First Confirmed Snakehead Fish Caught in Mississippi Lake
JACKSON – A Northern Snakehead Fish was caught in Lake Whittington, an oxbow lake of the Mississippi River in Bolivar County, by bow fishermen Brad Baugh and Bubba Steadman, of Cleveland, MS on June 5, 2017. They kept the fish, photographed it, and immediately contacted the Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries, and Parks (MDWFP). “Snakeheads have been present in the White River Basin in Arkansas since 2008 and have been steadily expanding their range towards the Mississippi River,” says MDWFP Delta fisheries biologist Nathan Aycock. “The Mississippi River provides these fish with access to connected oxbows like Lake Whittington as well as the Yazoo and Big Black Rivers.”
Northern Snakeheads are native to China, Russia, and Korea. Established populations have been found in Arkansas, Maryland, New York, Pennsylvania, and Virginia where their impacts to native fish populations are unknown. Northern Snakeheads are typically found in shallow, backwater areas and can breathe air, which allows them to survive for extended periods of time out of the water.
Northern Snakeheads appear similar to Mississippi’s native Bowfin, also known as grinnel. MDWFP encourages anyone who thinks they catch a snakehead to keep the fish, photograph it, and call our office at 601- 432-2200. It is illegal to transport, offer for sale, or possess live snakeheads in Mississippi.
For more information regarding fishing and invasive species in Mississippi, visit www.mdwfp.com or call (601) 432-2200. Follow us on Facebook at facebook.com/mdwfp or on Twitter at www.twitter.com/MDWFPonline.