dan and kayla fishing

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

Free Fishing Rod Rental & Events 

Fishing rods are available to borrow, free of charge, at the Visitor Center front desk. The Refuge does not offer bait so come prepared with your own.  

Wondering what to bring for bait? Check out these lists of tips from the PA Fish and Boat Commission! 


Free Family Fishing Events 

The refuge hosts a number of Family Fishing events throughout the year. These events are free and DO NOT require a fishing license!  All equipment and bait are provided and refuge staff and volunteers are available to help you get started.  Check out the Events Calendar for information on the next event. 



Where to Fish 

Impoundment/Emergent Wetland 

Fishing is permitted along the west side of the Wetland Loop Trail from the Big Boardwalk to the connecting Tinicum Trail. Fishing in this area must be from the bank - structures such as the Big Boardwalk and Observation Tower are closed to fishing. This area is popular for carp and snakeheads. 

Darby Creek 

Catfish and pan fish are found in good numbers along the banks of the Wetland Loop Trail and Darby Creek Trail. There is an ADA accessible fishing deck just past the Big Boardwalk. Fishing is not permitted from the Boat Launch. Darby Creek is tidal, be sure to check the tide chart here. 

Route 420 Entrance 

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 has trails that access Darby Creek.  

See map below for areas that ARE NOT open to fishing.  


Heinz NWR Map with No Fishing Areas

What should I know?  


The refuge follows PA state regulations regarding licenses (required for anyone 16 years of age or older), limits and seasons. For more information or to purchase a license visit the PA Fish and Boat Commission’s Fishing Regulations page.  Anglers must also follow the refuge-specific regulations found here