Irwell Ramsbottom 26 Jun 15

I was surprised to find that I had not fished this piece of the river since April last year. Why I stopped going there I can’t remember, it used to be one of my regular haunts. It can be a problem to fish when the river is up, which it wasn’t today. Nice and dull again with a forecast of rain, which did come but not enough to change the river.

Fished a Peasant tail nymph down stream and was soon into a fish.

 Not monsters but better than the average Bradshaw Brook fish.

 All had much better colour than the silver ones that I have been catching further down the river.

 Once I was down to the rail bridge I changed to dry Adams and started back up, missed a couple,

 Then caught this one, by far the best of the day

 Carried on up to the Ramsbottom Road bridge without any luck.

Above the bridge is a weir, as I went under the bridge I was herding a family of  Malards towards the weir. The mother went up the weir and the dozen young tried to follow, all but two made it, the last two were in a panic and kept slipping back down. I tried to help but this upset the mother so I left them at it.

Irwell Nob End to Stoneclough 23 Apr15

Went to Nob End, crossed the Croal and then the Irwell, by the canal aqueduct, and made my way down to the river. I have fished the stretch above and below the Bury Bolton Manchester Canal Aqueduct, but not for some time. The main reason for today’s trip was to make my way down river to where there used to be a weir that was taken out last year.

 This is what it used to look like with the large weir pool above.

Quite a change

and of course no more weir pool.

I had hoped the the change would bring an improvement in the fishing but the man in the distance, who fishes here quite often told me that it is not the case. The weir pool used to hold a good head of Chub, they have moved on as the river is now fast and quite shallow, some trout are still in attendance, not that I caught any in the stretch in the picture.

 I fished my way back up until I was opposite where the Croal joins the Irwell, nothing rising nothing caught.

 Where the Croal joins the Irwell I found a couple of fish rising and got one to take a look at my fly but nothing else. The structures in the distance are the footbridge that I crossed the river on, sewage pipes and the canal aqueduct.

 Looking back towards the Croal Irwell confluence, looks good but nothing to show, until I was just short of the footbridge where I hooked and lost two fish. Sorry I forgot to say I was fishing dry fly.

Looking back at the Canal Aqueduct.

 Up above the canal aqueduct, it looks much better but it is very hard to get to, changed rig to a Greenwells and a Iron Blue.

Where I actually managed to land a fish, it took the Greenwells.

The river is summer low and I would not have been able to access all that I did if the river rises by as little as a foot. The bottom bit where the weir used to be can be accessed from Stoneclough, not that I think I will bother to.

Rain forecast for tomorrow evening all the rivers and brooks could do with a good flush to move some of the alga, Surprised to read that it puts oxygen into the rivers in the day time, but takes it out again in the night.

River Irwell Ewood Bridge 17 Mar 15

The Irwell was up a little and still had some colour, in fact it looked a bit sick. The day was overcast and cold, but not as cold as it has been, probably due to there being no wind to speak of, which always helps.

Started down from the bridge fishing a copper john nymph which produced total nothing except a lost fly on the far bank.

 Got out of the river and walked up passed Ewood Bridge, Taking a few pictures as I walked

 This is just above Ewood Bridge not very deep and hard to fish, you must be in the river gets even harder once the Knot Weed is up..

 This is a bit easier once  you get down the bank.

Bank problems again, but normally worth the effort once you get to the other bank..

The weir pool looking down river not for wading from this bank..

 I intending to not to fish until I was above the motorway and that’s what I did, not expecting to see any rising fish and that’s how it was until I got to the top of the weir pool above the motorway bridge where a couple of fish were taking flies on the surface.

 The fish were rising in the water on the left, which made it difficult to get a fly at them without being noticed.

The nymph came off and on went an Adams dry, usually gets results early on in the year. But not today,changed to a Iron Blue and tried again and caught a good fish.

In a lot better condition than the fish I caught on Sunday in the Croal and a bit bigger as well. Put up a good fight and put the other fish down. Moved up to the next pool to another rising fish. No Joy.

 Came back down to the weir pool, but no fish on the rise. Started back down river looking for rising fish and casting to likely spots with no results.

Getting colder so of home for a warm up.

Kick Sample & Fishing Ewood Bridge 2 May 14

My monthly sample was not much of an improvement on last month and the figures are well down on last year.

