Muscatine woman “terrified” of snakes catches snake on fish hook

(Jim Van Winkle)
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MUSCATINE CO., Iowa (KWQC) – Katharina Fitch decided to spend part of Mother’s Day fishing at Wiese Slough in Muscatine County.

The novice angler had just gotten her fishing license an hour earlier when she snagged a bizarre chain reaction.

She hooked an ordinary bluegill which she soon realized was being attacked by a northern water snake which refused to give up.

“The snake was quite aggressive towards the fish, and would lunge at it every time it lost it, and caught it again every time,” Fitch’s friend Jim Van Winkle explains in a Facebook post.

He also adds that Fitch “is terrified of snakes.”

Facebook commenters speculated that it was a poisonous snake, perhaps a cottonmouth, but the Iowa Department of Natural Resources confirms it is northern water snake which is not venomous but indeed does like to eat fish.

The DNR says northern water snakes are common in Iowa but cottonmouths (also known as water moccasins) are not found in Iowa.

This academic distinction meant little to Fitch who was reacting with “horror” and fascination over a snake repeatedly attacking her catch, according to Van Winkle.

“We were fishing catch and release, and Katharina felt bad that the fish was getting bitten,” Van Winkle said.

Van Winkle snapped a photo of the spectacle which shows the brutal reality of the food chain: a worm being eaten by a fish which is being eaten by a snake.


Katharina Fitch of Muscatine, Iowa reeled in a snake eating a fish on May 14, 2017. (Jim Van Winkle)