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gnappi

Why kill snakeheads?

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Yesterday (10-20-2018) My fishing buddy and I hit a lake only reachable by hand launch and very limited walking area due to the majority of the lake being posted by commercial companies, and he took some 5 snakeheads (SH) home to fillet.

 

I've read that some anglers just will not remove (SH) they catch from waterways, I guess they're expecting the fish stock of LMB to stay as it is across their southern range where SH inhabit. Wrong. The pic attached is a 2"-3" LMB from the stomach of a 4-5 pound SH.

 

Maybe eradicating SH down here is no longer possible but I know for sure there are a number of little bass and other desirable species that will live because we took 5 SH from that lake. 

 

 

baby_bass_IMG_2249.jpg

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Well, it's a debate for sure.  I'm sure if you filleted some LMB you would find Snakehead fry in their bellies as well.  That's nature.  Big fish eat smaller fish.  Here in Virginia there has been a lot of studying since Snakeheads were inadvertently introduced to our waterways.  So far the impact has been minimal.  They have shown that the Snakeheads "prefer" other species of baitfish to LMB fry.  They are an excellent food fish and are being regularly harvested from our waters for table fare. They have also been "introduced" by bucket biologists to closed bodies of water here also.  That, I am 100% opposed to and there have been arrests and prosecution.   

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6 hours ago, gnappi said:

I've read that some anglers just will not remove (SH) they catch from waterways,

 

Count me among them.  I don't keep fish and I won't kill fish (snakeheads, gars, etc.) and just leave them at/in the water.  Was a time when I figured they'd get eaten by birds, fish, etc.  However, its been my experience that dead fish just aren't all that attractive to most predators...other than vultures.  Too many fish just end up floating and rotting.

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Snakeheads could be a bigger issue in a pond than a larger waterway.  That said, I've found that there are better quality bass in lakes where bass are not the top predator.

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8 hours ago, J Francho said:

Snakeheads could be a bigger issue in a pond than a larger waterway.  That said, I've found that there are better quality bass in lakes where bass are not the top predator.

Well down here  there are waterways where the LMB are gone where snakeheads never were but are there now in abundance.  🙂

 

 

8 hours ago, Choporoz said:

Count me among them.  I don't keep fish and I won't kill fish (snakeheads, gars, etc.) and just leave them at/in the water.  Was a time when I figured they'd get eaten by birds, fish, etc.  However, its been my experience that dead fish just aren't all that attractive to most predators...other than vultures.  Too many fish just end up floating and rotting.

Gars are protected in Florida by law, so killing them is a bad idea, vultures, racoons, bears and Florida panthers do and will eat carrion. I will feed them all I can.

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9 hours ago, Choporoz said:

Count me among them.  I don't keep fish and I won't kill fish (snakeheads, gars, etc.) and just leave them at/in the water.  Was a time when I figured they'd get eaten by birds, fish, etc.  However, its been my experience that dead fish just aren't all that attractive to most predators...other than vultures.  Too many fish just end up floating and rotting.

I agree that it is wrong to kill an animal just because they are not native to the environment. I only kill fish that I will eat, give to someone else to eat, or use as bait. Leaving rotting bullseye snakeheads by the bank or throwing them in the water is also a bad idea since a rotting fish carcass is a disgusting thing to see and a rotting fish carcass in the water takes away oxygen from the water.The canals that bullseye snakehead live in are polluted with many nasty chemicals such as methylmercury so it would be best to not eat these fish. You can go online and check the FWC recommendations on eating fish from South Florida canals. The pollution is so bad that FWC tells pregnant woman to avoid eating predator fish from many South Florida canals and other bodies of water. I do not know about you but my health is #1 for me and I refuse to affect my health by eating snakeheads from polluted canals (I ate a snakehead I caught once and I regret eating it since it was not that good).

9 hours ago, J Francho said:

Snakeheads could be a bigger issue in a pond than a larger waterway.  That said, I've found that there are better quality bass in lakes where bass are not the top predator.

Most of the bullseye snakeheads in South Florida are in the C-14 canal and canals connected to it. I often catch more bass than snakeheads when fishing for snakeheads and many of those bass are in the 18-22'' range which is very good for a canal system in South Florida. I have seen largemouth bass and peacock bass attack and eat bullseye snakehead babies so snakehead are nowhere near the apex predator of the canal systems.The tarpon, snook, peacock bass, and largemouth bass are better predators than bullseye snakehead.

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12 hours ago, soflabasser said:

I agree that it is wrong to kill an animal just because they are not native to the environment.

 

So that's a pretty broad brush stroke. Some Mosquitos are not native to the U.S that cause viral infections in humans, so it's OK to kill insects?