Seems strange as it has been a mild winter, which I would have thought would be good the insect life of the river. As far as I know there has been no pollution reported, although there has been a lot of work improving the sewage system up river at Rawtenstall.

Today I noticed that the river had a milky colour which is strange as we have had no rain worth mentioning for a couple of weeks. After I finished the sampling I went up river to look for what might be the cause of the colour, before I had gone half a mile the river became a lot clearer, so what ever it was it had stopped.


As usual after the sampling I started fishing, the river was low and has a bed covered in a brown alga which meant that the water was not very clear. It was cold and mostly cloudy with no sign of a hatch, started with a nymph, Goldhead Copper John.

Hooked a couple of tiny three inch browns in the fast water but then I was getting plenty of knocks but could not hook anything. Moved down river and changed to a Goldhead Peasant Tail couple more small fish and then this one.

         A nice clean 11 inch fish that ran me about for a while before coming to the net.


Getting a little better at the underwater pictures, you can see the Alga on the river bed.

 As this one above had made such a fuss before being netted I moved down river 15 yards and started again, soon into another, not quite as big but still a good fish. About 9 inches. Should have wiped the lens after the under water photo.

If the first one caused a fuss this one went daft, By the river I was going to call it Bob Beamon, it was only when I got home that I remember that it was Dick Fosbury that did the high jump Beamon was a long jumper. Why, well it left the water completely seven times before I netted it.


Up river I changed to dry fly and caught several more small and very small fish, I don’t like catching immature fish but at least it shows that the river has a breeding stock and suitably gravel for them to use.


Moving back down river changed back to a Copper John and caught several more smaller ones and lost a very good fish after a few minutes fight above the weir by the motorway, never mind can’t win them all.


I think we can say goodbye to this tree.

The river has been  under cutting that bank for quite a while, its a shame to see a mature Silver Birch on its last legs. Next heavy rain and it will be gone.



River Douglas 11 April 2014

Didn’t fancy going fishing this morning, but what to do if I didn’t. No grass to cut, the hedge will not need trimming for a few weeks yet, thought about washing the car. What’s up with meget the car loaded and go fishing, glad I did.


Been thinking about the Douglas for the last few days so that’s where I went. Parked on the A6 and walked down the path and over the railway line.

The Douglas is not very wide and the banks can be pretty high in places, lots of weed in the river already and lots of silt on the inside of the bends must be careful, at least the banks side growth has as yet not got under way. When it does it makes fishing from the bank almost impossible.


6’6″ rod, floating line, gold head copper john. Sunny with a cold wind no fish rising, fished down stream from the footbridge. First small pool produced this one, excellent start for a change.


Moved down a little and into this one, could be a good day.


Got better with number three, really pleased I made the effort.


Missed a couple then netted this fish.


And then another nice fish.


Had some small ones, then a little better one.


This is the fish recovering.



This one was some fun, one the way down stream I dropped the nymph into a deep pool from a high on the bank and watched a fish come up for it, of course I stuck to early and missed it. On the way back up I tried it again and caught this smaller one, I then had the problem of getting it to my net. Ended up having to jump in and then had the problem of getting out again. I am to old for these kind of tricks.


Although I caught some good fish I did have problems all day with a slimy dark green weed that I either got caught up in or had to clean off my nymph nearly ever cast. I suppose it’s the price you pay for catching some fine fish.




 The Douglas had to have some work done to stop it causing problems with the railway line. It was getting too close to the embankment. Don’t know who planned the work but it seems to me they did a good job. Keeping the bends in the river and making it good for the fish, there are still banks that are being eroded which is natural and there is variable flow and depths through out the stretch.

The bank on the left is the railway line.

It is taking some time for the bank side to re-grow.

Quite a bit of erosion to the banks on these two photos


Caught one of the fish by the rock bank on the left.


This is the top bit above the footbridge, fished dry fly, never caught a thing, nothing rising that’s my excuse.



These are two of the more natural bits, caught a fish in both of them.


That’s it for today.


Eagley Brook 23 Mar 14

After last nights rain I wasn’t expecting to find a river that was fish able, checked the EA river levels, not as high as I thought they would be.

As the forecast was for showers I decide not to travel to far, but check out Bradshaw Brook and the Tonge where they meet at Leverhulme Park. Both were up and muddy, though not too bad.

Spoke to a chap who was packing up he told me he had a good trout on a Klinkhammer below the road bridge. Had a chat about joining Salford Friendly he said he would.


