River Irwell Polluted Yet Again

It’s happening again, and again and again.

The Irwell –  must still be one of the most frequently polluted rivers in the UK – it’s a testament to the resilience of nature that anything can survive what we humans can throw at/in it.

This week, we have seen the river turn white, green and now gold/orange caused by various pollution events.

Its like a bloomin Irish Flag !

The days of Manchesters rivers being open industrial sewers are long gone. Our rivers are now much cleaner and home to Kingfishers, Trout, Otters, Herons, a myriad of amazing insects, and provides food for brilliant birds that we love such as Sand Martins, Swifts and Swallows. Its outrageous that people can damage nature and habitats like this.


So, once again the EA have been called out to investigate – (Don’t forget if you see a pollution incident to call the EA pollution hotline on 0800-807060 ) … lets hope they make an example of the culprits.

On Monday this week the River Irwell turned white, after a discharge was seen coming from an outfall near Rectory Lane in Radcliffe, the same afternoon, the Manchester Evening News reported that the river had turned green !. And now, less than 48 hours later, the River Irwell in Bury as turned orange after someone has allowed polluted mine water to enter the watercourse.

Just how much punishment can a river take ??


Thankfully, the pollution was spotted by a Little Britain Angling Club member, and was immediately reported on both occasions (well done to Eric and all the other members at LBA for their continued river stewardship)

Its very important for us anglers to keep an eye on our waterways, the only way anything happens is if us anglers report things, and if we can encourage other members of the public to use the pollution hotline number.

Some of the Anglers Riverfly Initiative monitoring team will do an invertebrate survey in the next 48 hours to check on insect life, lets hope we don’t find any dead fish caused by this.

It’s heartbreaking to see the river being treated this way, when so much work has gone into its rehabilitation after 200 years of industrial pollution.

The Irwell is no longer a sewer, its home to Kingfishers, Trout, Otters, Herons, a myriad of amazing insects, and provides food for brilliant birds that we love such as Sand Martins, Swifts and Swallows. Its outrageous that people can damage nature and habitats like this.

Please copy and paste the link to this post and share it wide and far.

Our rivers, our wildlife, and the habitats that have been recreated need to be protected from polluters and those who care about their £s and their profits more than the wildlife that we all love and enjoy.

The pictures below give you some indication of just how far the Irwell has come in recent years — these creatures and habitats need protecting !


River Care

6 inch barbel being stocked into the River Irwell at Salford Racecourse December 2011

Irwell Ramsbottom




Great News For The River Irwell

Great News For The River Irwell
Earlier this year we were informed that United Utilities are going to be spending £450million plus between 2021 and 2025 on improvements to the waste water network and Cheshire…. This on its own was great news – as money was being spent in Bolton to reduce the frequency and volumes of discharges of dirty water from CSOS… and on other rivers around the region where we fish, such as the Tame, Medlock and Irk.
I was informed yesterday – that an additional £86million is to be spent improving waste water treatment works at Ringley/Bolton …. money is being spent on massively reducing the amount of microbes in the sewage discharge which impacts on something called the “Biological Oxygen Demand” on the river downstream. There is also going to be a massive reduction in the amount of phosphate in the water discharged from the treatment works – this will have make a big impact on reducing that horrible grey/brown algae which clogs up the river bed and gravels each summer.
And there is going to be 4 times more storm sewage tanking capacity at Ringley – which will result in far less raw sewage discharges into the river during wet weather events.
All of these improvements require large scale capital spend at Bolton treatment works,
So these works combined with the other works that have previously been announced are going to have a massive effect on the River Irwell.
It is very important to point out that a lot of these works have come about because anglers and other river users are constantly phoning in incidents to the EA pollution hotlines….. we don’t always get the replies we want or the instant action we want – but everything gets logged, and its added to the body of evidence needed to get major capital works approved.
Well done anglers — please keep moaning. Its good to have our voice/opinions heard and acted upon.
Please remember don’t report incidents on our facebook page until you have called it in on the EA pollution hotline 0800807060 first.
Time is the essence to get response teams out asap.

Salford Quays Night Fishing Now Banned

The club are very sad to report that we have been in recent dialogue with Salford Council regarding anglers anti social behaviour whilst night fishing at Salford Quays.

Anglers making loud noise in the middle of the night, using the bushes as toilets in full view of residents etc has resulted in a number of complaints to the council.

The council have been in touch with the club, and asked us to enforce the NO NIGHT FISHING in our club lease (which we have previously been not adhering to).

