Snakehead caught at Bernhardt Reservoir

From Reading Eagle: 5.7.17

This invasive northern snakehead was caught, April 27, from Bernhardt Dam near Laureldale by a youth angler who forwarded photos and details of the catch to the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission.

Roger Mallon
The Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission has confirmed that a northern snakehead was caught by Max Solensky, 17, of Temple, the evening of April 27, while fishing with a soft-plastic crappie jig at Bernhardt Dam, north of Reading in Laureldale.
Also known as the “Frankenfish” this invasive fish is native to China, Russian and Korea. Northern snakeheads are a predatory fish and compete with other fish species for forage and habitat.
“Obviously this fish was introduced to Bernhardt by either a hobbyist or an angler,” said Mike Kaufmann, PFBC area fisheries manager for southeastern Pennsylvania. “One wonders if more than one was introduced and whether or not they are reproducing.  They would probably reproduce well there if there are weed beds present, but that may not be a strict requirement.”
According to the PFBC, “Northern snakeheads were first confirmed in Pennsylvania in July, 2004 after an angler caught and preserved two from the 17-acre Meadow Lake in Philadelphia County. The lake is part of a maze of interconnected embayments and tidal sloughs and the PFBC believes additional snakeheads are likely present elsewhere in the system, including the nearby lower Schuylkill and Delaware Rivers.”
Solensky, who lives within walking distance of reservoir could not readily identify the fish, but thought it looked familiar.
“I researched the fish and was pretty sure it was a snakehead, so I called the PFBC right away. They got back to me first thing the next morning,” said Solensky.
“Anglers have two legal choices if they catch one of these fish,” said Kaufmann. “They must either release the fish back into the lake immediately or “dispatch” it immediately.  They may not be possessed alive, whether on a stringer, in a bucket, or elsewhere.  In this case and others, we appreciate photos being taken before they are released or killed because those photos are necessary for us to separate snakeheads from native bowfins, and that in turn, is necessary for us to track the expansion of snakehead distribution in the Commonwealth.”


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