Exploring and Fishing the Wissahickon Creek

Hello, Readers!
Today, I'm introducing you guys to the Wissahickon Creek from East Falls to Valley Inn. The Wissahickon is one of the two main Creeks suitable for fishing around these areas, the other one being the Pennypack Creek. The Creek is stocked with Trout during the Spring season, not to mention that it has a healthy population of Redbreast Sunfish, Rock Bass, and even Smallmouth Bass (among other Species). The name of it comes from two Lenape words: "Wisaucksickan" and "Wisamickan," meaning yellow-colored stream and catfish creak, respectively. Interesting, huh? Heh.
I still remember my first time there! After a long time fishing in Philadelphia, I had finally decided to explore the Wissahickon Creek. Living close to the Frankford Transportation Center, I would always see the Bus "R" getting out of there, going directly towards the "Wissahickon Transfer Center."

I remember that at that time, somehow, I never really thought of going there. I guess it was due to the fact that I was pretty happy fishing my regular spots and catching the "regular" fish. But soon the urge to explore came, and the Wissahickon was soon added to my list.

My first time there was on July 1st, 2011. I went out very early and took the R Bus from the Frankford Transportation Center to the last stop - Wissahickon Transfer Center. For those that use public transportation, note that not all R buses stop at the Transfer Center! You can look at the bus schedule here.

In reality, there are many positives in taking public transportation when going out for fishing. It's true that it can be time consuming on one hand; however, on the other hand, one doesn't need to worry about parking or gas (no tickets, yay!) or traffic, not to mention that using mass transportation means less pollutants in the air (after all, less cars on the move). The concept of a "greener World," I guess. Haha.

As I arrived at the Transfer Center, I crossed the street to enter the Park. Now...good news, guys: right at the entrance of the Wissahickon Park, there was already a Dam! Normally, for anglers, dams are godly places to fish. That's usually where the big fish are, seriously. Isn't the Fairmount Dam one of the best spots in the city? Doesn't the Trout in the Pennypack Creek concentrate below the dam? Well...you can go to both places and find the answers for yourself!

It was a little bit weird to fish there, though. Everyone was looking at me, specially the people waiting for the buses at the Transfer Center. If you are really the kind of fisherman that doesn't care about it, cast near the base of the dam and rest assured: you will get something. =)

I remember clearly that my first day the Wissahickon wasn't very productive. I ended up with a couple Redbreast Sunfish and Green Sunfish. But still, I was amazed for finding a new place to fish!

Now, after two years of fishing around Philly, I can say that I've explored a good portion of the Wissahickon Creek (from East Falls to Valley Inn), not to mention that I've fished tons of different Species from the Wissahickon!

So, let's get down to business. These are the types of fish that I've caught so far in the Wissahickon Creek:

Redbreast Sunfish: Just like the other Creeks around Philadelphia, the Redbreast Sunfish are the abundant population in the Creek! They come in all sizes, and they can be found almost everywhere! During the Spring season, it's lots of fun to fish for bedding Redbreast Sunfish, since the bigger ones can be sight-fished in the shallow water. Worms will work fine for them; although, I've caught the bigger ones on 3-inch Senkos, in-line spinners, and Trout magnets.

May 4th, 2013 - Redbreast Sunfish caught on a sinking 3-inch Gary Yamamoto Senko.

May 20th, 2012 - A bedding Redbreast Sunfish caught on a Trout magnet on the bottom.
Green Sunfish: The Wissahickon Creek has a limited population of Green Sunfish. They are more aggressive than the Redbreast Sunfish (above), and less aggressive than the Rock Bass (below). The same techniques used for Redbreast Sunfish will work with them.
August 9th, 2011 - Green Sunfish caught on a Gulp! Minnow.
Rock Bass: Neshaminy>Wissahickon>Pennypack: this is the order that I would give to you readers when it comes to Rock Bass populations in Creeks around here. The Neshaminy Creek is in Bucks County; therefore, the Wissahickon is definitely your best bet for catching a nice Rock Bass. Fortunately, the Wissahickon has a healthy population of them! The bigger ones are lots of fun to catch during spawning season (around end of April, beginning of May), since they are bedding.
Small ones are often caught on nightcrawlers, close to structure. Bigger ones can be caught on Trout Magnets, in-line spinners, small Senkos, etc; just like the Redbreast Sunfish and Green Sunfish. Note that the Rock Bass are much more aggressive than the Redbreast Sunfish, and they also tend to fight better than the Green Sunfish! Using an ultra-light set up to catch them is a blast.
May 4th, 2013 - Rock Bass caught on a 3-inch Gary Yamamoto Senko, wacky rigged.