 

Where to draw the line? Kill insects because the new introduction directly affects humans but it's OK if native species of animals are displaced because somebody could not kill a tank pet and released them into an ecosystem not adapted to handle the introduction?

 

Sorry that mindset is surely misplaced, and it all starts because people with a like mind released exotics in the first place.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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17 hours ago, J Francho said:

Snakeheads could be a bigger issue in a pond than a larger waterway.  That said, I've found that there are better quality bass in lakes where bass are not the top predator.

That's interesting.  Could explain such good bass fishing in northern tier states that have large pike and muskie populations. @A-Jay's photos seem to illustrate this notion.

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5 hours ago, gnappi said:

Where to draw the line? Kill insects because the new introduction directly affects humans but it's OK if native species of animals are displaced because somebody could not kill a tank pet and released them into an ecosystem not adapted to handle the introduction?

Northern snakehead up here were introduced by people thinking they were creating a food source.  They're here now; same with gobies.  NY DEC says to kill all gobies.  That's great, now every pier, boardwalk, boat launch, and fishing access site is littered with rotting gobies.  Thanks.  The bass have only gotten bigger since their introduction.  Same goes for  alewife, EU milfoil and zebra mussels.  While each presents certain challenges, the fisheries have benefited from the introduction.

4 hours ago, The Bassman said:

That's interesting.  Could explain such good bass fishing in northern tier states that have large pike and muskie populations. @A-Jay's photos seem to illustrate this notion.

NY DEC will introduce sterile tiger musky hybrids to improve bass and panfish populations, into many lakes around the state.

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On 10/23/2018 at 7:17 AM, J Francho said:

Northern snakehead up here were introduced by people thinking they were creating a food source.  They're here now; same with gobies.  NY DEC says to kill all gobies.  That's great, now every pier, boardwalk, boat launch, and fishing access site is littered with rotting gobies.  Thanks.  The bass have only gotten bigger since their introduction.  Same goes for  alewife, EU milfoil and zebra mussels.  While each presents certain challenges, the fisheries have benefited from the introduction.

NY DEC will introduce sterile tiger musky hybrids to improve bass and panfish populations, into many lakes around the state.

Some species dont appear to be all that bad and maybe have a benefit like you mention with gobies. But i dont see any benefits from EU milfoil, zebra mussels, or especially rusty crayfish near me. The rusties have destroyed the big cabbage weed beds that are preferred by most of the fish here especially muskies. They are larger and more difficult to eat for smallies than native crayfish. And the milfoil takes over the areas where the cabbage used to be. Each species is unique with some a lot worse than other.

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Only reason to kill them other than to eat, is ignorance, period.  If you are going to eat them then by all means harvest some snakehead.  If you are going to just kill them and throw them on the bank then release them.  

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16 hours ago, flyfisher said:

Only reason to kill them other than to eat, is ignorance, period.  If you are going to eat them then by all means harvest some snakehead.  If you are going to just kill them and throw them on the bank then release them.  

We have snakehead tournaments down here for the express purpose of killing them. Releasing a non native and allowing a species that doesn't belong here is stupid. OTOH calling others who remove non natives ignorant is unworthy of an acidic comment.

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the removal of an established fish population by killing never works.   They don't destroy an ecosystem and have improved bass populations in every study i have seen.  Using a catch and kill tournament as evidence further prove my point of ignorance but some people prefer to live that way. 

And you do know that bass are non native species in the vast majority of locations as well, right?  

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1 hour ago, flyfisher said:

the removal of an established fish population by killing never works.   They don't destroy an ecosystem and have improved bass populations in every study i have seen.  Using a catch and kill tournament as evidence further prove my point of ignorance but some people prefer to live that way. 

And you do know that bass are non native species in the vast majority of locations as well, right?  

I thought largemouth bass were native to all of America except the western deserts 

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2 hours ago, flyfisher said:

the removal of an established fish population by killing never works.   They don't destroy an ecosystem and have improved bass populations in every study i have seen.  Using a catch and kill tournament as evidence further prove my point of ignorance but some people prefer to live that way. 

And you do know that bass are non native species in the vast majority of locations as well, right?  

It is impossible to get rid of bullseye snakehead from South Florida at this moment in time. The state could use some chemicals in the waterways that might kill some bullseye snakeheads (not all of them) but that will also kill the native fish which I am sure the state does not want. These little snakehead tournaments do nothing to the overall population to bullseye snakeheads in South Florida and the bullseye snakehead population is extremely healthy. In fact the bullseye snakehead population is thriving and lots of people are fishing for them since they are a very unique species of fish that fights hard and hits a wide variety of lures. Florida strain largemouth bass are only native to Florida and have been introduced to California,Texas,Mexico,Cuba,Japan,South Africa, and other locations. These non native Florida largemouth bass bring millions of dollars to the areas they have been introduced since people love to fish for them.

