sunday.

    Bob

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    Re: Giant Snakehead sighting in Upper Gunpowder Falls Hereford MD

    Quote Originally Posted by redietz View Post
    I fish the Gunpowder every week, and have heard no other rumors of either a snakehead or a bowfin. In fact, there are very few fish other than trout in the upper Gunpowder at all; the water is too cold. (The lack of baitfish is one of the reasons that the browns are on the small side.)

    I wouldn't rule out a beaver. The GP is infested with them, pretty much everywhere, and can surprisingly hard to identify when seen underwater at an odd angle. Also, carp sometimes get washed over Prettyboy dam, as do bass. Neither stay very long.

    I'm glad to hear you and your boys got into some fish during the spinner fall. I had a pretty good evening myself on Sunday.
    I don't think so I saw it very clearly for 30 seconds standing on a rock above a very still tail out of a pool it was def a bowfin or snakehead


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