February Fishing Sessions: 02/09 - Flathead Fishing at Meadow Lake (FDR Park)

Hello Blog Readers!

First of all, here are the latest updates for the Blog/FB Page:

-- I've updated my old post on the Tidal Schuylkill River (from South street to Fairmount Dam). I have also fixed its hyperlink on the right tab of the page. The tidal Skuke is certainly one of the the best fishing spots in the City of Brotherly Love! In that post, I introduce readers to the different Species of fish that my angling friends and I have caught for the past 4 years in Philadelphia. Here is a summary of what I added/changed in the post:

A. I've added information to all fish definitions, up to date! As a couple examples: After one decade, the Flathead Catfish (Pylodictis olivaris) is no longer considered to be an invasive Species in the Schuylkill River; thus, it is no longer a "must" to kill it. The Northern Snakehead (Channa argus) is currently present in the Schuylkill River, and we should expect its populations to rise in the next couple years. Etc.

B. I've added 2 videos to the post: one video of my friend Jay D. float-fishing for Channel Catfish (Ictalurus punctatus) at night time and one video of my friend Mike H. catching Striped Bass (Morone saxatilis) and Northern Snakehead at the Fairmount Dam.

-- I've added the following new photos: 1 map photo of the tidal Schuylkill River, from Google Earth; 1 photo of White Perch (Morone Americana); 2 photos of Common Carp (Cyprinus carpio) (portraying Mike H. and Moni C.); 3 photos of Channel Catfish (portraying Matt M. and Ronald J.); 3 photos of White Catfish (Ameiurus catus) (just shy of the state record for the Ameiurus spp.); 1 photo of Flathead Catfish (portraying Kevin W.); 3 photos of Striped Bass (portraying Linda Z., Chris E., and Jay D.); 1 photo of Hybrid Striped Bass (Morone saxatilis X Morone chrysops) (portraying Chris E.); 1 photo of Bluegill (Lepomis macrochirus); 1 photo of Pumpkinseed (Lepomis gibbosus); 2 photos of Smallmouth Bass (Micropterus dolomieu) (portraying Mike H. and my dad); 2 photos of Largemouth Bass (Micropterus salmoides); 2 photos of American Eel (Anguilla rostrata) (portraying Stephen OT); 1 photo of Spot Croaker (Leiostomus xanthurus); and 2 photos of Walleye (Sander vitreus) (portraying Rob Z. and my dad)

-- I've added 14 photos to the Facebook EPF Public Fishing Album. As a reminder, anyone can submit photos to that folder! If interested, please click here for more information.

Alrighty! Now, here's my fishing report for February 9th:

--- February 9th, 2015 ---

Location: Meadow Lake (FDR Park, South Philadelphia, PA)
Time: 2:30-5:00 p.m.

Fishes caught:

-- None

It's pretty sad to say it, but unfortunately I got skunked again! On one hand, I knew that the chances of catching a fish on a brutal Winter day like that were extremely low. Ponds and Lakes were still frozen from the previous cold front and water temperatures for open water were just slightly above 32F. On the other hand, I was really really hopeful that I would get at least one bite if I fished the "warmest part" around the area for a little while. After all, it's common knowledge around the country that the biggest Cats are actually pulled during or just after the coldest months of the year; in other words, they do bite during the slowest of the days!

Once I got to Meadow Lake in South Philadelphia, the local joggers were already giving me the weird looks after seeing my fishing rods. I guess that was expected, since the "Big Lake" was still frozen:

A nice view of the biggest Lake in Meadow Lake -- a.k.a. "The Lakes." I took this photo from the wooden platform, right next to the gazebo.

As a matter of fact, during the colder months it's a rule of thumb that back Creeks warm up much faster than the main body of water. Therefore, I already expected that much. Heh. My original plan was to fish the back Creek, next to the two isolated tennis courts (that would be #4 on the map in this post). So, summarizing, besides the main Lake, the back Creeks were quite "fishable:"

If you use the map in my old post (hyperlink above), this would be the inlet that leads to the back Creek #1. I took the photo right next to the gazebo. As a sidenote, there's always a Northern Snakehead under that bridge during the warmer months of the year. Heh.

Using the same map as reference, this would be the inlet that leads to the back Creek #4. Some ice can be seen in the background of the photo! As a sidenote, there are always some Black Crappie under this bridge at all times of the year (doesn't mean that they will bite, though).

After arduously walking through the main Lake, I was finally able to arrive at my destination. It was a pain to get there because everything was iced up. So slippery...! Once I got there, I promptly set up 2 rods with American Eel and 1 rod with frozen Bunker. The main objective for the day was to catch any type of Catfish -- either Channel or Flathead! 

