This Fall: Go Fish!

Residents of Southwest Philadelphia have enjoyed fishing on the tidal Schuylkill River for generations.
Residents of Southwest Philadelphia have enjoyed fishing on the tidal Schuylkill River for generations.

Anglers of all ages are invited to join us at the Bartram’s Garden Community Boathouse on Sunday, October 6th for the annual Southwest Fish Off! Participants can borrow Bartram’s bait and tackle on a first-come-first-served basis, or bring their own. Fish from the docks or take out a rowboat and fish on the river! There will be prizes awarded to both adult and youth anglers in categories such as biggest fish, weirdest fish, and most fish. There is no fishing license requirement for this event—all are welcome! 

People have fished here on the lower Schuylkill River for hundreds if not thousands of years; archaeological evidence shows this area was a popular seasonal fishing ground for the Lenni-Lenape. If you’re already making plans for fishing here (or elsewhere!) in the fall and winter, you can check out these for cold weather fishing from lifelong bass fisherman Mike Cork below: 

Check the Weather Some of the best cold-weather fishing happens right before a cold front comes through. Check the forecast and plan to make it out the day before the temperatures drop. Fish are sensitive to barometric (air) pressure, so listen for reports of falling pressure on the weather report. 

Look to the North The winter sun hangs low in the southern sky, meaning strong sun and warmer waters along the northern banks of rivers, lakes, and streams. 

Sleep In! In cooler months, fish tend to be most active between 10am and 4pm. 

Check Your Gear Cold weather can be especially difficult on reels that are out of good working order. Make sure your gear is well-maintained, and try to get your reels cleaned and lubricated if possible. 

Keep it Fresh Live bait is best for cold-weather fishing, since artificial lures can become stiff in cold water, making it harder to attract fish. Live bait is more likely to keep moving in cold water, but if you must go for artificial, avoid rubbers and plastics and look for lures with natural fibers like feathers or hair. Opt for smaller bait, as fish’s metabolism drops in winter so they require less food.

Photo by Adachi Pimentel. This Fall: Go Fish! 

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