It’s so sad that the behaviour of a very small minority has had a negative impact on the vast majority of anglers who have night fished the quays in the past without making any nuisance of themselves.

So… as from today — there is NO NIGHT FISHING on Salford Quays – with fishing only being permitted dawn until dusk.

The council have indicated that PCSOs will be patrolling the area at night and issuing fixed penalty notices to anglers deemed to be breaking the council regulations.

How sad, that a few imbeciles spoil it for everyone else.

The relevant clause in our lease states fishing from dawn to dusk only


The club have a number of other venues where we and our landlords have conveniently turned a blind eye to night fishing, whilst our lease states no night fishing.

Please please please be respectful of our neighbours – the club don’t want to stop people night fishing but will have to impose bans elsewhere if required to.



Ian Hayes Retires

We don’t know whether to be happy or sad to hear the news that our local Environment Agency Fisheries Officer has taken early retirement.

Sad to hear that there will no longer be a calming, steady reliable, knowledgeable and helpful voice responding to our panicked calls when something is going wrong. Sad to hear that a we will no longer be able to draw on his vast knowledge of local fisheries. Sad to realise that we will miss working with him to improve our waters on a month by month basis.

However, we are happy that Ian has spent so long looking after fisheries in North Manchester, and is now taking early retirement that will give him more time to spend out on the bank catching them.

We are also thankful for all the work that Ian has done over the years – he has been a great champion of the River Irwell – and has had a hand in restocking 100s of thousands of fish into the River Irwell, and probably over half a million fish into the wider Greater Manchester River network. He has recorded all the fish he’s stocked into a little black book.

Most notably the recent years he has been responsible for the re-stockings of Grayling and Barbel. Both of these stockings have been a success as you can now catch both species of these fish on the River if you are in the right place. Lets hope these new fish go on to thrive, breed and create great sport of anglers in the future.

Irwell Grayling June 2020

We wish you all the best Ian for your retirement –  from everyone at Salford Friendly and the wider fishing community of Greater Manchester.

Ian Hayes – helping us re-stock the Old River in 2012


Happy 100th Birthday (Mr Salford Quays) Ben Wallsworth


Happy 100th Birthday to Ben Wallsworth, Salford born and bred. Born on this day in Ordsall in 1920.

As a 20-year old soldier at the start of the 2nd World War, he was with the British Army at the evacuation from Dunkirk. He helped knock out a German machine gun and then refused to abandon his own gun position as instructed, staying behind to defend his comrades from aerial attacks when they were trapped on the beaches for three days and nights. Ben shot down several German fighter planes. He was awarded the Military Medal by King George VI for his bravery.

An engineer by trade, he later worked for decades at Farmer Norton’s Engineering Company in Adelphi Street, where he was a strong trade unionist. He became a local councillor in 1957 and over the years represented Weaste, Langworthy and finally Blackfriars wards. His dad had worked at the docks.

By the early 1980s, it saddened Ben to see the derelict docks, empty warehouses and rusting cranes. Along with Les Hough and Roger Rees, he was one of the driving forces behind acquiring the land. Manchester Council wanted £3 million for it; Salford got them down to £1 million (all from a grant). People forget, that for the Council to spend such a huge sum was an incredible gamble. It was an industrial wasteland and “experts” scoffed – who on earth would want to come up north and invest in it when there was absolutely nothing there?

But Ben saw the potential. He knew people are always attracted to water. So his idea was not just for revitalising the area with businesses and offices, but also for shops, hotels, housing and leisure. He’d seen it done in Canada and Australia and believed it could be done in Salford. Within 10 years, £280 million worth of investment had come rolling in and much, much more was to come. Ben’s original vision helped turn the old docks into the modern Salford Quays and helped re-establish Salford’s reputation as a great city of business and enterprise.

More Salfordians now work at the Quays than at the old docks. Millions of people now visit his legacy at Salford Quays and MediaCityUK. Ben was Mayor of Salford in 2002-03. He retired as the longest-serving councillor (46 years) in 2005 and met with royalty again when the Queen gave him an MBE.

Last year he was awarded the Freedom of the City. Salford Mayor Paul Dennett, speaks for all Salfordians by putting it simply, “He is a living legend.” Happy 100th Birthday, sir.

River Irwell Social Evening



A bit short notice but who cares.

This Sunday evening the 22nd September – we will be holding a “social fish in” on the River Irwell at Agecroft in Salford.

