Northern Snakehead

While northern snakeheads are native to Asia, they can also be found in North America from Florida up to Massachusetts. These predatory fish can be caught by baitcasting, drift fishing, still fishing, and top water fishing. Many anglers find top water lures to be particularly successful when fishing for northern snakeheads.

Northern Snakehead

Region: Northeast, South, West
Habitat: River, Lake, Canal

How to identify Northern Snakehead

The northern snakehead has a long, slender body that has a fin running from the pectoral fins back to its tail. They are brown with dark blotching on the flanks. They have a black eye-spot near the base of their tails that looks like a bullseye. They can grow as long as three feet and look similar to snakes because of their flat heads. They have a large mouth that is full of teeth. Although they look like a bowfin, they can be identified by their anal fin and tail. Snakeheads have longer anal fins and a squared tail.

Where to catch Northern Snakehead

Although this fish is native to Asia, they have been found in parts of Florida up to Massachusetts, including the Potomac River. They prefer shallow, still waters such as canals, swamps, ponds, lakes, reservoirs, and rivers. Their spawning season runs from March to May and again from August to November.

Range: Northeast, South, West
Northern Snakehead Fishing Map

The following are habitats where you can catch Northern Snakehead:

How to catch Northern Snakehead

Northern Snakeheads have an uncanny ability to survive out of the water for days. They are a predatory fish that are native to Asia. These are bottom-dwelling fish and can often be found hiding near hanging foliage or submerged plants. Fishing for the northern snakehead is similar to fishing for rock bass or smallmouth bass. Northern snakeheads can be caught by baitcasting, drift fishing, and top water fishing They respond better to lures from mid-March through April, and better to live bait during the cooler months. At night, they come closer to the shores. During this time, some anglers will fish for them using colored lines. Another popular method is to still fish from a boat or from the shore in shallower waters with a lot of vegetation.

Due to their hard, bony heads, to catch a northern snakehead, the hook must be set with a lot of force. It’s almost as difficult to unhook a northern snakehead as it is to hook one, so it’s advisable to keep a set of pliers nearby for dehooking.

The following are effective fishing methods and techniques for catching Northern Snakehead:

Best Lures, Bait & Tackle to catch Northern Snakehead

Top water lures have proven to be most effective for catching northern snakeheads. The best fishing lures include topwater frogs, walk-the-dog lures, poppers, buzz-baits, and spinnerbaits.

The following are fishing lures, bait and tackle that can be used to catch Northern Snakehead: