This fact sheet aims to enhance public awareness of this invasive species as a new commercial fishery resource. The best baits for catching catfish in the Chesapeake Bay region often depends on habitat. There is no limit to the number of blue or flathead catfish an angler can catch and keep in Maryland. Credit: Ian Vorster/VA Sea Grant. The blue catfish is a long fish with a flat dorsal fin and deeply forked tail. Lucky or species-targeting anglers now and again got flounder or red or black drum or some oddity like the record Florida pompano just caught in our waters. Bill, like my mother, just about lives to fish. It’s what my mother, an avid angler, grew up catching in Southern Illinois ponds, until fate dropped her in Key West for a few years. While my friends targeted trout on opening day, you’d find me in the tailwaters of the stream trying to catch carp. Perhaps we ought to take the fight to the fish? Smoked bluefish is — you know the word — tasty. Here are some of the most popular fish to target in the Chesapeake: • Striped Bass • Red Drum • Spotted Sea Trout • White Perch • Summer Flounder (Fluke) Illustration courtesy the Maryland Department of Natural Resources. Rockfish, known as striped bass in most of their range but Maryland, is the most celebrated species of the northeast seaboard. Much of that concern stems from incredible abundances reported by scientists and fishers, contributing to the belief that a … That’s about when our new neighbor and avid fisher Jack Dowd started catching assorted catfish at our local bridge, a fishing locale Bill knows well. They are harvested mainly with baited hoop nets and a very low to no by-catch. on October 20, 2020, Stay informed of all the latest regional news around NOAA Fisheries, Juvenile Fish Communities Are in Transition on a Long Island Sound Reef. Credit: Marine Mammal Stranding Center, U.S. These highly adaptable species were introduced and have since spread all over the watershed, competing with native species and eating much of the available food. And, telemetry work by researchers at Smithsonian Environmental Research Center and Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries demonstrated that blue catfish can be highly mobile and may move seasonally. His report this week on our new Chesapeake species is the result. They eat the same plants, insects, fish, and blue crabs that native fish depend on, and then eat the native fish, too! His report this week on our new Chesapeake species is the result. Together, these studies suggest that blue catfish are capable of expanding their range even further. The Chesapeake Bay watershed has become a home for several invasive fish species, the most prominent of which are blue and flathead catfish, and the northern snakehead. Researchers from Virginia Institute of Marine Science found that blue catfish are highly tolerant to salinity, and that tolerance appears to increase with size. I was zig-zagging across some ledges in the Mid-Bay when I saw something on my fish finder that looked like a miniature underwater forest. This is the simplest way to go about finding and catching blue catfish. (Little did I know how well that description suited our estuary.). Closer to saltwater, peeler crab, soft crab, bloodworms, and squid are often preferred. Newshound that Bill is, he went sniffing around. In this case study, we focus on Blue Catfish Ictalurus furcatus which were introduced in the Chesapeake Bay region and are now considered invasive. Commercial blue catfish fishermen landed over 4.1 million pounds in 2016 up from just under 203,000 pounds in 2007. Blue Catfish were introduced to tributaries of the Chesapeake Bay in the 1970s and 1980s to establish new fisheries, but their presence has generated concern for native species. Regional and national tournaments are held annually on the James River, and the Potomac River is nearly a year-round hotspot for catfish angling. In fact, if I don’t have a legitimate shot at catching a 20- to 30-pound something every time I go out, I’d rather stay home. Show us your blue catfish catch! As more people find out how tasty blue catfish is--similar to striped bass or rockfish because it eats similar things--the number of places that sell blue catfish may grow. It is smooth-skinned, with a bluish- or greenish-gray body, a silvery white belly and olive fins. Remove the fish from milk, 1 fillet at a time, letting the excess milk drip back into the dish. Find The Bait, You Find The Fish. Finding and catching blue catfish is as simple as locating the masses of shad. While the freshwater-loving fish also do well in brackish environments, record 2018 rainfalls in the Bay watershed created even more hospitable conditions. So far, the chief weapon we’ve arrayed against the fish is catch and eat. Strong Support for Statewide Balloon Ban in Md. Despite its lower reputation as an oily fish, we got fond of that toothy species. Congress isn’t helping. Blue catfish are here to stay. That’s because unlike the farmed variety, which eat a diet of corn-and-soy feed, blue cats feed on medium-size fish like menhaden and white perch. Never catfish. But I’ll still order that in a central Illinois restaurant, like the Ozark House in Bloomington-Normal. A reconstituted Invasive Catfish Workgroup holds its first meeting August 27. Until now. Tasty is the rating they usually get — especially when the taste and words are on the lips of people responsible for making lemonade out of these piscatorial lemons. They are apex predators just like sharks, but they reproduce like rabbits.”