Decided to go to the Valley and fish Eagley Brook down from Hall i’ th’ Wood and behind the new flats.  Parked by the cinema and fished dry fly, nothing rising and no takes. Changed to a Nymph and started off down stream.

The nymph I put on came to me last week when I went to visit my older brother, he used to fish for salmon and trout but he is in his eighties and not able to fish anymore. Anyway, he gave me a box of flies, mostly salmon flies and some big streamers, but in the box there was also a few nymphs. Mostly nothing like what I use, anyway one of them was hairy black and red lump. As the stream was murky I though I would give it a try.

Had two takes and missed then both, had a good look at the nymph, which left very little if the hook showing, so I gave it a trim. The next take stayed on, nice fish no photo as I was in the middle of the stream. Had another three before I got to the road bridge, this was the last one.

Moved on down behind the flats, not been there for over a year, had a couple more, still in the middle of the stream so no photos again.


Like the Irwell, Eagley Brook has lots of sewer over flows, in the half mile that I fished was the following.

 Running clear at the moment but not always, the muck above the pipe comes from this below.

When the pipe is full it lifts the man hole cover and sewage goes into the stream not very nice.



Farther down stream is also this one.

Along with the sewer overflows there are also several surface water outlets into the stream.

This one next to the cinema has a sign that says “Outlet” not sure what comes out of it.

Bury Ground & farther down 5 Feb 14 More Pollution Hunting

Been out taking more photos of effluent outflows on the Irwell and Kirklees Brook, which joins the Irwell just above Bury Bridge.


Starting on Kirklees, United Utilities list two Storm Sewer Overflows(SSOs).  Unless the first one is under the building or is the small pipe I could find no trace.


The second one is another matter.


This one is most definitely in need of some TLC.


Back down on the Irwell just above and below Bury Bridge we have two listed SSOs.


This one above the bridge is really nasty and should have a screen across it.



This one below is no better, both seem to run all the time.




These small pipes  are all just above the bridge,  not listed, could be anything.


The other problem that is everywhere, is fly tipping. Just a few examples in plain view below Bury Bridge.

If I can see it surely the council can too.



 The only access to the far bank is through businesses and gardens.




There is no access to most of the river below Bury Bridge until the end of Wellington St where I cross the river on a footbridge and walk down to a weir where I find my next problem.



Not listed, the Bury canal used to be up the bank from here now there are some factories

This one is listed,.if there was any doubt about how often it flows, it has worn its own pool in the river side.

You can hear the sewage flowing when you stand near this pipe.


Farther down we have this listed SSO at least it has a screen fitted.


Nothing much until we get to Warth Bridge.

 This above the bridge.

This below.

Neither are listed.


I moved well down river onto Dumers Lane where a path used to let you walk down the river, across from  the Bury Waste Water Treatment Works(Sewage Farm) to Close Park.




Don’t know from where or what this is.

But it has a ladder to get down to it.



The Path I mentioned has been blocked off with a fence and gate when this was constructed. If it’s meant to replace the drain above it ain’t doing so.



Managed to bypass the gate and walk down the path, which is now getting overgrown, until I got to the WWTW outflow.




That’s clean treated effluent.




This is where it comes out  when there is an storm that causes an over flow. Even at the WWTW there is now screening to catch you know what.


Still lots to photograph, missed a few on this trip, will get them some other time.

Kick Sampling and Pollution Hunting 30 January 14

Went to my usual spot at Ewood Bridge on the Irwell and did a kick sample. 12 Cased Caddis and 12 Olives(Baetidae) Nymphs. Up on Caddis but as expected for this time of year, down on nymphs.

Didn’t do a sample at beginning of January as the river was to high.


I have been finding and photographing, along with Mike Duddy at Salford Friendly Anglers and others, sewage and industrial outflows into the Irwell.

Also Eagley and Bradshaw Brooks, the rivers Croal, Tonge, Ogden and Roch  which all end up in the Irwell, as do quite a few others.

Mike is going to set up a group in SFA, to chart  the pollution problems in the Irwell catchment and with the help of United Utilities and the Environment Agency, hopefully reduce, if not stop it.


It is not always certain what it is that is coming out of pipes and culverts. By the spot that I kick sample is this.

It runs almost all the time, could be a stream that comes off he golf course, a spring, or it could be road run off mixed with the other two. Looks clean but who knows.

