Northern snakehead taken by Walnutport man
Veteran bowfisherman Lou Schwarz of Walnutport took an unexpected trophy on the Delaware River near the home of his grandparents in August.
He has taken catfish and carp while bowfishing, and he spotted a Northern snakehead while drifting the shoreline, taking the 24-inch fish with one shot.
Schwarz said he had Northern snakeheads in the tidal section of the Delaware and Potomac rivers and recognized the fish when he saw it swimming in shallow water less than a foot deep.
Being familiar with Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission regulations, he knew it was legal to take with a bow.
Northern snakeheads, which are native to China, Russia, North and South Korea, have been found in several states during the past 10 years.
This invasive species, which is known for its ravenous appetite and sharp teeth, can grow to 15 pounds and is able to adapt to variety of aquatic environments.
First discovered in the Mid-Atlantic Region in a pond in Crofton, Md., in 2002, they soon established a breeding population in the Potomac River.
Today, the population is such on the Potomac and its tributaries in Maryland and Virginia that snakehead fishing tournaments are held, and this summer a world record for the species was caught in a Potomac River tributary by Virginia angler Caleb Newton with a 17-pound, 6-ounce fish.
According to the PFBC the first snakeheads in Pennsylvania were discovered in 2004 in Meadow Lake in Philadelphia, which is connected to the Delaware River.
Since then, a breeding population has been established in the lower Delaware with snakeheads slowly expanding their range northward and into tributaries of the river.
Biologists said that the Schwarz fish is the farthest north on the Delaware River that a snakehead has been reported.
According to PFBC area fisheries manager Mike Kaufmann the next closest location of one being taken is Tohickon Creek in Bucks County.
Many anglers now target snakeheads because they are outstanding fighters on light tackle.
Also, the fish is excellent table fare.
Sunday's edition of "Experience The Outdoors," hosted by award-winning Pennsylvania Outdoor Writers Association member Doyle Dietz, at 7 a.m. on 1410-AM WLSH, at 9:30 a.m. on Magic 105.5-FM and on the Web at http://www.wmgh.com/ by clicking the link to the program, features nationally known field dog trainer Joe DeMarkis of Pottsville.
Carlisle Sports and Outdoor Nationals is underway today and Sunday at the Carlisle Fairgrounds with hours today from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., and Sunday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. For information call 717-243-7855 or access the website at http://www.carlislesportsoutdoor.com/.
First Frontier Militia, the muzzleloader branch of Bowmanstown Rod and Gun Club, is holding a muzzleloader shoot Sunday, beginning at 9 a.m.
"Black Powder Technique for Hunters and Shooters" is the topic of a series of free seminars, Saturday, Sept. 14, with the first session at 11 a.m., at Dixon Muzzleloader Shop, 9952 Kunkel's Mill Road, Kempton.
This event focuses on traditional muzzleloaders used for hunting and target shooting, and for information call the shop at 610-756-6271.
This year's Pennsylvania Bowhunters Festival is Friday-Sunday, Sept. 13-15, with gates opening at 6 a.m. daily, at the Sullivan County Fairgrounds, Forksville. For information call Nancy Witkowski at 570-946-4025 or access the website at http://www.pabowhunters.com/.
A simulated hunting 3D course is open daily through October 12 from dawn to dusk at Bears Head Archery, Delano, off I-81 exit 134. Sundays, the course is closed from 1-4 p.m. for trap. For information, email email@example.com.