Today I'm introducing you guys to a very interesting watershed - the Tookany Creek - which is located in Cheltenham. This little Creek is interesting because it's one of the many "neglected" bodies of water in North/Northeast Philadelphia by anglers, yet it's full of life! Over time, I've caught many different types of fish in this little body of water, and I'm glad that I'm finally able to share some pictures and information on this wonderful place!
What lies amidst the woods; the Tookany Creek? Go find out! =)
When I first came to Philadelphia, I realized that many bodies of water around here were named by native people; the indigenous population: Tacony, Tookany, Schuylkill, Poquessing, etc. After doing a little bit of research, I found out that the word "Tookany" is actually derived from "Tacony," which is derived from the term "Towacawonick," which means "uninhabited place" or "woods" in the language of the Lenni Lenape American Indians (Unami Language). Interesting, huh?
In my Tacony Creek post, I mentioned how the Tacony was rich back in the days. In reality, both the Tacony and Tookany Creek (plus the Frankford Creek) were part of the same watershed, back in the 1600's. After centuries, they are still united; though, little of their glory remains. Since they are all a part of our sewage system nowadays, most anglers actually take them for granted: they think that there's absolutely no life inside those Creeks.
Well...they are obviously wrong! I can't recall the number of people that have looked at me while I was fishing in the Tacony or Tookany Creek, like I was some kind of "weirdo" trying to get ghost fishes. Hehe. Somehow, there were always one or two that stopped by and said: "Are there fish in here?!" And, of course, I always replied "Yes!" Some people would see me pulling small fishes out of the Creeks, and be fazed that there were actually life in there...
When it comes to the Tookany Creek, I've fished it from Central Ave and Old Soldiers Road all the way up to Jenkintown Road. In other words, I've explored 80% of the Creek so far! The results were amazing: Redbreast Sunfish, Creek Chub, Shiners, etc etc etc...and even fishes as large as Brown Bullheads and Largemouth Bass! Amazing, huh? It's actually surprising to state that the Tookany Creek has some natural Game-fish in it. I often find neglected Koi and Goldfish in small Creeks; however, the Largemouth Bass that I saw at the Creek were definitely natural.
One of the best spots at Tookany Creek, and probably where the deepest water resides.
These are the types of fish that I've caught there so far:
White Sucker: There's a vast population of White Suckers in the Tookany Creek. Due to low fishing pressure and right spawning conditions, they proliferated over the past decades or so. They are very fun to catch if the approach is right, not to mention that sight-fishing for them is superb.
If you have kids, you should bring them over to the Creek on a sunny day, and sight-fish for them. look for the ones that are moving a couple inches above the bottom, travelling short distances in short amounts of time. The ones that are just "staying still" on the bottom will not bite. Finding the ones that are constantly moving means that you found a "feeding spot." Use a little split shot and size #8-12 hook, 4-6lbs light test line, and a little piece of nightcrawler. Leave it on the bottom, and you can watch them approach your bait and inhale it!
The ones on the picture above are just "staying still" on the bottom. They will not bite your bait! Look for the "loners" - the ones that are actually moving constantly, and sucking the bottom in search for food. Once you find them, mark the spot on your head because the same is a feeding spot.
March 15th, 2013 - White Sucker caught on a piece of nightcrawler on the bottom.
March 15th, 2013 - This little guy was caught on a suspended piece of nightcrawler, a couple inches above the bottom.
May 5th, 2013 - This White Sucker bit my nightcrawler a couple seconds after I threw it in a "feeding spot." It slowly swam towards it, inhaling it in one go!
Creek Chub: There are tons of little Creek Chubs in the Tookany Creek, and only a few adult ones. Both small and big ones are perfect for bait when it comes to bigger Species of fish; therefore, the low numbers of adult ones could be due to harvesting.
When targeting Creek Chubs, try to create a "feeding spree." A worm under a float will work just fine. Throw your bait (on a small hook - #12+) among a school of Creek Chubs, and you should land one on every cast or so! Nightcrawlers and Trout Magnets work really well with them.
May 5th, 2013 - Unfortunately, this is the only picture of a Creek Chub from the Tookany Creek that I have. This is an adult size (around 6 inches); therefore, most of the them are way smaller than this. They are awesome for bait, though!
