WHEATON, Md. — Authorities plan to drain a Maryland lake after an angler caught a northern snakehead, the same voracious nonnative fish that infested a pond only miles away in 2002.
State officials said the 19-inch fish, an Asian species that can wriggle on land for short distances and eat so many smaller fish that it can destroy an ecosystem, was pulled out of Pine Lake in Wheaton Regional Park on Monday.
The lake north of Washington, D.C., feeds a tributary of the Anacostia River, which empties into the Potomac River.
State biologists used electric shocks Tuesday to try to get a rise out of any other snakeheads, but none appeared. Wire mesh was placed over a pipe that leads out of the lake to prevent others from escaping. Draining of the lake could begin as early as today, officials said.
The fish that was caught was believed to be about 4 years old, but how long it was in the lake, how it got there and whether it was male or female was not known, said Steve Early, assistant fisheries director for the Department of Natural Resources.
He said the state did not foresee a serious environmental threat, because only one snakehead was found and it was not spawning season for the fish.