Fishing the Schuylkill after Irene

Catastrophes can be good and bad for fishing (most of times it's on the negative side), believe it or not. Although it's insanely destructive for us, there are a couple advantages that catastrophes can bring. On one hand, species of fish can travel through flooded areas to new locations, and make residence in inhabited areas. On the other hand, invasive species can proliferate at areas that they once didn't belong to. Catastrophes involving watersheds often create new structures, and alters fish's feeding behavior and location. However, they may as well destroy old structure and move a lot of debris (usually related to pollution) into the waters we fish.

Irene was a big hit in the Eastern Coast, damaging many watersheds around pennsylvania. The Schuylkill River was one of the rivers that suffered a lot. I'll post below a couple links related to floods in different areas of the Schuylkill River. As for me, a resident in Center City - Philadelphia, not many damaged was seen. However, Irene did bring a lot of damage...

Route 29 - Between Phoenixville and Mont Clare

Kelly Drive and Midvale, East Falls

Center City - Philadelphia

Port Indian (West Norristown)

Fairmount Dam (Center City)


And of course we had other watersheds all flooded as well:

Ridley Creek State Park

PennyPack Park

Wissahickon Park

Somewhere in Chadds Ford, PA.

Saw Creek States, Bushkill, PA

It's evident that I had to wait a couple days after the storms to fish. It was basically impossible to fish the creeks, and the Schuylkill as well. My alternative was the FDR park (lakes), but it was quite messy over there as well.

Therefore, I waited a couple days and went fishing at the Schuylkill River. However, my classes had started, and I couldn't carry my gear around. Therefore, I just went there to fish 2 times between my class breaks (Yes, that's how dedicated I am to fishing) with 30lb braided line, 2oz sinkers, size #4 hooks and nightcrawlers. Since I didn't have a rod and reel with me (it's impossible for me to bring it to class with me, unless I want to be looked up as a weirdo), I had to rely on the ancient technique of simply fishing with a line. Basically, you use strong/resistant equipment to make up for the lack of line (since you don't have a reel). Also, it's very advised to tie your knots with braided line, and use strong knots. I would particularly recommend a Palomar or a Improved Clinch in most cases.

I ended both days (Wednesday and Friday) with some eels and no catfish whatsoever. It was a shame because last year I caught my biggest catfish while the river was flooded. I guess the reason they were not bitting these two days was because (1) the current of the river was still too strong), and (2) I didn't cast far enough. If I had my rods with me, I would probably have had a couple more options, and increased success. However, things are how they are - we use what we can, and we do what we can.

The photos below are of Wednesday, August 31st. Those are photos of the after-damage Irene brought to the Schuylkill in the Center City portion of the river. Since I didn't catch any special fish (neither big fish, or different species), I've nothing special to present to you. =) Sorry.

Betweem JFK and the train bridge.

Fishing with ancient technique, certainly.

The mess after Irene.

And finally: more mess!

Things should definitely be better now.

Therefore, best of luck for all of us!

Long days and pleasant nights,


Leo S.


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