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River Irk Clean Up Event Oct 2015

River Irk Clean Up

Many thanks to everyone who turned out for our River Irk Clean Up event in Blackley.

Heavy rain over the previous few days resulted in the water quality being too poor for us to ask our volunteers to get in the river and get wet dragging rubbish out. The potential for people to pick up some seriously nasty bugs was just too high. The river hasn’t earned the nick name “The Dirty Irk” without good reason.

So instead we stuck to cleaning the river banks.  As you can see from the picture above, we found all the usual suspects which seem to inhabit our urban rivers. Bike wheels, plastic patio chairs, umbrellas, shopping trolleys, and of course an inner city specialty in the plastic coating from stripped copper cables.

A good mornings work, cleaning 3 sections of river bank between Sainsburys and the BT Cable Yard in Blackley.

As you can see from the pic below, the Irk also treated the two volunteers who did venture into the river with a foamy bath, courtesy of the run off from the car wash at the local Sainsburys, and the truck was slightly upstream of the m60 motorway both of which run off directly into the river.

River Irk Clean Up

The shopping trolley at the front of the pic was removed, but you can see the permanent foam lane on the far bank which isn’t visible in the river, upstream of the two offending locations.

Hopefully with a little council co-operation we will be able to get these two sources of pollution dealt with.

Our next clean up event will be held in Ashton U Lyne on the River Tame. 10.30am start on the 29th Nov. Meet outside the Station Hotel.

This will be the last event of the year – and our clean up events will re-commence in Spring 2016

What A Cracker

Congratulations to 12 year old Kaden McCarthy from Salford, on the capture of this magnificent 20lb+ pike from the Rochdale Canal in the City Centre of Manchester.

Manchester Pike

A superb fish, caught on ledgered sprat and a dead cert winner of Salford Friendly Anglers annual “fish of the year” competition.

If any adult angler submits an entry for this competition between now and are Xmas do, they will be drummed out of the club.

If you’re thinking that this was a lucky one “one off” capture, then you’d be very mistaken. This is Kadens 2nd 20lb+ pike from the centre of Manchester this year, and he can also claim more feathers in his cap with the capture of some decent carp and chub this summer too.

So, John Wilson watch out, Martin Bowler move over – keep your eyes peeled next time you’re on the bank for our own superstar in the making Kaden McCarthy.

Police Catch Poachers Red Handed At Drinkwater Park

Greater-Manchester-police-007

Many thanks to Greater Manchester Police, whose prompt response to our call for help resulted in the arrest of two poachers on our community fishing lake at Drinkwater Park.

An eagle eyed venue regular spotted 2 men acting suspiciously this morning, and reported their activity to a club committee member.

He saw that the men were pike fishing with 5 rods each,  and had a take on one of the rods which they weren’t paying any attention to.

Once they noticed that one of their baits had been taken, they reeled in a 5lb+ pike, killed it by a blow to the head and then put it into a bag.

Now we do not allow fish to be killed or taken from out waters. Its theft. We cherish all our fish, especially a delicate predator like Pike.

If we had to replace that 5lb Pike from a fish farm it would cost us over £50.

So, if you ran a shop or a business and you saw someone stealing something to the value of £50 what would you do??

Easy – call the police and have them arrested.

And that’s exactly what we did this morning.

Using the 101 non emergency number we called the switchboard at Greater Manchester Police, and told them what had happened. We told them that its illegal to fish with more than two rods at a time and these guys had 5 each. And we told them that they were killing and stealing our fish (which they were) from a community lake, managed by the community with the help of the local council, EA and Forestry Commission in such a way as to provide free fishing for families.

And then we supplied GMP with the deal sealer – using the information available to us via the Angling Trusts “how to report poachers” webpage – we were able to quote the police/legal codes of the laws that these guys were breaking so that the officer sent to investigate could deal with the matter effectively and with full knowledge of the relevant laws these people were breaking.

At the end of our conversation, we asked the lady on the GMP switchboard if it was likely if they would send out an officer to respond to our call, and were amazed to hear that an officer was already on the way to the lake. Brilliant.

20 minutes later we got a call from an officer on the banks of Drinkwater Park Lake, who had apprehended two men, fishing without valid rod licences, with 5 rods each and dead fish in their possession. Add to the mix a witness of all this taking place from the angling club and Bobs Your Uncle – these guys are going to court.

Many thanks to our eagle eyed member who thought to report this to us. Many thanks to the Angling Trust for giving us the information we needed to help us report the offenders properly and many many thanks to Greater Manchester Police for such a prompt response and helping to protect a community angling facility from some selfish, ignorant &@#ks

Irwell Clean Up September 2015

A new start to our series of river clean up and habitat improvement events.

We deliberately chose a section of river we know well at Dumers Lane, Radcliffe which benefits from nice easy access and shallow water. Our new Gazebo got its first airing and the kettle boiled promptly at 10.30am by which time 15 volunteers had showed up ready to crack on.

