Old River Restocking March 2016

Thanks to a very generous grant from The Hamilton Davies Trust  we have been able to stock 300 10inch+ tench into the Old River in Irlam.

We are going to be spending considerable time, energy and cash on this venue during 2016 and hope that the work we do will finally bring the place back to life as a fishery.

As you can see from the pictures below – we have gone for quality rather than quantity – and have bought fish that are 4+ years old in the knowledge that they will be ready to spawn this summer.



Cracking new tench for the Old River Irwell in Irlam

Cracking new tench for the Old River Irwell in Irlam


Pleased to see you !

Pleased to see you !


Many thanks to Tony Prescott and Hamilton Davies Trust for listening to us and then agreeing to help

Many thanks to Tony Prescott and Hamilton Davies Trust for listening to us and then agreeing to help


It took 10 trips with the bin to and from the pick up truck - great to see so many big fish being stocked

It took 10 trips with the bin to and from the pick up truck – great to see so many big fish being stocked


Our plan for the Old River this year includes replanting the floating islands, taking 18 inches off the depth of the lake by cleaning out the outflow channel, removing the old failing wooden platforms and replacing them with new pegs, rebuilding the disabled fishing pegs, constructing new steps down to some of the less accessible pegs, stocking more fish, planting new reed and lily beds, refurbishing the floating islands………the list seems endless but we are 100% committed to restoring this fishing gem to its former glories.

There will be lots of skills needed, and lots of opportunities for you to take part in our work parties – the dates of which will be announced at the end of this month.

We’re going to be busy !!

Many thanks Hamilton Davies Trust



Old River Irlam Bathymetric Survey Report

Restoring the Old River Irwell in Irlam after its near total wipe out from a pollution incident in 2008 has been a long and difficult process.

We’ve been working together on the Old River Project our local Environment Agency fisheries team since we took over the lease on the lake in 2012.

Since 2012 we have re-built pegs, stocked nearly 10,000 fish (roach, rudd, tench and bream) but the task of returning the lake to its former glories has proved much more difficult than we originally thought it would be.

On 11th February our EA fisheries team organised a  3D bathymetric survey of lake.

If you click on the photo below – you can read the full report.

old river bathymetric1


Irlam Bathy Report

Mersey Salmon – An Anglers Ambition

Some great footage of Salmon attempting a weir on the Mersey – we are continuing our battle to sort out the three fish passes necessary for Salmon to get back into the Irwell system. Watch the vid below