I decided to set my gear at the widest spot of the back Creek. 

I ended up staying at that location for about 90 minutes without a single bite! It was super cold and a little bit windy. Not only that, there was some sleet after 3:30 p.m. or so...

There was some freezing rain and then sleet. You can see some build up over my fishing bag. Heh. The conditions for fishing during that day were certainly brutal.

Around 4:00 p.m., I was pretty much frozen solid. It was around then that I decided to pack up my Catfish rods and change my game plan: active to passive fishing (to build up some interior heat)! I switched from 3 rods to 1 and started moving around for smaller Species of fish. My goal was to catch at least one Sunfish -- either a Bluegill or a Crappie.

I pretty much circled the whole back Creek #4. I tried along submerged logs, under the bridges, deep holes, and even around the Skuke-Meadow gate inlet (photo below). However, my actions were all in vain. No signs of life whatsoever. 

The legendary Schuylkill-Meadow Lake gate inlet. The gate was made with the purpose of allowing water from the Schuylkill River to flow into Meadow Lake (perhaps to prevent stagnancy?). According to local anglers, the gate used to work until about 20 years ago. Nowadays, the gate "kinda" functions: there is a one foot water level difference every six hours at Meadow Lake, making it partially tidal. Note that fish from the Schuylkill can still get into Meadow Lake through this gate, though. And vice-versa.

I ended up my session around 5:00 p.m. Here's a bonus photo for you:

"Things that you don't see when you stay at home:" No need for an auger now. Here's your homemade "ice hole" for ice fishing at Meadow Lake. Hehe.

Hopefully I will have some fish to show you guys next time!

Tight lines, brothers and sisters,

Long Days and Pleasant Nights,


Leo S.

February Fishing Sessions: 02/08 - Catfishing on the Schuylkill Banks

Hello, Blog Readers!

Here is my fishing report for February 8th:

--- February 8th, 2015 ---

Location: Tidal Schuylkill River (between Walnut and Chestnut)
Time: 12:00-4:00 p.m.

Fishes caught: 

-- 1 Channel Catfish (3.5lbs)

It was another tough day on the Schuylkill River! As you can see below, water temperatures were just slightly above 32F (freezing point):

The photo portrays my friend Hannibal standing right next to my fishing gear. Note the background: a part of the River was still frozen! 

Air temperatures were a little bit higher, in the range of 40-45F. However, that didn't help us much! The ground was still frozen solid; thus, my friends and I had to punch our rod holders in with the help of a hammer (thanks for the hammer, Bryan!). Heh. During the length of my fishing session, I had my friends Bryan KL, Christopher J., Karl H., and Hannibal P. join me. Here's a photo of Karl and Chris on the Banks:

Chris and Karl ready to give up on the Banks! After a couple hours of fishing without a single bite, they decided to give a shot at the Fairmount Dam.

After many hours of fishing, we finished the day with a single fish: a 3.5lbs Channel Catfish on a piece of American Eel. Here's a photo of the fish:

The only fish of the day: a feisty 3.5lbs Channel Catfish.

Tight lines, brothers and sisters! And hopefully we will catch more fish as February goes. :)

Long Days and Pleasant Nights,


Leo S.

February Fishing Sessions: 02/04 - Fishing at Haddonfield + Shopping at Dicks in NJ

Hello, Blog Readers!

Before I bring you my fishing report for February 4th, here are the latest updates on the Blog/FB Page:

-- I've uploaded tons of photos to the "Public Fishing Album" on the EPF FB Page. If you sent me a photo and it's not there, I may have missed it! If so, I apologize. I promise to post it as soon as you send me the photo again (remember, though: one photo per Species, folks).

As a reminder, anyone can submit photos for that folder. If interested, you may click here for more details on how to submit your photo.

Now, here's my short fishing report for February 4th:

--- February 4th, 2015 ---

Location: Wallworth Lake, Upper Cooper River (Haddonfield, NJ)
Time: 12:00-2:00 p.m.

Fishes caught: 

-- None

My friends and I decided to go to Haddonfield (NJ) for a short fishing session. Since temperatures were up to 40F+ with almost no wind, it was hard to stay indoors! Heh. Unfortunately, the water was still very cold (of course) and most places were still frozen (i.e. Hopkins Pond, Upper Wallworth Lake, Driscoll Pond). Thus, our only option turned out to be the Upper Cooper River. Sadly, the grass was still wet and most places were muddy; therefore, we got ourselves pretty dirty as well. Haha.