May 4th, 2013 - A small Rock Bass, caught on the same lure as cited above.
Creek Chub: Somehow, Creek Chubs are very rare in the Wissahickon Creek from East Falls to Valley Inn. Maybe it's because the population of Smallmouth Bass in the Creek ate them all. So far, in two years of fishing at the Wissahickon, I was only able to catch one Creek Chub, and it was on a Gulp! Minnow. From my experience, Creek Chubs will eat all sorts of insects and little baits; therefore, the regular nightcrawler is an ideal bait for them.
May 20th, 2012 - Creek Chub caught on a "Gulp! Minnow," on a 1/64oz. jig.
Common Carp: There's a very limited population of Common Carp in the Wissahickon Creek due to overharvesting. To start with, their numbers were already very low. Somehow, people just love to harvest them for human consumption, even though they are highly contaminated with PCBs (Polychlorinated Byphenils) and heavy metals, not to mention that they supposedly taste like mud.
Slow pools and currents are your best shot for them. My advice is to always chum in-session and be patient. =) In the Wissahickon between East Falls and Valley Inn, they can get up to 8lbs or so.
July 19th, 2011 - Common Carp caught on a piece of kernel corn.
Smallmouth Bass: Other than the stocked Trout by the PA Fish and Boat Commission, the Smallmouth Bass are probably the best Gamefish in the Wissahickon Creek! The Creek has a moderate amount of Smallies, and their sizes range from 6 inches to 15 inches.

My advice for fishing this Species of fish is to cast and walk - in other words, the "finding the fish" approach. I've been successful with Senkos and in-line Spinners, but I'm pretty sure that fish imitations (i.e. shallow crankbait) and flies will nail them very good!

May 20th, 2012 - A Smallmouth Bass caught on a Dragonfly softbait.

May 4th, 2013 - A Smallmouth Bass caught on a 5-inch Gary Yamamoto Senko (clearly).

Rainbow/Brown/Golden Rainbow Trout: They are stocked by the PA Fish and Boat Commission during the Spring. You can check the stocking schedules here.

Browns can be caught on a variety of lures and live bait. Different than the Rainbow Trout, Browns will feed mainly on live organisms! They are also more aggressive than Rainbows, and they put up a better fight. Nightcrawlers and in-line Spinners work best for them. Powerbait, corn, and other types of "dead" baits can catch them, but are less effective. Rainbows are caught more often on "dead" baits: Powerbait is a good option for Rainbows, as well as kernel corn, salmon eggs, etc. Similar than Browns in terms of Trout lies, Rainbows can usually be found in deep pools and currents. In other words, lures will work for both Species! The last one of the three stocked Trouts - The Golden Rainbow Trout - is a rarity around these areas! It's usually referred as the "Palomino Trout," which is a wrong definition of it (for more details, click here). Some people refer to it as the "fish of a life time:" It's rare, it's big, and it can be easily seem in the Creek (meaning that their wariness is top notch). They seriously behave like a combination of Brown and Rainbow (I know it sounds like Pokemon now, but it's just the way it's) - they strike lures, eat Powerbait, nightcrawlers, bugs, etc.

June 18th, 2012 - Rainbow Trout caught at Forbidden Drive, on an in-line spinner.

October 18th, 2012 - Rainbow Trout caught on a piece of kernel corn. They used to be stocked at the Wissahickon Creek during Fall. Now the Trout Stocking at Wissahickon Creek is only during Spring.

April 6th, 2013 - Andrew N. with a Brown Trout from the Wissahickon Creek, caught on Powerbait. You can watch the video of him catching it here.

April 6th, 2013 - Andrew N. with a Golden Rainbow Trout from the Wissahickon Creek, also caught on Powerbait. You can watch the video of Andrew N. catching the Golden Rainbow Trout here.

April 6th, 2013 - A Golden Rainbow Trout from Forbidden Drive, Wissahickon Creek. 

These are all the Species of fish that I've caught at the Wissahickon so far. My advice: look for them in currents, deep pools, slow pools, and under dams. =)

Best luck for all of us.

Long Days and Pleasant Nights,


Leo S.