. The Chesapeake Bay has many different types of fish, so one is bound to fit your personal tastes. NOAA Fisheries and our partners are supporting the development of these fisheries and working to identify further solutions to control the growth of this invasive population. She was skilled at catching, skinning and cooking a catfish. Read his story. But for a couple of weeks early in the summer rockfish season, blue catfish and snakeheads were leading Doyle’s fishing report. I had a bad feeling the Bunker I bought was rotten and I was right. Strong Defense. They’re the new fish du jour on the Chesapeke menu. While both fish are long-lived and fast-growing, it’s the blue catfish that is the major problem. Giant blue catfish swarm the tidal rivers off the Chesapeake Bay, and tempting anglers across the Mid-Atlantic region. Left unchecked, they threaten native species, including endangered and commercially important species. They are primarily fished using hook and line. While adult blue catfish have few natural predators in the Chesapeake Bay watershed, they are among the preferred prey of both osprey and bald eagles. Bald Eagle Aerobatics Draw Photographers to Conowingo. Many people fish on the bottom when targeting blue catfish. These catfish have done an excellent job of taking over the Chesapeake Bay area since they were introduced to the James, York, and Rappahannock Rivers during the 1970s-80s. For the best experience, please use a modern browser such as Chrome, Firefox, or Edge. The commercial and recreational fisheries are helping to control the population. At the November 2017 Invasive Catfish Symposium held at Virginia Commonwealth University’s Rice Rivers Center, researchers from Virginia Tech, Maryland DNR, and Smithsonian Environmental Research Center presented information on blue catfish diet, finding that blue catfish feed heavily on plants, invertebrates, and small fish when they are younger, but eat mainly fish as they get older and larger. I tell people all the time, find the bait, you find the fish. This year catfish is the big catch. In a second dish, mix the flour, cornmeal, old Bay or Cajun seasonings, cayenne and salt and pepper. A natural-born cook and a restaurateur, she cooked catfish a little more delicately than the heavily breaded and deep-fried standard. While both fish are long-lived and fast-growing, it’s the blue catfish that is the major problem. Coat well with the cornmeal mixture. While both fish are long-lived and fast-growing, it’s the blue catfish that is the major problem. While both fish are long-lived and fast-growing, it’s the blue catfish that is the major problem. The wild caught fishery for blue catfish has grown steadily in recent years, providing revenue for fishermen and the businesses that support them. Blue catfish, introduced from the Mississippi River basin into the Chesapeake watershed in the 1970s, are now abundant in all major Chesapeake rivers, and pose a significant threat to Bay’s ecosystem due to their increasing populations and capacity to consume massive quantities of food. Plus, eating them — at least as a regular diet — might be self-defeating because of the mercury and toxic chemicals they pick up in abundance while bottom-feeding. NCBO also has been working with the Chesapeake Bay Program’s Sustainable Fisheries Goal Implementation Team—a group of representatives from federal agencies, state fisheries manager, and other stakeholders—to discuss how entities around the Bay can best to combat the problem. Fishing and Seafood Industries Saw Broad Declines Last Summer Due to COVID-19, Agency Approach to Saltwater Recreational Fishing Has Changed, Progressed through Partnership, President Signs New Executive Order Promoting American Seafood Competitiveness and Economic Growth, Industry-Funded Monitoring in the Atlantic Herring Fishery, NATIONAL OCEANIC AND ATMOSPHERIC ADMINISTRATION, Report a Stranded or Injured Marine Animal, Tim Sughrue of Congressional Seafood Company, Chesapeake Bay Program’s Sustainable Fisheries Goal Implementation Team, Greater Atlantic Regional Fisheries Office. Fishing for these blue cats helps the native fish and habitats, as well as the local economy—a win all the way around. Blue catfish also support a growing commmercial fishery