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Dereks First Grayling Trip

First proper Grayling session,
Sundays forecast was not the best and lying in bed listening to the rain on the windows didn’t inspire me to get up. As I drove down to the Chester the weather started to brighten up, my plan was to head down to the Dee and see if I could catch myself a nice Grayling or two.

Derek Grayling
I’d only ever caught a small one years ago on the Dane so I was keen as Pete had reported catching some lovely ones over a pound. First stop was Eccleston Ferry just south of Chester and maybe having a couple of hours and see how it went with the option of moving south to the Alyn a small river near Wrexham. Eccleston Ferry is a lovely spot with pegs next to where you part making it ideal for those who struggle to walk any distance. I’d not fished the Dee before so noting the heavy boat traffic I started on the Stick 2 rod lengths out, with others around me opting for the Feeder. The river lends its self nicely to the stick float but after an hours good presentation and not a sniff I was starting to think of making a move. Next cast push the decision as I said good by to my rig and called it a do. Walking back to the car it was obvious talking to the locals that it was going to be a hard day as only one had had a couple of small fish on the feeder.
Next stop was the Alyn (thank you satnav) situated just 10 minutes away I was hoping it would save another blank. First impressions this small river doesn’t look much but Pete had assured me that it has some lovely Grayling tucked away in the deeper runs. As I set up under the bridge things didn’t look good as it was howling down-stream making it difficult to make out the deeper runs. With 2′ of fast water to go at it wasn’t my usual choice, and I was surprised to catch a few small Trout and a lovely 3/4 pound Lady of the river. (a proper Grayling) which give a good account of its self before gracing the net. Just a word of warning for those of you like me who have not caught a Grayling before, they have to be handled with care as they are more fragile than any other fish I’ve caught and don’t like being out of the water for long. As mooching was the order of the day I headed down stream trying a few likely spots as I went and managed a few more Trout and Grayling before the Wind got the better of me and I called it a do.
With the sun shining and with time to spare I set off down river to see if I could find where the Alyn reaches the Dee, Pete had only gone part way down and we weren’t sure how far down it was but always out for an explore I followed the right bank till eventually I spotted a boat in the distance and eventually reached the Dee.
We had talked about fishing the end of the Alyn but that proved to be too shallow for my likes and I fancied the look of the Dee with steady deep water on the in side of a large bend just up river and sheltered with the wind coming straight over the high back. With my rod still set up I was fishing straight away and enjoying the best part of the day, with the sun just starting to go down with not a sole around. In that last hour I managed to put 5 big Grayling on the bank the biggest being 1.11 lb well worth all the effort. The 20 min walk back soon passed and I got to the car just as it was going dark, I’d made the most of a fickle day and been rewarded with some cracking Grayling.
If you’ve not caught one before make sure you put it on next years list.
Regards Derek

Disaster Averted – Well Done EA and UU

Last Thursday thousands of gallons of fuel were released from a petrol station in Haslingdon into the River Irwell. Thanks to the prompt response of United Utilities and the Environment Agency a potential catastrophe on the Irwell has been averted.

There were fish deaths reported downstream of Haslingdon as far as Radcliffe, but these fish deaths appear to be in isolated pockets and number in the 100’s rather than the 100’000’s which could have been expected if the pollution were allowed to move downstream unchecked.

Irwell Pollution

Its been a nervous time since news of the incident came through. Initial reports of trout up to 5lbs in weigh were very worrying, but members of our club were out in force on the river bank over the weekend monitoring events, and thankfully the worst case scenario that everyone was expecting never came about.

The worst affected areas seem to be above Irwell Vale and the confluence of the Rivers Irwell and the River Ogden, however downstream of this point members have reported seeing shoals of fry, and chub and trout rising to flys.

The fact that fish have died, up to 12 miles downstream of this point makes me ask the question about what makes some fish more susceptible to pollution than others ? It appears as though Irwell fish come from hearty stock – as they have to put up with massive variations in water quality on a regular basis.

It will be very interesting to see peoples kick sample results over the coming months to see how the rivers invertebrate life has been affected. We might think that we’ve got away with it by the skin of our teeth at present – but there might be long term effects of this fuel spill which will cause lasting damage to the river. We will have to wait and see.

In the mean time – our congratualtions go out to the EA and UU for their prompt action, and the efficient manner in which they have prevented this pollution incident from spreading. Thanks!


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.


Work Parties March 2014

Late last summer Drinkwater Park Lake had a 95% covering with blanket weed. It made fishing impossible for most anglers, and we were extremely worried that it would pose a significant health risk to fish stocks once it started to die off and rot in the winter months.

Old River Restocking Feb 2014 007

We organised various small work parties through August and September 2013 to try to rake out as much of it as we could, but it grew back quicker than we could take it out.

So on Sunday the 25th March – we have placed 7 large sausages of barley straw in the water – (which emit a natural herbicide as it rots down) and hopefully this will prevent the dreaded blanket weed from taking a hold again.

Old River Restocking Feb 2014 004

Many thank to those who turned out to help.

We also held a smaller work party on the Old River earlier in the month – with the sole purpose of replacing rotten timbers on some of the pegs. Again – many thanks to Phil Clayton, John Jones, and Phil Cantliff for their help.

