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. Blue catfish is a newcomer to Washington stores and restaurants, it’s sustainably caught in the Chesapeake Bay, and it’s probably tastier than any catfish you’ve ever had. Some specimens have obvious dark edges on their fins. Inside wriggled a 12-pound blue catfish. Lifespan 5 to 22 years Status Stable Also known as the yellow or mud catfish, the flathead catfish is a large, smooth-skinned fish with a yellow to purple-brown body and whisker-like barbels around its mouth. Straight or slightly notched tail margin. Channel catfish are common in tidal rivers and creeks of the Chesapeake Bay watershed. Spread of invasive species: The blue catfish, an invasive species in the Chesapeake, has spread over the last two summers due to the lower salinity levels. It is smooth-skinned, with a bluish- or greenish-gray body, a silvery white belly and olive fins. Harris Creek Oyster Co. opened a stall at Camden Yards this year, offering pink catfish fillets caught fresh from the Potomac and served in sandwiches. Gertrude's is serving two menu items that use the invasive Blue Catfish an an ingredient. The Chesapeake Bay is the largest estuary in the United States and is surrounded by two states, Maryland and Virginia. The state record channel catfish (Chesapeake division) is 29.63 lbs. They were introduced to several rivers on Virginia’s Western Shore decades ago. As the next installment in a series of stories inspired by readers’ questions, The Baltimore Sun took a look at lake trout, that beloved Baltimore specialty steeped in heritage and tradition. And the average commercial harvest in Maryland and Virginia between 2000 and 2009 was more than 55 million pounds each year! White catfish Ameiurus catus were once the dominant catfish species found in the brackish waters of the Bay. 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. Testing of blue catfish gut contents shows they aren't picky eaters, devouring everything from blue crabs to mussels and clams to young shad, herring and sturgeon. Its tail fin is deeply forked. Blue catfish were introduced as sport fish to the Chesapeake in the 1970s. species please contact the Natural Resources Police at 800-628-9944. January 11, 2019. Typically olive or yellow/brown on top with a yellow or cream underside. Some fish can become more salt tolerant when exposed to brackish waters like those in the Bay. The Maryland state record blue catfish is 84 pounds. Commercial watermen in Maryland and Virginia harvested more than 5 million pounds of them in 2017 — almost twice as much as the states’ combined striped bass commercial harvest. I had Catfish on the lines all day. "It's a twofold problem," said Wendy Stuart, a trained chef and the Wide Net Project's co-founder and executive director. People thought that these fish, which like fresh water, would stay in those rivers. Blue catfish is a newcomer to Washington stores and restaurants, it’s sustainably caught in the Chesapeake Bay, and it’s probably tastier than any catfish you’ve ever had. Chesapeake Bay Overview Spanning over 200 miles from its Susquehanna River headwaters to the north to the southern mouth of the bay where it meets the Atlantic Ocean, the Chesapeake Bay is an angler’s paradise offering a large variety of fishing opportunities year-round. The fish can live to 20 years. (Photo by Will Parson/Chesapeake Bay Program) by Joan Smedinghoff. Cook it simply: pan-seared in butter, doused with fresh lemon, served atop spring-fresh potato salad. Brown bullhead are typically small fish, less than 12" In length, but larger fish can be found . More information about the white catfish can be found on our Fish Facts Page. The black duck, the canvasback , and the blue-winged teal that sail in for landings, then stretch their wings or dive for food are doing much as ducks have done for centuries on the river. Catfish also seem well adapted to disturbed ecosystems near urban areas, such as Richmond and Newport News. Thomas said most customers are "pleasantly surprised" by what he describes as the cleaner flavor of blue catfish. (Kenneth K. Lam, Baltimore Sun video). Typical size for a tadpole madtom is 2-4 inches. Typical size for a Stonecat is 4-9 inches. At facilities in Hagerstown and Cumberland, cooks serve up spicy catfish to prisoners. Flathead are an introduced species and are currently found in only a few places in the Chesapeake Bay; the Potomac River, Upper Bay, Elk and Sassafras Rivers. Giant blue catfish swarm the tidal rivers off the Chesapeake Bay, and tempting anglers across the Mid-Atlantic region. To Be A Blue Catfish Expert, You Need To Be A Bait Expert. They swam out into the Bay and back into other rivers. Rocky Rice heads out on the Potomac River as soon as it's light enough to see. Here below is the Bay Journal’s 2014 story on the last full-blown study of the blue catfish problem. Pete Springer, a Charles County waterman, fishes for invasive blue catfish in the Potomac River near Mallows Bay. Springer, who also fishes in the Potomac, said he never saw catfish while growing up in Southern Maryland, but in recent years has turned more and more to netting them for his living. Up the Bay for crabs this year Hagerstown and Cumberland, cooks up! 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