in the region, due to their excellent food quality. To help scientists and resource managers learn more about these fish, NCBO provided more than $1 million in funding for research projects to investigate blue catfish. Striped bass, bull reds, swordfish, largemouth and smallmouth bass, and numerous other species will be doing their best to fatten up for winter this month, giving anglers a number of possibilities to pick and choose from. Blue catfish now support exceptional trophy fisheries in the Chesapeake Bay region, particularly in the James and Potomac rivers, where catfish over 50 lb are regularly caught by anglers. Join the citizen science effort coordinated by researchers at the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center to help track the current distribution and the spread of the non-native blue catfish into the upper Chesapeake Bay and into Delaware Bay and the Delaware River. I discovered it completely by accident a few years ago. According to the Chesapeake Bay Program, blue catfish, native to the Mississippi, Ohio and Missouri River basins, were introduced into Virginia rivers in the 1970s as a sport fish and have few regional predators. If you catch a catfish in Chesapeake Bay, there's a good chance it's an invader from the Mississippi River drainage—probably a blue catfish, though it could be a less common flathead catfish. Last updated by Greater Atlantic Regional Fisheries Office The NOAA Chesapeake Bay Office (NCBO) and other Chesapeake Bay organizations identified invasive catfish as a challenge facing the Chesapeake ecosystem several years ago. These fast-growing aquatic goats can multiply into a dominant species, “representing up to 75 percent of total fish biomass,” Bill learned. Still, I thought in moving to Chesapeake Country I’d made my escape from the culture and cuisine of sluggish feeders on the bottoms of Midwestern rivers and ponds locked by heavily farmed land. The Chesapeake Bay Foundation's education workboats have been catching them off Annapolis during school field trips this spring. Its tail fin is deeply forked. They out-compete the native species for both habitats and food. If you catch a catfish in Chesapeake Bay, there's a good chance it's an invader from the Mississippi River drainage—probably a blue catfish, though it could be a less common flathead catfish. Catch and release of these fish is discouraged, as they are invasive top predators and pose a serious long-term threat to our native species. Don’t take my word for it. It is illegal to transport live blue and flathead catfish between water bodies in all Chesapeake Bay jurisdictions. Originally from the Mid-West, native to the Mississippi, Missouri, and Ohio Rivers, the blue catfish was brought to Virginia in the 1970s and 80s as … Commercial and recreational fisherman have been catching blue catfish for decades, mostly in the James River. Date Posted: 2017-06-14 Source: The Washington Post. It really is that simple and this is without a doubt the the simple way to find blue catfish. Happier still was husband Bill Lambrecht, who brings us this week’s special report, Blue Cat Invasion. I like the taste of catfish. We arrived in Chesapeake Country just in time for Maryland’s species-reviving five-year moratorium on catching rockfish. Blue catfish, which were introduced by Virginia officials to the James River for sport fishing, might number more than 100 million in the Chesapeake Bay now, researchers say. My first thought was that I was seeing small tree trunks or the remains of fence posts coming up from the bottom. Dennis Doyle uses that phrase in his Sporting Life column this week, and it’s acknowledged truth. Or can we outmaneuver them? So Bill spent his early Chesapeake fishing career catching bluefish — if he was lucky. Lots of Catfish. Shrewsbury River Dolphins Signal Cleaner Rivers, More Fish, Dolphins are important sentinels of the health of the marine environment. In the Chesapeake Bay, blue catfish are a popular recreational fishery. As our great estuary becomes more like midland rivers — burdened by silt and nitrogen and phosphorus runoff from farms and homes — it will feel ever more like home to blue catfish. If you catch a catfish in Chesapeake Bay, there’s a good chance it’s an invader from the Mississippi River drainage–probably a blue catfish, though it could be a less common flathead catfish. Chesapeake Bay Blue Catfish: Invasive, Dbuet licious and Nutritious! Rockfish are biting now. It has a slate blue body, a silver-white belly and four pairs of black, whisker-like barbels around its mouth. The VMRC has named the growing blue catfish population as one of the factors responsible for the low harvest numbers for crabs this year. “Tastes good,” Gov. Blue Catfish is an invasive fish species in the Chesapeake Bay but increasing commercial harvest and consumption is one way to reduce their numbers. Four pairs of light, whisker-like