recreation

Start a New Tradition with the 2018 Philly Fun Fishing Fest

Register by Sept. 6 to join the Philly Fun Fishing Fest on Sept. 8. ADA and SEPTA access.
Register by Sept. 6 to join the Philly Fun Fishing Fest on Sept. 8. ADA and SEPTA access.

For many who enjoy the ancient pastime and sport of fishing, the passion comes from a place with deep roots in childhood: fishing with a dad or a grandmother, remembering just the right number of times to loop a line for that most steadfast of knots, remembering the little secrets they passed on for luring in the big one, remembering the frenzied excitement of that first catch, forever cherishing the picture snapped after.

On Saturday, September 8, Philly families will have the perfect opportunity to create those memories—even if no one in the family has a lick of fishing know-how.

Now in its 14th year, the catch-and-release Philly Fun Fishing Fest at Schuylkill Banks in Center City is an event that’s special because it goes out of its way to be open to all, inviting experienced anglers and newcomers alike to see first-hand just how much our scenic Schuylkill River has to offer.

All you have to do is register right here by Sept. 6: if you don’t have your own, bait and rods are loaned on a first-come, first served basis. As our partners, the Pa. Fish and Boat Commission will even lift fishing license requirements for that section of the river during Philly Fun Fishing Fest.

Details:

  • Saturday, September 8, 2018 from 7 a.m. - 11 a.m.
  • Awards ceremony starts at 11:30 a.m.
  • Fishing takes place at Schuylkill Banks, 24th and Walnut Streets (see parking and transit info)
  • Rain date is September 22 

Highlights:

  • Free to the public
  • No fishing license required
  • Fishing gear available to borrow
  • Prizes awarded in various categories
  • Meet on Schuylkill Banks
  • Catch-and-release
  • Bring your own snacks & refreshments

Sign Up Deadline Is September 6: 2018 Philly Fun Fishing Fest Registration

Philly Fun Fish Fishing Fest and Coast Day: An Action-Packed Day on Our Waterfronts


The yellow line on the map above marks the area where the 2016 Philly Fun Fishing Fest will be held. Click for a larger image.

We've teamed up with a number of partners to make September 10 a truly special day for those looking to explore what Philly's rivers have to offer. If you've been hearing stories about the amazing comeback our local waterways are experiencing, this is your chance to grab the family and see it for yourself!

The Philly Fun Fishing Fest, sponsored by Philadelphia Water, Parks and Recreation, the Pa. Fish and Boat Commission and Schuylkill Banks, will be held at Schuylkill Banks on Saturday, September 10, 2016.

Rio vs. Philly: Our Water Quality Wins By a Mile

Schuylkill River boaters paddle the waters just below Flat Rock Dam. Issues with water quality in Rio de Janeiro, home of the 2016 Summer Olympics, have local water sport enthusiasts thinking about the value of clean water.
Schuylkill River boaters paddle the waters just below Flat Rock Dam. Issues with water quality in Rio de Janeiro, home of the 2016 Summer Olympics, have local water sport enthusiasts thinking about the value of clean water.

With all eyes on Brazil for the 2016 Summer Olympics, one big health concern right up there with the Zika virus is the water quality in rivers, bays and surf around Rio de Janeiro. While athletes no doubt would prefer to focus their attention on winning, the risk of getting violently ill from the very water they’ll compete in and on is a serious hurdle aquatic athletes will have to contend with this year.

Stories like this July 26 report from the New York Times offer an alarming glimpse of what happens when we fail to protect our waterways from pollution. Here’s what Olympians in sports like swimming and kayaking may (quite literally) get a taste of during the Rio games, according to the Times:

Recent tests by government and independent scientists revealed a veritable petri dish of pathogens in many of the city’s waters, from rotaviruses that can cause diarrhea and vomiting to drug-resistant “superbacteria” that can be fatal to people with weakened immune systems.

Record-Setting ‘Sojourn’ Highlights the Schuylkill River’s Wild Beauty

Philadelphia Water's Paul Fugazzotto paddles to the finish of the 2016 Schuylkill Sojourn. A record 205 people joined the annual event this year. Photo credit: Brian Rademaekers
Philadelphia Water's Paul Fugazzotto paddles to the finish of the 2016 Schuylkill Sojourn. A record 205 people joined the annual event this year. Photo credit: Brian Rademaekers

If you happened to be in Philadelphia admiring the Schuylkill River’s picturesque beauty from afar last week, you might have been startled by what appeared to be an enormous flock of florescent birds, all of them rhythmically flapping their wings on the shimmering water:

Those “birds,” of course, were actually the 100-plus paddlers propelling the rainbow of brightly hued kayaks and canoes that made up the annual Schuylkill Sojourn. A seven day journey covering 112 miles of the Schuylkill River from its Schuylkill County headwaters all the way to Philadelphia’s Boathouse Row, the event has been held since 1998.

Innovative Infrastructure: New Stations Expand Drinking Water Access, Curb Plastic Waste

Infrastructure Week 2016: Drinking Water Stations

When people hear the word “infrastructure,” they think about roads, bridges and (if we’re lucky!) pipes.

But for Infrastructure Week 2016, we’re looking at elements of Philadelphia’s water system that might not come to mind when you think about infrastructure. (So far, we’ve looked at the thousands of new green tools created through the Green City, Clean Waters program and the 75,000+ storm drains found on city streets.)

Today, we’re looking at a brand-new kind of infrastructure that rethinks an old standard—the water fountain.

As Philadelphia celebrates the 90th Stotesbury Cup Regatta, the world's largest high school regatta, Philadelphia Water will unveil a new network of four eye-catching public water stations located along Kelly Drive.

