Children fishing on the refuge - USFWS.

Recreational fishing is a priority use of the National Wildlife Refuge System. There are many locations to fish throughout the refuge.

Free Fishing Pole Rentals

Fishing rods are available to borrow at the visitor center front desk. This is free of charge. Rentals must be returned to the visitor center by 3:30pm.

Impoundment Area

Fishing is permitted along the main dike trail after the big boardwalk to the connecting Trolley Bed trail. This area provides fishing in both the 145-acre impoundment and Darby Creek. Fishing in this area must be from the bank - structures such as the canoe ramp and the boardwalk are closed to fishing. However, physically disabled individuals may fish from the lower deck of the observation platform. Look for carp, catfish, large-mouth bass and smaller pan fish in this area.

Darby Creek

Fishing is permitted along Darby Creek through most of the refuge. You may fish from the banks of the Dike trail, or along the Loop trail in the western part of the refuge. There is an ADA accessible fishing deck just past the big boardwalk. You may also fish the creek from a canoe. To keep access to the creek unobstructed, fishing from the canoe launch area is not permitted. The Darby Creek is tidal, so beware of the tides.

Route 420 Lagoons

Fishing is allowed from the bank of the Lagoons on the west side of Route 420. There is a paved parking area at this point just north of the southbound entrance to I-95. A gravel parking lot is located on the east side of Route 420 and provides access to Darby Creek. Look for striped bass, carp, catfish, panfish, and tiger musky.

Fishing Regulations


All fishermen must comply with Pennsylvania Fishing and Crabbing Regulations, and if 16 years of age or older have a current and valid PA Fishing License. For limits and seasons, refer to the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commissions's Summary of Fishing Regulations and Laws for ponds and non-tidal waters: section called ""Commonwealth Inland Waters,"" for Darby Creek: section entitled ""Delaware River and Estuary"". Rules and regulations regarding fishing can be found at


  • Bowfishing, crossbow, spearing and netting are prohibited.
  • Taking of frogs, snakes and turtles is prohibited.
  • Fishing is prohibited from the wooded side of the impoundment and the newly acquired area on the south-side of Bartram Ave. (see map).
  • Fishing from the canoe ramp, boardwalk, and observation blinds is prohibited.

Litter and Pollution Considerations

Fishing line and other litter is a severe problem. Litter not only looks bad, it can kill wildlife by entanglement. Please don't litter! If you see someone littering, report it to one of the refuge's staff. Fish from all the refuge waters were tested in 1994. While some species were found to be safe to eat, it is recommended that all fish caught on the refuge be considered contaminated and released. The Darby Creek Sewage Pumping Station occasionally malfunctions or is overloaded with storm water, causing it to discharge into Darby Creek. When this happens, raw sewage is present in the creek. To be safe, fishermen should not fish in the Creek when this occurs.