Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge (NWR) is not the epicenter of the Snakehead introduction in Maryland or the USA. However, it is now the home to the biggest population of Northern Snakehead in the United States. The Potomac River was known for the largest population, however, the clear water of the shallows and the access for bow fishing has kept that population relatively in check. Blackwater was once a quiet and hidden gem of great fishing on Maryland’s Eastern Shore. The locations of Snakehead were highly guarded and information was hard to come by. In late 2019, a study was published that brought light to the surge of the Northern Snakehead. Locals took that information with the loss of local populations of largemouth bass, white & yellow perch, and crappie. Now to help control the Northern Snakehead locals are giving up spots to catch quality and quantity of Northern Snakehead.
WARNING – FISH AT YOUR OWN RISK INSIDE THE REFUGE AND MAKE SURE YOU UNDERSTAND THE RULES AND REGULATIONS.
You technically can only fish from a few locations from shore as it’s prohibited for 99% of the refuge. This is because the shoreline is marsh and unsafe for walking. It is also to help preserve the natural shoreline as well. This means the best way to fish the refuge is from a proper boat or kayak. There are several kayak launching locations and one distant boat ramp to get into the refuge.
Snakehead Fishing Blackwater Locations: S=Shore, K=Kayak, and B=Boat
- 335 Bridge (S & K): This is a long stretch of bank and a bridge that will offer limited shore fishing for Northern Snakehead. This location is the best soft launch available to get after Northern Snakeheads. The parking can be problematic on the weekends so have patients. Also, don’t be that person who parks like an a$$ and just leaves stuff in the way.
- Key Wallace Bridge (S & K): This area has a small bridge and somewhat decent parking along the shoulder of the road. The area is probably one of the deeper areas and seems to be the favorite winter fishing location for locals. This area also has a lot of debris in the water and will snag a lot of your lures and live bait rigs, so be prepared.
- Little Blackwater River (K). There is a small soft launch just off of Egypt Rd
- Shorter’s Warf Boat Ramp (K & B): Maple Damn Road and as of January 2020, one side of the bridge is being worked on so accessing this ramp may be difficult or take a little longer than usual.
This is just the beginning of places to explore Snakehead Fishing Blackwater NWR. One last reminder, know where you are fishing and don’t just assume you have permission. Honestly, most of the areas outside of the ones listed above are off-limits or private property. If you look at Good Maps and you are inside the green area fishing from shore and not in the above-mentioned location, you are in the wrong area.