Maryland State Record Blue Catfish

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The Maryland state record for blue catfish was broken when a Pennsylvania angler caught a massive blue catfish in the Potomac River near Fort Washington. The 80-pound, 12-ounce blue catfish was caught on February 23, 2012 in the Potomac River near Fort Washington, Md.

Shawn Wetzel, 27 of Orrtana, Pennsylvania, landed the monster blue catfish which outweighed the previous state record catfish by 13 pounds. The previous state record blue catfish weighed over 67 pounds. Both record catfish were caught in the tidal Potomac.

Blue catfish are native to the Mississippi River Valley and were introduced to the James and Rappahannock Rivers in the 1970s. Since then, the fish have reproduced and spread throughout the tidal Potomac River system.

Flathead catfish and blue catfish have since been identified in the Nanticoke, Susquehanna and Northeast Rivers, Upper Chesapeake Bay and other waters.

Blue and flathead catfish are invasive, non-native species that are long-lived, fast growing and opportunistic feeders. Consequently, State and Federal

fisheries managers are concerned about their affect on the ecosystem, and are working together to develop strategies to mitigate their impact.

The Chesapeake Bay Program’s Sustainable Fisheries Goal Team, which includes representatives from Virginia, Maryland, the Potomac River Fisheries Commission, District of Columbia, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration National Marine Fisheries Service, and Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission, recently adopted a Chesapeake Bay blue and flathead catfish policy to reduce these catfish populations and to stem their spread.

In August, 2011, The Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission approved a resolution expressing concern about the impacts of blue and flathead catfish to Atlantic coast migratory fish species

source: MD DNR