There are many opportunities for recreational fishing in the Anacostia Watershed. Although it is highly advised by the DC Department of Health not to eat fish from the Anacostia River, it can be a beautiful place to fish if you are following the practice of catch and release. Make sure you are familiar with the Maryland or DC fishing license requirements and regulations before you take your trip! Also read about the snakehead fish below to see how you can help eradicate an invasive species in the Anacostia River while fishing!

Places to Fish

Snakehead Fish

Photo Credit: U.S. Geological Survey Archive,
U.S. Geological Survey,

Snakehead fish have been called the aquatic invader. This non-native fish is threatening our waters. It originates from different parts of Asia and Africa. Introduction to Maryland waters has most likely resulted from people dumping them from their aquariums or releasing them into waters to establish a local food source. Snakehead fish are an aggressively predatory fish. They compete with local fish for food sources, and by the time they are full grown they even prey on other fish, mammals, and birds. This competition could drastically change the amount of native fish in our waterways and forever distort the native aquatic systems.

Snakehead fish are difficult to eradicate due to their aggressive nature and ability to populate and spread. These fish are air-breathers and have the ability to migrate to other waters over land. Attempts to drain water sources where the species has been located failed due to its ability to bury itself in mud and survive for as long as several months. The Fish and Wildlife service has categorized the snakehead fish as injurious, and the Department of Natural Resources deemed it illegal since 2004 to import, transport, or introduce 29 species of the fish in Maryland.

If you fish in Maryland waters, you can help eliminate this invasive and aggressive species. The removal of the Snakehead fish will help AWS reach our goal of a swimmable and fishable river by working towards a stable ecosystem in the Anacostia River. If you think you have caught a Snakehead fish, do not release it. Instead collect it in a bag to dispose of later. You could also enter the Department of Natural Resources photo contest to win an assortment of prizes with a photo of the Snakehead Fish you caught.

Photo Credit: Brett Billings, US Fish and Wildlife Service,



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