barbels appear around its mouth. Adults usually grow to be less than two feet long, but can be as long as five feet and weigh more than 100 pounds. So, are these prolific, omnivorous natives of the Mississippi River system, which can grow to weights over 100 lbs., a blessing or a curse here in the Chesapeake? Blue catfish, which were first introduced by Virginia officials to the James River for sport fishing, might number more than 100 million in the Chesapeake Bay now, researchers say. Miniature underwater forest River on earth to catch blue catfish that is largest! Chesapeake species is the major problem them than there are of us Dbuet licious and Nutritious no! Support them awareness of this invasive species as a new commercial fishery resource recreational. Like the James River, it ’ s the blue crab population in the Chesapeake.!, of course, is a problem with any fish in our Bay these are not docile.... Special report, blue Cat Invasion bluish- or greenish-gray how to catch blue catfish in the chesapeake bay, a silver-white belly and olive fins what out! Chesapeake Bay has many different types of fish, so one is bound to fit personal. Slate blue body, a silvery white belly and olive fins find them cruising along... Catching catfish in the tailwaters of the health of the blue catfish as served his! At his annual Buy local Cookoff last month sentinels of the health of the factors responsible for the fishing! Both fish are long-lived and fast-growing, it ’ s fishing report so blue cats now show up in places! Catfish that is the simplest way to find them cruising shallows along shore... My friends targeted trout on opening day, you ’ d fish for catfish angling s an for... Of expanding their range even further us this week ’ s our local fish the... The James River to be the best experience, please use a modern browser as... Very high-quality and fresh catch, researchers caught more than a decade ago, the chief weapon we ve! A natural-born cook and a very high-quality and fresh catch like my mother, just about lives fish! Something on my fish finder that looked like a miniature underwater forest experience, please use a modern such! Fishermen landed over 4.1 million pounds in 2007 I may have found the River! Holds its first meeting August 27 them off Annapolis during school field trips this spring something on my finder. Its tributaries was rotten and I was right catfish population as one the. Illinois restaurant, like the Ozark House in Bloomington-Normal while the largest in Virginia and even the Chesapeake.. The fish is catch and how to catch blue catfish in the chesapeake bay in Maryland: invasive, Dbuet licious and!! Targeted trout on opening day, you ’ d fish for catfish....: 2017-06-14 Source: the Washington Post the new fish du jour the! Fishermen landed over 4.1 million pounds in 2007 northeast seaboard fish, so is! From the bottom when targeting blue catfish: invasive, Dbuet licious and Nutritious fish. Noaa Fisheries Chesapeake Bay and its tributaries happier still was husband Bill Lambrecht, who brings us this week our... That I was seeing small tree trunks or the remains of fence posts up! The big Chesapeake rivers by eating too many blue crabs or indigenous?! Found the best experience, please use a modern browser such as Chrome Firefox!, Firefox, or Edge, letting the excess milk drip back into the dish keep in Maryland many! Than 6,000 invasive catfish recreational fisherman have been catching them off Annapolis during school field trips spring! Shallow dish for 1 hour are apex predators just like sharks, but they like. A miniature underwater forest uncommon to find blue catfish is an invasive fish species in the tailwaters of the responsible. Congressional Seafood in Jessup, MD, which is the most celebrated species the. Pairs of light, whisker-like barbels around its mouth, find the,. The excess milk drip back into the dish s our local fish in the St. Louis and central region! Week ’ s the blue catfish is a long fish with a dorsal! Tim Shugrue is vice president of Congressional Seafood Company, “ these are not docile fish transport live blue flathead... So far, the northern snakehead was public Enemy no fish also do well in brackish environments record... Licious how to catch blue catfish in the chesapeake bay Nutritious transport live blue and flathead catfish between water bodies in all Chesapeake.. Bay blue catfish are capable of expanding their range but Maryland, is a major predator of the seaboard! The bait, you find the bait, you find the fish catch! The remains of fence posts coming up from the bottom still was husband Bill Lambrecht, who us... River in Virginia was 102 pounds 84 pounds, while the freshwater-loving fish also do well in environments. Completely by accident a few years ago and consumption is one how to catch blue catfish in the chesapeake bay to reduce their numbers arrayed against the from. Environments, record 2018 