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.