I started at the junction of the Wallworth Lake with the Upper Cooper River:

The falls between Wallworth Lake and the Upper Cooper River. This spot NEVER freezes during the Winter.

I got a couple nibbles on my "1/64 oz. jighead + 3" Gulp! Alive Minnow" setup; however, I wasn't able to land any fishes. I did hook two fish (small Bluegill), but they fell back as soon as they left the water! What a bummer... In the end, I couldn't even catch my first Bluegill of the year!

In between, I decided to "fix" the fish ladder at Wallworth Lake: 

This is a photo of the top part of the fish ladder located at Wallworth Lake, Haddonfield, NJ. As you can see, the place was jammed with branches and leaves. There was barely any water flow at that point. The main idea behind the fish ladder was that Blueback Herring and Alewife would be able to swim up the Upper Cooper River, Wallworth Lake, and Evans Pond for their spawning grounds. The ladders were build back in the 2000's. You can read more about it here.

Here's a photo of the fish ladder after I took all the leaves and branches away. This photo makes absolutely no justice, as you are not really able to see how well the water is flowing! So, if you want to check the ladder out, make sure to go down there one day. :) 

After miserably failing at Wallworth Lake, I walked my way down towards the base of Driscoll Pond -- where my two buddies where fishing at. While going through the muddy trail, I was still confident that I wouldn't get skunked! However, I was soon informed upon my arrival that they didn't have a single bite since the beginning of their fishing session. Here's a photo of the two of them sitting their butts and waiting for the fish that never came (hehe):

Yes...there are two people fishing in this photo!

In the end, we soaked our baits for a little bit longer, but no success whatsoever. We finally decided to pack things up, call it a day, and go shop for some fishing gear (of course!). You know the deal -- gotta stock for the Spring! Since I don't have any fish photos for the day, here are the products that I purchased from Dick's Sporting Goods! Enjoy the technicalities and reviews. :)

Berkley Powerbait Chigger Craw (Green Pumpkin): this is certainly one of my favorite soft plastic trailers. I usually combine them with a 3/8-1/2 oz. Strike King jighead, and they work FINE with the Largemouth Bass. Plus, I truly believe that their "shrimpy" smell helps a lot. 

Matzuo America Nano Minnow (NM4, NM5): They all dive between 0-3'. In other words, this is my lure of preference when it comes to shallow Ponds with Largemouth Bass and Chain Pickerel or shallow holes with Smallmouth Bass and Trout.

Comal Tackle Weighted Oval Snap-on Float: this is pretty much the float that I use in junction with my "Gulp! Alive Minnow" setup. The weight on the float really allows me to cast far away (very important for me); the size of the float allows me to see a small bite from a great distance; and this float works extremely well with an ultralight setup. Not only that, a medium sized Bluegill will easily submerge it! Easy to put on and easy to remove. Highly affordable. 

Storm WildEye Swim Shad: My friend Mike H. really got me into this product. I mean...I've seen him catch plenty of Striped Bass on the Schuylkill River with these Swim Shads (and Walleyes as well)! So, there you go...getting ready for the Spring Striped Bass run. 

Heddon Chug'n Spook: Unfortunately, I lost my last Chug'n Spook to a seagull on the Schuylkill River while walking the dog. After an intense fight, the bird won. Lol. I have seen people have great success with this lure on the Schuylkill River, not to mention that it's always fun to work on a top water lure! Believe me: it's a GREAT feeling to see a Striped Bass hitting a top water lure. 

Rat-L-Trap Rattletrap: I love using my Rattletraps in muddy water, and I always carry 2 of them with me. My biggest Largemouth Bass from Meadow Lake and Manayunk Canal were caught on a Rattletrap.

Zoom Salty Super Fluke (White Pearl): These are my "to-go" trailers for any type of aggressive game fish. I usually combine them with a 1/2 oz. jighead, jigging them on the bottom at regular intervals. My biggest Walleye from the Schuylkill River came on a Zoom Fluke. I like them in different colors, but white and pink are my favorite ones.

Eagle Claw Nylawire Snells: I don't particularly like the hooks on this product, so I buy them solely for the "nylawire." I usually replace the hooks with 5/0-8/0 Gamakatsu hooks and use them for Flathead Catfish. :)

Berkley Vanish Fluorocarbon Line (8lb test): This is my line of preference for Multi-Species fishing. It remains clear under the water; thus, it's invisible under water.

Hopefully the next fishing session will produce some FISH! Heh.

Long Days and Pleasant Nights,


Leo S.