Shiners: The name for this Species of fish is "Shiners" for now, since I'm not yet positive on the ID of the fish. If you have a positive ID, send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org with links and/or references to the name of this Species.
I've caught only a few of them so far; therefore, I think it's plausible to say that their numbers are pretty low in comparison to other small Species of fish in the Creek. They will hit a piece of nightcrawler on a small hook just like the other types of micro-fish.
March 14th, 2013 - I actually caught this little guy on a medium set-up. The bite was so light that I had no idea that the fish was hooked until I reeled in my line. Heh.
May 5th, 2013 - I caught a bunch of them on small pieces of nightcrawler, traditional approach: float and hook.
Brown Bullhead: Believe it or not, they are in the Tookany Creek! I have not found them yet in the Pennypack or Wissahickon Creek, and I never imagined that I would encounter them in the Tookany. Instead of a traditional "still-fishing" approach, the Brown Bullheads at Tookany Creek were rather aggressive - they were swimming around, searching for food.
I'm caught mine on drifting nightcrawlers; however, I'm pretty sure that minnow imitations would work just as well. Still-fishing with light sinkers (split shots) and pieces of fish would also work.
May 5th, 2013 - A healthy and beautiful Brown Bullhead caught on a piece of nightcrawler.
Redbreast Sunfish: They are basically everywhere! Slow pools, deep holes, slow currents, under structure, margins...everywhere. I'm pretty sure that if someone threw a spinner in a fast current, they would also be there. They are easily attracted by bugs and worms; therefore, I would recommend drifting a nightcrawler or a small Trout Magnet.
May 5th, 2013 - Redbreast Sunfish caught on a drifting nightcrawler. In other words, a set up with only a hook (size #12) and line (4lb test).
Bluegill: Somehow, Bluegills are just rare in the Creeks around here! It doesn't matter what Creek is it: Redbreasts and Green Sunfish are usually abundant, and Bluegills are usually the rarity.
Just as I have mentioned in my other post, I don't know exactly why would someone specifically target them in a Creek (other than myself, for exploring purposes), but my best advice is to look for them under structure.
May 5th, 2013 - Bluegill from Tookany Creek. This one ran all the way from under structure to grab my drifting nightcrawler.
Largemouth Bass: They were my greatest discovery in the Tookany, so far!
At the beginning, I sincerely thought that the Tookany was just like the Tacony: deprived of Game-Fish. For my surprise, I saw four of them swimming in the shallows! Two of them swam towards a deep hole...I caught the other two =) (and released, of course).
I'm not certain of their numbers in the Tookany, but I know for sure that their population is very limited. Therefore, CPR (Catch-Photo-Release) them for the sake of the Creek. I caught mine on a Senko and a jig.
May 5th, 2013 - This Largemouth Bass inhaled my Senko as soon as it hit the water. The poor fish must have been super hungry!
May 5th, 2013 - Largemouth Bass from Tookany Creek. This one was caught on a jig, on the bottom. After hopping it for a second time, he ate and ran with it in his mouth.
Koi (Scooch): A especial tribute to the only Koi in the Tookany Creek, which was released last Summer. According to its former owner, the fish only feeds on cheese. So, good luck, guys! Scooch is big...I bet he can give an awesome fight! From the picture (the one below is magnified), I expected the fish to be around 7-8lbs.
Scooch, probably the only Koi in the Creek, in its lair.
Goldfish: there are many neglected Goldfish in the Tookany Creek. Thankfully, Goldfish are easier to catch than Common Carp and Koi. They will look at your bait if you drop it by its side. They are usually hidden under logs and structure; however, they often come out to search for food.
May 5th, 2013 - Goldfish from Tookany Creek.
The fish population at Tookany Creek is very limited. The Creek itself is small; therefore, their growth is limited as well. Taking these in consideration, I would recommend all anglers there to Catch-Photo-Release the fish!
If you decide to go there, enjoy! There are so many different Species of fish for such a small body of water - certainly a treasure to the neighborhood.
Best of luck to all of us,
Long Days and Pleasant Nights,