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Debatable topic. Bass eat plenty of snakehead fry, as do snakeheads eating small bass. Infact, a few researchers in VA claim that the bass populations are already reliant upon snakehead as forage. Circle of life. Many of our game fish are not native. Rainbow and brown trout came from Europe. Musky and walleye are being introduced in bodies of water all across the US. Get used to snakeheads, because I don’t think they’re going anywhere! They are a hoot to catch and good to eat. I welcome them with open arms!

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It appears a lot of you anglers would have a tough time fishing in some of the western states where regulations require the killing of certain species if they are caught.  A regulation on one lake in northwest Wyoming stipulates that all walleye caught must be kept and killed; there is no daily bag limit.  There are areas in Alaska where all northern pike caught must be killed, you don't have to keep them, you just have to kill them before you put them back in the water. 

 

ClearCreek

 

 

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While we don't have snakeheads over here yet. We have laws that prevent us here in WI. From releasing any non native fish alive. A dead fish is cheaper then a DNR fine, and considering the DNR likes to go around in street clothes around here. I won't take a chance.

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9 hours ago, IgotWood said:

Debatable topic. Bass eat plenty of snakehead fry, as do snakeheads eating small bass. Infact, a few researchers in VA claim that the bass populations are already reliant upon snakehead as forage. Circle of life. Many of our game fish are not native. Rainbow and brown trout came from Europe. Musky and walleye are being introduced in bodies of water all across the US. Get used to snakeheads, because I don’t think they’re going anywhere! They are a hoot to catch and good to eat. I welcome them with open arms!

I am not surprised that the bass in Virginia are eating snakeheads since the bass down here also eat snakeheads. Bass are a much better predator than a snakehead and bass have bigger mouths which lets them eat larger prey compared to a equal sized snakehead. The snakeheads are here to stay and we might as well enjoy catching this unique species of fish.

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They seem like a painted up mudfish to me. Fight hard, wreck lures, and overall nuisance.

 

They might be here to stay doesn't mean I have to be happy about it.

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Honest question.....Are all Snakeheads good table fare?  We are talking about multiple species here, the Northern Snakehead which is served in restaurants here and are raised as a food fish and the Southern strain Bullseye?  I assume it's no different than a White Crappie and a Black Crappie both of which are equally good to eat.  I ask because when I lived in Florida, I never heard of anyone eating Snakehead but here in Virginia, they have a good reputation as excellent table fare and are kept for that reason.  

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19 hours ago, TOXIC said:

Honest question.....Are all Snakeheads good table fare?  We are talking about multiple species here, the Northern Snakehead which is served in restaurants here and are raised as a food fish and the Southern strain Bullseye?  I assume it's no different than a White Crappie and a Black Crappie both of which are equally good to eat.  I ask because when I lived in Florida, I never heard of anyone eating Snakehead but here in Virginia, they have a good reputation as excellent table fare and are kept for that reason.  

Hmmm...now that you mention it, I haven’t ever heard of anyone eating bullseyes. 

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On 10/31/2018 at 8:59 AM, TOXIC said:

Honest question.....Are all Snakeheads good table fare?  We are talking about multiple species here, the Northern Snakehead which is served in restaurants here and are raised as a food fish and the Southern strain Bullseye?  I assume it's no different than a White Crappie and a Black Crappie both of which are equally good to eat.  I ask because when I lived in Florida, I never heard of anyone eating Snakehead but here in Virginia, they have a good reputation as excellent table fare and are kept for that reason.  

Found this: 

 

 

Maybe people are less likely to eat them in FL because of the perception that they are caught mostly in canals and therefore low water quality.

 

I won't keep certain fish out of the Potomac where there's a direct waste discharge.

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I totally agree, I don't eat anything out of the Potomac unless it's Crappie that we catch way up in the creeks or Striper as they migrate in from the bay.  As much as I love catfish nuggets, it's not tablefare for me unless they come from clean lakes around me or farm raised.  I have had Northern Snakehead once and will try it again but when we go out we stay out all day and since you cannot put them in your livewell alive, it would be pretty rank by the end of the day.

 

My best snakehead to date 14 almost 15lbs.  

 

 

Snakehead.jpg

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Bet that was a rod bender! 

 

My best bowfin was 14.6, one pound shy of state record. Definitely was a heck of a fight. 

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