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Snakebit: How to Fly Fish for Snakeheads

“Fishzilla” got a bad reputation; snakeheads are world-class topwater gamefish. Here's where to find them, gear suggestions and some flies to use.

Snakebit: How to Fly Fish for Snakeheads

An invasive species by definition is an organism that causes ecological or economic harm in a new environment where it is not native. Invasive species are capable of causing extinction of native plants and animals, reducing biodiversity, competing with native organisms for limited resources, and altering habitats. (Photo courtesy of Fly Fishing Magazine)

In 2004, a fish called a northern snakehead was caught in the tidal Potomac River tributary on the Virginia/Maryland border. The fish—native to Asia—at that time had not previously been documented in any other body of water in the Mid-Atlantic. The discovery caused a national media tidal wave of anxiety, terror, and misinformation that can only be rivaled by the likes of a Hollywood sci-fi movie.

Snakeheads sparked many articles, videos, TV interviews, and news shows calling them Fishzilla, Frankenfish, demons that were impossible to eradicate. They could walk on land, live for long periods out of the water, travel long distances, and devour native species. The bad...

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