Parking at Whitewater Drive Salford, M7 3AP

It’s up to you what you do – fish, chat, walk the dog/wife/kids…. whatever.

A few anglers have said that they will be fishing the stick float for dace/roach/chub – another member has said he will be lure fishing.

No set plans other than to fish from 4pm until dusk, and then retire to the nearby Racecourse Hotel on Littleton Rd for a beer.

Everyone welcome.

Old River Match Result 14th Sept 2019

We held another match on the Old River in Irlam today

Only a few anglers found the fish

1st Tony Shep 10lb 5oz – 3 lovely tench

2nd Pete Kay 2lb 5oz – a net of roach and small skimmers

We raised £30 for the restocking fund

Many thanks to Mike Donigan of Monton Bait & Tackle who donated a £10 tackle voucher for the winning angler.


We had planned to hold two further matches in September at Drinkwater Park and The River Irwell in Salford…. sadly both of these events have been cancelled. We will be announcing more fishing matches for October, November and December very soon.

Match photos below

Drinkwater Park – A bit of weeding

Like any garden – if left alone for any length of time – the weeds can take over.

A lake is no different – and while the club have been spending time and effort combating the blanket weed that has ruined summer sport over the past few years… some of the swims have become a little overgrown. Mainly due to a reduction in numbers of anglers fishing the lake.

The work the committee has undertaken in recent years with restocking and blanket weed reduction measures now appears to be paying off, with tremendous fish being caught from the more popular (clear) swims. Just take a look at these two fantastic fish below to get an idea of the quality of fish that is being caught on Drinkwater Park this summer.

There not only large fish such as carp and tench coming out though… anglers fishing single maggot on the waggler are catching tremendous nets of roach rudd perch and bream.

As the club are entering into fund raising mode again – we thought that moving some of our club matches from the Old River in Irlam to Drinkwater Park Lake would be a good idea, and a nice change of scenery for the regular match supporters.

So… we decided to hold a few work parties to make a start on clearing out bull rushes and raking out the fringe lillies.

Many thanks to everyone who has turned out on the two work parties we have held so far (with another due to be announced soon)

We started off with a view like this

And ended up with a peg that now looks like this

And another peg that now looks like this

And the came back again to open a third peg up at the top end of the front lake.

Over the next week or so…. we hope to open up a total of 20 pegs on Drinkwater Park (front and back lake) and then start holding a match a month in September, October and November.

Its well worth the short walk from the car park — but just remember that you need to give your approach a bit of thought at this venue…. its not a good plan to be throwing out leads and bait that sink out of reach in the middle of dense weed beds…. find the clear spots, pop up you baits, and give the fish a chance to find it.

Many many thanks to everyone who has volunteered their time. Very much appreciated.

Old River Match Record Broken

We held a match on the Old River Irwell in Irlam this evening to have some fun and raise funds for the Friendly Anglers Fund

1st Chris Fletcher – 16lb 12oz (5 tench) a new match record !

2nd Gregg Garbett – 6lb 8oz (2 tench plus bits)

3rd Paul Nelson – 6lb (2 tench)

4th Mike Duddy – 1lb 12oz (1 tench)

5th Mike Clare – 1lb 10oz

6th Mike Cootes – 1lb 9oz

7th Brian Donaghy – DNW

Well done Chris – you smashed it this evening

A really encouraging set of weights with fish being caught all over the lake…. great news that the Old River is in full recovery mode after the big pollution event of a few years ago.

We are holding another match on Saturday evening the 17th August – draw 4pm fish until dusk – £10 all in.

Please book on in advance by sending £10 to admin@salfordfriendlyanglers.co.uk via paypal

Plenty of room for everyone – lots of fish coming out, and good company

The new total raised for our Friendly Anglers Fund now stands at £275..

If you can’t make it to one of our fishing matches and would like to donate to The Friendly Anglers Fund…. you can do so by sponsoring 4 of our club members in the 13 Arches Half Marathon via this link 


River Irwell Carp

We should stop describing Salford angler Kaden McCarthy as “young” and start using the word expert.

Kadens latest fish, a 25lb common carp from the lower River Irwell certainly cements his position as one of the best anglers in our club.

Check out this River Irwell Carp

River Irwell carp

River Irwell Carp

And for us mere mortals – The Irwell holds a good head of carp downstream of the M60 – but finding them and then catching them is a different story !

Well done Kaden.

If you’re interested in having a look at some more amazing fish from local waters take a look by clicking this link below – all of them caught by Kaden

Manchester Monsters Of The Deep