River Irwell clean up - a nice bright start

River Irwell clean up – a nice bright start

We split into two groups, the first doing the hard graft of removing decades worth of tyres, traffic cones, push bikes, assorted grot and a sweet little dolly. By 2pm when we finished, an amazing pile of grot had been accumulated (awaiting council removal on Monday morning).

Cleaning out the tyres

Cleaning out the tyres

And the shopping trolleys

And the shopping trolleys

An Irwell Doly

An Irwell Mermaid

A good days haul !! Many thanks to everyone for their efforts

A good days haul !!
Many thanks to everyone for their efforts

Our other smaller group took on a very different task – a mini habitat improvement project, cleaning a section of algae clogged river bed, turning the gravel over with rakes, and then planting rannunculus (water crows foot) to show what the Irwell could be if given a chance.

As you can see from this series of photos, the river bed is coated in thick slimy algae (caused by over enrichment of the water by sewage). This algae coats and clogs up the river gravels which need to be clean and well oxygenated in order to support the wide variety of insects a river needs to develop healthy ecosystems.

The left of the photo showing dark algae clogged river bed. The right showing lovely bright clean gravel

The left of the photo showing dark algae clogged river bed. The right showing lovely bright clean gravel

It only takes a little raking over before the difference can be seen – and then a little green magic was dug into the river bed (ranunculus) which has the effect of stripping the water of nutrients, providing homes for insects and little fish, and also providing spawning material for coarse fish.

Ranunculus (water crows foot)  Looks amazing in summer

Ranunculus (water crows foot)
Looks amazing in summer

Green magic

Green magic

Why can't the Irwell always look this good ?

Why can’t the Irwell always look this good ?

Despite us only clearing 5 metres sq of river bed, the contrast was stark – the dirty grey river bed clogged in algae and the clean brown gravel flecked with the bright green fronds of ranunculus.

Now we have to determine a way to ensure it remains this way.

Our next clean up event is taking place on the River Irk in Blackley on Sunday the 25th October. If you fancy doing something different with your time – you are welcome to come and join us improving our local rivers.

You can keep up to date with future events via our events page

 

Old River Plan Updated

I’ve spent some time writing a bid application to get some funding for a further restocking of the Old River in Irlam

I added a few pages of back ground content – to give the funders a better idea of who we are, what we do, why we do it and our relationship with the Old River in Irlam

Makes and interesting read

Click on the picture or link below to get the full story

OR5

H1 – The Old River Restoration Project

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.

An Irwell Sea Trout?

Every now an then, anglers catch the most beautiful silvery blue wild trout on the Irwell, which if caught on other rivers such as the Ribble, we wouldn’t hesitate to call a sea trout.

These silver trout have cropped up time and time again, sometimes only 10 inches in length, sometimes a couple of pounds in weight.

We have often raised the question with the EA if these fish are true sea trout, and their standard response is no – they can’t be, and that without the proof of their being to sea, they continue to claim that the fish we are catching are normal brown trout which have undergone the smolting process before going to sea.

The proof required is a scale from the fish. The growth rings on the scale show if the fish has been to sea or not. And so far, us anglers have never been able to provide a scale sample for the EA to analyse  UNTIL NOW !!

Capture

Click on the photo to see it in full size.

This fish was caught by SFAS member Adam Mack near Manchester City Centre this afternoon.

The photo doesn’t do the fish justice, it was a pure bar of silver and blue when it was caught.

Sadly the fish didn’t survive as it had swallowed the spinner and the trebles had caught in its gills. So not only do we have the photos as proof, this time we have an entire fish to take to the EA offices on Tuesday morning.

So…..lets see what the experts say. Will the growth rings shown on its scales be tightly packed as per a river fish, or will there be rings that have wide separation which show the exponential growth that trout experience when they go to sea !

We will of course let you know the outcome.

What A Cracker

Well done to SFAS member Stewart Carson who caught the brownie of a lifetime this evening from the River Irwell.

This cracking 10lb brown trout fell to a gold and red size 2 mepps, and was safely returned to the river.

It looks like a wonderfully strong, healthy fish with plenty of growing left to do – if it keeps growing it could easily go on to surpass the existing Irwell record brownie of 12lb 2oz.

Capture

Salford Inner City Wetland

Please click the photo to see the full size version of the plans for our new inner city wetland, currently being created on the site of the old Salford Racecourse at Castle Irwell.

Capture

River Irwell Concept Plan

The EA and Salford Council are constructing a new £10m+ flood storage basin, which they say will protect low lying areas of Salford from a 1 in a 100 year flooding event. Lets hope they’ve got their sums right.

Anyway – this new wetland/flood basin has been designed by the Wildfowl and Wetland Trust – and we have had some say in the project – and think its rather good.

Originally we hoped to get a new fishing lake, but that was soon quashed by the planners at the EA – however we all love wildlife and this new habitat area will tick all the boxes for bring life back to inner city Salford.

What do you think about 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.