County Executive Douglas M. Duncan said he will make it illegal to possess the dreaded fish and announced plans to send inspectors to pet stores to ensure they are not selling snakeheads.
The county executive made the announcement at Wheaton Regional Park, where a fisherman plucked a 19-inch snakehead out of Pine Lake on Monday.
Duncan said he is imposing a ban on possessing the fish because of the threat it poses, and hopes state officials will soon ban it throughout Maryland.
"It's like a creature out of science fiction," he said.
Crews yesterday began clearing the lake of all fish -- electroshocking them and scooping them into nets -- and draining the 5-acre waterway. The fish were put in a water-filled tank on a truck and taken to other ponds and lakes in state parks.
Meanwhile, the angler who caught the fish, Terry Wintermoyer, 23, returned to the lake yesterday and disclosed that he was called by David Letterman's staff Wednesday and is weighing their offer to appear on the show.
"You just might see me on there," he said.
The northern snakehead is an Asian predator known for being able to walk on land with its fins, multiply quickly and devour other fish.
Wintermoyer said the fish he caught showed its aggressive side by biting into the boot of a passer-by.
State officials say that based on surveys, there's no apparent threat to downstream waterways. The pond feeds into the Northwest Branch, a tributary of the Anacostia and the Potomac rivers, state wildlife officials said.
State officials said yesterday that the captured snakehead is female but that there is no way of knowing if it had spawned any eggs in the lake.
Electrofishing by two DNR boats yesterday turned up dozens of fish, most of them bass and sunfish, some trout, but little evidence that the snakehead had a mate.
"No snakeheads yet," said Don Cosden, a DNR regional coordinator for freshwater fisheries.
After the electrofishing ended, the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission turned on pumps to send water from the lake through hoses, over the man-made dam and into large mesh bags, where the water was filtered for fish and fish eggs.