Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Invasive Snakehead Caught on the Monongahela

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Invasive Snakehead Caught on the Monongahela

Article excerpt

It's long, ugly and and has a big mouth filled with sharp, polished teeth. If you see one, kill it.

A 28-inch snakehead was caught and killed recently near Duck Hollow on the Monongahela River. Not regulated as a game fish, the snakehead is an invasive species native to East Asia where it is used for food. Generally brown with a mottled pattern, the fish are shaped like bowfins with long dorsal and anal fins. Capable of breathing air, they can remain out of water for as long as four days and slither up to a quarter-mile over land.

The snakehead is an aggressive feeder and prolific breeder. Their young eat plankton, mollusks and aquatic insects. Mature snakeheads eat fish, frogs and small mammals. With no predators or other controls in North America, snakeheads can overwhelm a waterway. In 2004, a breeding population was discovered near Philadelphia. There is no evidence of snakehead reproduction in the Mon.

The state Fish and Boat Commission noted that a small native population of bowfins continue to hang on in the Allegheny River. Bowfins are shaped similar to snakeheads but are not considered invasive.

It is illegal to own, possess, transport, purchase or sell snakeheads in Pennsylvania. The state Fish and Boat Commission recommends that if a snakehead is seen, kill it and contact the agency's Southwest District office at 1-814-445-8974.

* Lake Erie and tributaries (Erie County) Rough waters kept many anglers off the lake. Walleye were at 55-80 feet, and fishing remained solid for anglers going deep with Dipseys, riggers or planer boards. Hookups were made by dragging worm harnesses, spoons or plugs across the bottom. Yellow perch were spotty. Walleye anglers caught growing numbers of steelhead trout, particularly near tributary mouths. The silvers weren't running yet, but in recent days conditions were right for surf zone fishing. …

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