A Day On The Ribble

Derek Roach

After blanking three times on our weather beaten river I was getting desperate to catch a fish
I was thinking of going on the Irwell Sunday afternoon, then I remembered I’d not Christened my new Acolyte rod and the last three visits on the Irwell I’d blanked so a change of plan saw me heading north up to the Ribble for a couple of hours. Plan was to go up to the farm above Church deeps as it had been producing some lovely Roach of late, and go give bread a good go as it can at times sort out the better fish.
Walking up passed Church deep everyone had their nets in and I saw the odd good Dace coming out but I stuck to my plan and pushed on further up. Settling in opposite the Willow I feed some crumb and ground bait mix and introduced some bread flake to hopefully get them in the mood. Thankfully it was a dry afternoon albeit a tad windy as I’d not got my Brolly. I opted to fished a 8 No 4 aly stemmed stick with a 16 hook so I could start on the Bread flake with an option of fishing a bunch of maggots. I’d stopped and chat with the chap below who had been steadily catching Dace all afternoon, but being after the Big Roach I stuck to plan A and started out on the bread. Last year Craig had had some cracking Roach 3 or 4 of which were over the 2 lb mark, and I’d not even seen a 2 pounder let alone caught one.
Starting off at 4 ft I feed another ball of ground bait and started exploring the swim, each time the small piece of bread breaking off and feeding the swim. Bread fishing is all about confidence and a lot of anglers are too concerned about their bait coming off, but in effect that’s what you want, the bait to come off after every trott or it is on to hard. Today the wind was all over the place and manly blowing in my face which is not the best conditions for presenting a stick float, a good trick to compensate for this is to put a back shot around 18 inch above your float which could be anything up to a BB depending on your size of float and the conditions. Today I just used a No6 which helped to keep the float on course giving a far better presentation and ultimately more chance of tempting a fish.
I’d been fishing for around 20 minutes when Stuart who was fishing below me popped his head over for a chat and see how I was getting on, although I didn’t know Stuart he was a good friend of Ribble Pete so we had something in common apart from the fishing.
Up to now I’d not even had a bite, then right on cue as I my float reached the end of the run it dipped under and I struck in to a decent fish, it was nice to see a health bend in my spanking new rod, but what had taken my bait? As I played the fish up river the anticipation started growing was it a Chub or a large Roach (-:
When at last the fish broke the surface my face much have said it all as a lovely silver Roach revealed its self , what a great start and exactly what I’d come for. Stuart did the honours and kindly took the trophy shot, before I slipped it in to the keep-net to be weighed later. It’s always nice when you catch a fish when someone is watching, and with a good fish under my belt all the effort had been worth it and it didn’t take long before another ½ Roach was in the net. At this stage I was thinking I might be on for a red letter day but after fishing for another hour on bread I didn’t see another fish, just a few knocks which were probably Dace.
Time for a change for the last hour, step to hook length down to 0.11 and a 18 hook to see if I could tempt a few Dace or bring the Roach on with steady feeding of maggots but alas as the light started fading I’d only managed a small Chub and three nice Dace.
I had intended to fish till the death but with the rain making a appearance I called it a do and headed back. Although I’d not had many fish I was well chuffed with a couple of decent Roach the biggest being 1.10 lb caught on bread with my new rod making it all the sweeter.
Lets hope there will be many more to follow, the Ribble is certainly the place to go if you are in search of decent Roach.
Photo Courtesy of Stuart, strangely the picture doesn’t do the fish justice, I will have to get some lessons off Craig the master Roach man (-:

The Old River – Some Great News

At long last – we have some great news to share about the Old River Irwell in Irlam

We have been awarded a grant from a local charity The Hamilton Davies Trust to restock with 300 x 10″ inch tench – which should weigh in at a smidgen under a pound each.

These fish will be arriving shortly – and we let everyone know what day they are coming once we have confirmation of delivery date so people can see them being stocked.

The news gets even better…… The Hamilton Davies Trust  have agreed to fund a second restocking of tench next winter 2017 too !!

Isn’t that fantastic !

Now – we have good news on top of good news

Next week we are going to be able to announce some more good news for the Old River – the committee of Salford Friendly have been busy working on various projects/deals/grants over the last few months – and it appears as though our hard work is beginning to pay dividends…..

Watch this space – it will be updated very shortly with our new fishery improvement plan for the Old River.

re-stockig tench

Fish Of The Year 2015

Congratulations to Kaden McCarthy – aged 12 from Salford. Winner of Salford Friendly Anglers fish of the year competition 2015

Manchester Pike

Not only did young Kaden manage to capture this magnificent 22lb pike from a canal in the City Centre of Manchester, he went out a week later and caught another slightly bigger but less photogenic fish from a different part of the same canal.

Castlefield Bream


Add bream from the Castlefield Basin, and some great carp from Moss Farm Fishery into the mix then you end up with a very deserving young winner, who has been out in all weathers catching fish that would make any senior member proud to catch.

So Kaden was invited to our recent Christmas meeting where instead of receiving the usual bottle of Cognac for winning, we presented our young winner with a Spro Drop Shooting rod and reel. Presented by local angling legend Ant Glascoe Jnr – predator fisherman extraordinaire – who generously brought along a goodie bag of items from his own personal stash of gear.


Top of the range Costa Sunglasses, loads of the latest Savage Gear lures – our young champ was highly delighted with his haul of goodies on the evening.

Maybe best of all, Ant Glascoe Jnr has promised to take him out fishing on a couple of local venues next Spring.

We done Kaden McCarthy – fish of the year winner 2015 !!

fish of the year 2015 winner


The to cap off a fine night for the young man, he won first prize in our raffle, a new 12ft barbel rod……. this fella has luck and skill, a great combination.

Kaden – back home with his prizes.

cap66  cap67

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


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