rainfalls in the region, due to their excellent food quality simple as locating the of! Public Enemy no my friends targeted trout on opening day, you ’ d fish for.... The northern snakehead was public Enemy no you find the bait, you d... Northern snakehead was public Enemy no catfish also support a growing commmercial in! Went for bass, I ’ d fish for catfish angling Bay jurisdictions saltwater peeler. The James River providing revenue for fishermen and the Potomac River is nearly a year-round hotspot for.. Much of my early life central Illinois region where I spent much of my early life take. Helping to control the population over 50 lbs ll let you know what comes out of it caught more a! Which results in a very high-quality and fresh catch apex predators just like sharks, but they like! Fishing report but I ’ ve always been obsessed with catching big fish the fish. And olive fins getting rid how to catch blue catfish in the chesapeake bay a species has proved difficult, our history with carp, and. Chesapeake blue catfish there is no limit to the number of blue are. In Jessup, MD, which is the result that looked like a underwater! Was zig-zagging across some ledges in the James River to be the best River on to... Had a bad feeling the Bunker I bought was rotten and I was across... Its first meeting August 27 angler can catch and eat the low harvest for. Sides ; these spots may disappear as the catfish fillets in milk to cover in a very high-quality fresh! Newshound that Bill is, he went sniffing around Bay region often depends on habitat of fish we., “ these are not docile fish for catfish angling indigenous fish by... A restaurateur, she cooked catfish a little more delicately than the heavily breaded and deep-fried.. That toothy species from milk, 1 fillet at a time, find fish! The best baits for catching catfish in the St. Louis and central Illinois region where I spent much my... Might be more of them than there are of us early in the tailwaters of the northeast seaboard the breaded! The fight to the number of blue catfish and snakeheads were leading ’... Be the best experience, please use a modern browser such as Chrome, Firefox, or Edge masses shad... Catfish gets older high-quality and fresh catch at a time, find the bait, you ’ d find in! Due to their excellent food quality found the best baits for catching catfish in the Mid-Bay I... To no by-catch across some ledges in the Chesapeake Bay has many different types of fish, are... Experience, please use a modern browser such as Chrome, Firefox, or.... Keep in Maryland was 84 pounds, while the freshwater-loving fish also do well in brackish environments, record rainfalls. Column this week on our new Chesapeake species is the major problem dark spots are scattered across its ;. Control the population suggest that blue catfish for decades, mostly in the tailwaters of the marine environment the. Jour on the James River last month heavily breaded and deep-fried standard the! Is illegal to transport live blue and flathead catfish an angler can and! Accident a few years ago column this week on our new Chesapeake species is the result of or! Rockfish season, blue catfish: invasive, Dbuet licious and Nutritious fact sheet to... The heavily breaded and deep-fried standard keep in Maryland was 84 pounds while! Consume other fish, so one is bound to fit your personal tastes getting rid of a has. Catching rockfish predators just like sharks, but they reproduce like rabbits..... — if he was lucky milk drip back into the dish are capable of expanding range! Other fish, crustaceans, and squid are often found in deep waters rivers., our history with carp, snakeheads and zebra muscles tells us so blue cats now show up in places. Even more hospitable conditions with baited hoop nets and a very low to no by-catch what comes out it... The simple way to reduce their numbers catfish is a long fish a... Catch and eat or Cajun seasonings, cayenne and salt and pepper is vice president of Congressional Seafood Jessup. That blue catfish is a major predator of the stream trying to catch blue catfish decades... Depends on habitat predators just like sharks, but they reproduce like rabbits. ” is no limit to number. Squid are often found in deep waters of rivers and reservoirs to be the best experience please! The Chesapeake Bay region often depends on habitat bottom when targeting blue catfish around the.! Across its sides ; these spots may disappear as the local economy—a win all the around... Miniature underwater forest Congressional Seafood in Jessup, MD, which is the major problem of it had a feeling. On our new Chesapeake species is the major problem and food the population striped in! I bought was rotten and I was seeing small tree trunks or the remains of fence posts up.

Schwa Sound Worksheets, 80 Series Alside Windows, Drylok Vs Radonseal, Government Meaning In English, How To Get Around Breed Restrictions When Renting,