A few yards down stream is this dribbling pipe.

Just above the bridge is a different type of outlet.

Never seen much coming out of it, most likely was connected to the old mill that used to be above it.

As were possibly, these smaller ones a few yards up stream.

Is it road run off or something from the new units where the old mill used to be. Mind you road run off is bad enough.

A little further up stream.

Could be a stream, it runs all the time, but  again could be from the new units where the old mill used to be.

Up thirty forty yards on this bank we have.

I have always thought it was a stream or a spring but who knows what’s in there.



Hard to tell what is going into the river without taking samples , all these are in a 150 yard stretch of the river.

It’s not uncommon to find places that have as many and at times many more than this short stretch.


River Irwell Above Rawtenstall 14 Jan 14.

When I got down to where the Limey joined the Irwell I started on up the Irwell. A bigger river than the Limey, but with the same problem. THE WALLS.


What can I say, its a river , but not as it should be, and its not going to change. At least it cleaner than it used to be and there are trout in there. But how do you get to them.

Under the road and more walls.


At least there is a bit of grass here, but its still eight foot down to the river.

Industrial Lancashire.

Not getting any better.

Just to make sure the trout can not move up river to spawn, a nasty weir.and then into a tunnel.

Quite a bit up it comes into the light again.

The walls continue.

On and On.

Under another bridge and still no access to the water

Looks like we may be able to get to the water at last.


Yep access at last, might be able to cast with a 7 foot rod.

Look quite open might even get in with a 8 foot, mind when the leaves are on the trees it will not look so open.

Didn’t last for long back to the walls.

Really inviting, NOT.

What is it about DOG owners that makes them think that this is acceptable.

Benjamin Franklin said the two certainty’s of life where “Death and Taxes” I think it should be change to three. Death Taxes and DOG SHIT. the curse of anybody who walks in grass, in fact any body who walks any where.

Looking back down river. Still no chance.


Concrete river bed no fish here.

Decide to call it a day. Just noticed the time on my camera is wrong there’s no way it was half pas five when I took this one. Must be on Cyprus time from my holiday.


Well I found one bit of river that I might be able to catch fish come the season, only two months to go.



River Limey Rawtenstall to Crawshawbooth 14 Jan 14

In my blog “Walking from Rawtenstall to Burrs Country Park” in November I started down river from where the Limey and the Irwell met.


Today I walked up the Limey, which like the Irwell, is not easy to get into above Rawtenstall. A little above where it meets the Irwell  it goes under ground, under the road and emerges by the ASDA superstore,

 There are fish there but getting to them is another matter. At the top end it goes into another tunnel before emerging and going under the road.




 Looking back at ASDA.

Now on the other side of the road. Still no way to get into the river, unless you bring a step ladder.


A little further up the walls are even higher.

Then its off under ground again.

When it next reappears there is no access at all.




 A walk up the main road and we meet the river again as it comes under the road.


This is looking down river from the road bridge.(This is the bridge where I later found the sewage)


Across the road and its looking more like a river should.

Not perfect but a lot better than down river.

The white building in the middle of the picture is a pub, the river runs under it.


And then the walls start again. Then its under ground again.

And on go the walls.

Whom ever had the contract for the walls must have made some money.

On and on.

And then a weir, for what I am not sure.

And then still more wall.


A bridge that has stood the test of time, they don’t build them like that anymore.

Its going where I can not follow, will walk up the road. see if it comes back to me.

 Further up the road it came out of a tunnel, across the road and of we go again


Still the walls but we are away from the road for a while.



Back to the road and on again.

The walls the walls will they ever end.

 Arrived at Crawshawbooth and started back.


I know that there are trout in the river but how to get at them is going to be a problem. Also, at the moment there is of plenty of water, but in the summer it will be a lot less.


On my way back, as I cross one of the bridges over the river there was this god awful stink from the river.

At first I thought it was coming from the pipe in the picture. But on further inspection  I found it was coming from under the road. The water on the other side of the road was clear and clean.

United Utilities must have sewerage plant nearby, which would appear to be in the need of a up grade, as what was going into the river was disgusting.

 The river changed colour and so did the Irwell when this muck got to it.


A good clear river turned into a sewer, will we ever be able to stop this pollution.

Join Salford Friendly Anglers and help us try, it cost nowt so do it..