The Snakeheads are members of the freshwater perciform fish family Channidae. The various species of Snakeheads differ greatly in size. "Dwarf snakeheads", such as Channa gachua, grow to 25 cm (9.8 in). Most other snakeheads reach between 60 and 90 cm (24 and 35 in). Three species (Channa barca , Channa marulius and Channa micropeltes), can reach a length of more than 1 m (3 ft 3 in).They are valuable as a food source and have become notorious as an intentionally released invasive species.They can breathe out of water from 3 to 7 days.
The Snakehead has a long, thin body that can grow to 47 inches and 15 pounds. It has a somewhat flattened head with eyes located in a dorsolateral position on the anterior part of the head; tubular anterior nostrils; elongated dorsal and anal fins; and a truncated tail. As the name implies, the scaled head of the fish looks like a snake and includes a large mouth with sharp teeth and protruding lower jaws. Snakeheads change color as they mature; younger fish may be gold-tinted brown to pale gray in color, while older fish are generally dark brown with large black blotches.
Snakehead fishermen should use equipment that can handle northern pike or a bigger largemouth bass. Fly-casting for Snakeheads is done with rods in the 6-10 weight range. A fly rod used for largemouth bass or even tarpon can easily be used for Snakeheads. The 6-weight will perform well on smaller Snakeheads but will lack the muscle if a big one is hooked. A 12-weight rod can hoist in a trophy Snakehead with ease. Tough line is needed for the potential slash of the teeth and for working over the thick abrasive cover where the Snakehead lurks. Braided line is the best choice. High-strength monofilament or fluorocarbon line in the 15-30 pound range is the next choice. The Snakehead diet varies and they are opportunistic hunters. They will feed on bluegills, small carp, crayfish, a drowning mouse, large terrestrials like beetles, and fluttering dragonflies touching the water's surface film. For casting flies, the best choices are bass poppers, swimming frogs, large streamers, and of course; the classic woolly bugger.
Snakeheads are native to the continents of Asia and Africa. They have also been introduced to other areas in the world such as Hawaii, Madagascar, Taiwan and Southern Japan. Snakeheads have also been found in some waterways in the USA such as Maryland, Potomac River and parts of Florida.