A Banner Summer for the Schuylkill River

The Schuylkill River Trail, America's Best Urban Trail, in Center City. Photo courtesy of Montgomery County Planning Commission.
The Schuylkill River Trail, America's Best Urban Trail, in Center City. Photo courtesy of Montgomery County Planning Commission.

The Schuylkill River is closing out the summer in grand style and getting national attention as a premier destination for urban nature lovers.

On Wednesday, Philadelphia Water joined officials and groups from across the region on the river's banks to celebrate the Schuylkill River Trail (SRT) being named America's "Best Urban Trail" by USA Today. The now 65-mile pathway connecting Philadelphia and the upper reaches of the river won the top honor in an online voting campaign held earlier in the summer, and the designation has helped bring a spotlight to the SRT's scenic and functional qualities.

Eventually, the trail will grow to about 130 miles and connect the city and Pottstown in Montgomery County. The recent restoration of the Schuylkill Canal Towpath in Upper Providence Township is another win for the trail that added some fresh ground for cyclists and hikers to explore.

John Quigley, secretary of the Pa. Department of Environmental Protection, was at the Wednesday celebration and said the Best Urban Trail status points to a growing appreciation for the river—something he hopes will translate to more people advocating for the environmental health of the Schuylkill.

“What we’re celebrating is not just about recreation. This project is about building a constituency for the river,” Quigley told Mercury News, which covered the event. Check out the full Mercury story here

For Philadelphia Water and partners like the Schuylkill Action Network and the Schuylkill River National and State Heritage Area, the national recognition is proof that decades of working to improve water quality is paying off.
The river also got lots of attention during last week's successful INVISIBLE RIVER fest, and, as demonstrated by this Sept. 2 photo of Bassmaster champs Mike Iaconelli and Takahiro Omori on the Schuylkill, the waterway is even attracting professional fishermen from places as far away as Japan:

Takahiro Omori on the Schuylkill.
Mike Iaconelli & Takahiro Omori above the Columbia Ave. Railroad Bridge via Mid-Atlantic Youth Anglers.

Omori, who was in the area for the 2015 Bassmaster Elite at Chesapeake Bay, came up to Philly and reportedly had an action-packed day of fishing on the river thanks to the Mid-Atlantic Youth Anglers association, which helped him explore some of their favorite spots.

Speaking of fishing, don't forget to sign up for the Philly Fun Fishing Fest on Sept. 12registration closes Sept. 10! RSVP by clicking here.

For more on America's Best Urban Trail, give this blog a read: 10 Ways to Celebrate the Schuylkill River Trail’s Designation as Best Urban Trail 

See What a Healthier River Looks Like at INVISIBLE RIVER

Performers from INVISIBLE RIVER 2014 hang suspended from the Strawberry Mansion Bridge. Credit: INVISIBLE RIVER.
Performers from INVISIBLE RIVER 2014 hang suspended from the Strawberry Mansion Bridge. Credit: INVISIBLE RIVER.

We have lots of ways to measure the improving quality of Philadelphia's two rivers, but one of our favorite is simply seeing more and more people think of the Schuylkill and Delaware as beautiful, natural places to visit for recreation and relaxation. Since everything we do comes back to protecting and enchancing water quality, we see the change in the way people think about our rivers as a real metric of success.

But, as much as our rivers have improved, not everyone knows about it, and many people are still physically cut off from accessing these urban treasures.
Helping to nudge people to the scenic and natural beauty of the Schuylkill River is INVISIBLE RIVER, a nonprofit whose mission is "to use art, outdoor activities and dynamic programming to build wise stewardship of our rivers and waterways, to create unique and otherworldly artistic celebrations and to engage the public in art and environmental education."

We can get behind that!

Over the last few years, INVISIBLE RIVER has created a lot of buzz with stunning acrobatic performances featuring dancers suspended from the Strawberry Mansion Bridge, with the river acting as a breathtaking backdrop.
This year's big event will take place Saturday, August 29th from 2 to 8 p.m. and incorporates what Artistic and Executive Director Alie Vidich calls "a more open format than previous events."

Rather than just one big performance, this year will be more like a festival on the river that kicks off with an opening performance followed by lots of cool activities, with their trademark acrobatics as the grand finale.
A processional led by Positive Movement & Ecstatic Drill Team starts things off at Mander Recreation Center at 2140 N 33rd St. and Diamond Drive at 2 p.m., and a full day of activities will center around the festival area in the parking lot next to the St. Joseph’s University Boathouse, 2200 Kelly Drive. Participants are encourgaged to park at Mander take a walk to the river from there.

As one of the event sponsors, Philadelphia Water will be there too, partnering with Mural Arts to host some activities showing people how the green tools that make up Green City, Clean Waters are making the Schuylkill River even healthier. We'll also have members of our education team from the Fairmount Water Works there to provide some family fun.

Other INVISIBLE RIVER activities include free boating and paddling lessons, fishing lessons for kids, food trucks and vendors, and a beer garden.
Those who want to catch the Strawberry Mansion Bridge performance should be there at 5:30 p.m. There are lots of cool options for watching the performance, including "Bring Your Own Boat" and  a "Front Row Seats" program that lets people rent boats from 4:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m.

Check out the INVISIBLE RIVER website for more details, including transportation options like bike rentals and a special Phlash shuttle to help people get to the river.

"We have seen a change in the way people view the river, especially with the artists who interact with the river and the anglers who fish in the Schuylkill," says Vidich. "But for some people, there's still this cloud of past pollution hanging over the river, and we hope events like this can help change that."  

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