City living in the concrete jungle doesn’t mean there isn’t access to some great fishing opportunities. You would be surprised how close Philly is to top notch fishing spots.
You have the chance to catch monster carp, catfish, bass, walleye, striped bass and even trout within the Philadelphia city limits. I saw a guy pull a monster brown trout right from the waterworks dam one day. So here are my picks for fishing near Philadelphia.
These are the Best Fishing Spots Near Philadelphia:
- Waterworks on the Schuylkill River
- Wissahickon Creek
- Delaware River
- Pennypack Park
- Cobbs Creek Park
- FDR Park
- Philly Sewers
Waterworks on the Schuylkill River
The Schuylkill River is an excellent fishery. It flows through center city Philadelphia and dumps into the Delaware River. Here you have resident fish and migratory species like stripers and Atlantic shad in the Spring.
The water works sits on a dam and the lower area is home to many species. You can fish from the East side walls at the water works or enter from West River Drive and fish the rocks.
Both are equally as productive, though the water works side you will be fishing down the walls into the river. So you will need a net to hoist your catch up from those heights.
Check out this video of the fish ladder at the falls with all types of species passing through and caught on camera.
This creek runs through the park and is home to a few great pools for catching spring trout or bass all year round. The Wissahickon is a stocked creek with spring rainbow, brown and sometimes a rare golden trout each year for the season.
There are many pools throughout the creek and an area below a dam on Ridge Ave right before the creek dumps into the Schuylkill River. Definitely fish this creek for trout in the Spring from April through May.
Summer you should target carp, rock bass and smallmouth. Lots of sunfish too if you want to take the kids out for a day and let them have fun. Those fish will literally eat anything.
The Delaware River
Technically there isn’t an “East Philly”, but you could say that it is the Delaware River. Most folks think the Delaware is a dirty and polluted river with no more fishing opportunities than the sewers. Yes, maybe 40 years ago, but now it is surprisingly a great spot to catch fish in Philly.
The river is full of species with your typical catfish and carp varieties as most cities have. Then you have large and small mouth bass, pickerel, and even muskie available to catch.
Every spring the shad and striped bass run up the Delaware to spawn and pass right through Philly. Around the same time there is a herring run. Whether you fish from shore, pier or boat, you can have a great day fishing here.
The Pennypack Creek is tucked away in the Greater Northeast section of Philadelphia. This is one of few spots in the city stocked with trout each spring season.
The creek is a tributary of the Delaware River and the park extends from Huntingdon Valley through NE Philadelphia and ends at the river. There are numerous pools and fishing holes along the way throughout the park.
You can find bass, catfish, carp and other types of fish here to catch. Bring light tackle gear and have fun all day.
There are many access points to the creek and parking available throughout the park areas.
Cobbs Creek is located on the border of West Philly and Delaware County. The creek stretches 11 miles and links with the Darby Creek before dumping into the Delaware River. If you are looking for some carp fishing action, this is your creek. Many nice mirror carp are caught here all the time and they have some really nice size to them.
It is a smaller creek, but expect to catch plenty of sunfish, catfish and the occasional bass. Bait fishing is the typical style for this tributary.
FDR Park & Meadow Lake
More of a pond than a lake, Meadow Lake is located in FDR Park which is in the stadiums area of South Philly. Surprisingly this pond has everything from bass, to crappy to carp and the invasive snakehead fish.
There is more than just one body of water here though. Actually there are five or six places to fish, especially if you include the pond in the golf course. Which I believe is private, but you can try your luck at your own risk :).
Lures work well throughout this lake and if you find areas with current and cover, try tossing some baits. If you love catching fish for the fun and maybe with the kids, this is the place.
You might think this is a joke, but I kid you not. The sewers run to and from the rivers and the catfish are smart enough to know people drop a lot of food in the drains around the city. They don’t call it filthydelphia for nothing.
Pro fisherman Mike Iacanelli did a publicity stunt setting up shop on a street corner in downtown Philly and drop baits into the street sewers. It is hilarious and you need to watch this video.
If you want to learn a lot about Philly fishing spots and where to go, I suggest you check out the youtube channel of Leo Sheng and Extreme Philly Fishing. Tons of great info here as he takes you around the city and all the different spots to catch fish.