We have one more work party planned in Spring 2014 – on the River Irwell in Lower Broughton when we intend to have a planting session of water crows foot. This is likely to take place on Sunday the 13th April – more details to follow on this work party in the week leading up to the event

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.

February Update


Our next meeting is 7.30pm, Tuesday the 25th February 2014 at the Kings Arms, Salford.

Everyone welcome.

Here is a roundup of some of the work we did on our waters during 2013, and what we hope to achieve in 2014.

Drinkwater Park Lake:

Was restocked during winter 2012/13 with 2000 Crucian Carp. They were noticeably absent from anglers catches in the early summer months, but started to appear as the year went on. Many anglers were asking where they had disappeared to, but you don’t catch small crucians on double sweetcorn, or single maggot on a size 14 hook. Anglers using light tackle for silver caught them steadily throughout the summer.

During the hot weather in July/August – the water levels dropped considerably (someone also blocked up the inlet stream from Rainsough which didn’t help matters). With water levels 12-18 inches down on an already shallow lake the water became super heated and blanket algae took over the entire surface of the bottom end of the lake.

We held numerous work parties to try to clear the blanket weed, but in the end the cold weather killed most of it off, rather than us anglers trying to drag it out by hand.

If it seems as though the blanket weed is going to make a comeback in 2014 then we will treat the lake with barley straw which apparently prevents blanket weed from forming

Ian Goodwin very kindly organised some junior angling coaching sessions on Drinkwater Park Lake during the school summer holidays which were well attended by the local “youth”. Hopefully these sessions will be repeated during the summer of 2014.



The carp population on Waterdale has been slowly reducing in recent years. A combination of poor handling, and fish theft have left the lake a shadow of its former glories. To combat this, and as a part of a long term strategy, we have restocked the lake with a couple of hundred 8” mirror carp. We will wait a year or two to see how they fare, and then repeat the stocking if we see it is necessary to do so.


Has benefitted from having 10,000 stunted fish netted out and put in Drinkwater Park in 2012. Its still a bite a chuck for anglers using light and sensitive tackle – however the average size of fish has nearly doubled since there is less competition for food.

As the spawning habitat is so good in Kingfisher, we anticipate that we will need to crop fish every couple of years in order to stop stunting occurring again.

It was noted during the netting that the pike population in Kingfisher is exceeding healthy. It should be considering the amount of food available to them.

The Forestry Commission have told us that they intend to drain Kingfisher, and de-silt in Winter 2014/15 – not 100% confirmed with the date, but it is most definitely on the schedule of forthcoming works.  If it does go ahead, we will net the lake and transfer fish to Drinkies. If they have earth moving plant down there, we will also ask them to clear the reeds in the top stock pond, as its so overgrown now, that its in danger of completely silting up.

Prison Pond

Great mixed fishery – don’t expect anything big – but there’s plenty of fish in there to keep you occupied.

The Old River In Irlam

2013 was a busy year on the Old River. During the winter of 12/13 we restocked 3600 skimmer bream into the Old River. This was in addition to the 200 “rescue” bream we received from a venue in Cheshire, and the 1,500 mini tench and bream we were given by the EA.

During a mid winter work party – we opened up some of the overgrown pegs, and replaced many of the rotten timbers (this work is ongoing). John Polding – an Old River Superhero has repeatedly cleared out the blockages in the over flow from the Old River, resulting in a much more stable water level. When it rains the water now flows down the outlet channel, along with the water from Irlam Moss, towards the Ship Canal – rather than backing up into the Old River.

Spring 2013 saw a large number of cormorants munching our newly stocked fish. So with the help of the EA and a couple of very well attended work parties we constructed 16 fish refuges (anti cormorant cages) and 16 floating islands to sit over the top of each cage.

We will hold another work party this spring (23rd March) to re-plant the floating islands, to right the floating island that is half sunk, and to replace rotten timbers on three pegs. Notice of the work party will be sent out via email, and also listed on the clubs website.

We have just ordered 1,000 6 inch Golden Rudd for the Old River in Irlam which will be arriving in March 2014 (hopefully they will settle and breed this summer) – and we have also been promised 40 or 50 “breeding sized” tench for the Old River by the EA. Our restocking program for this lake is ongoing . Its going to take a number of years to get The Old River back to its former glories.

Salford Quays

There have been reports of some good Pike and Carp coming out. The population of silver fish has been decimated by cormorants – we have no intention to try to restock silvers into this venue – as waste of money. However – we intend to stock more carp – as they seem to be able to evade our feathered friends better.

River Irwell

The lower river fished very badly throughout the summer of 2014. Noticeably less fish being caught. A scientific survey was undertaken into water quality by United Utilities after the pollution incident on the opening day of the fishing season. We are still awaiting the results.

Salford Friendly now have the “Intex” stretch of the Irwell above Dumers Lane in Radcliffe. This is directly upstream of the old “Halls” toffee factory where we already have the fishing lease. We hope to announce another section of river in the coming weeks in the Radcliffe area. Just waiting for the red seal of approval on a lease. All of these new river beats have been offered to Salford Friendly on peppercorn rents, in exchange for us keeping the river banks clean and tidy – a fair exchange.

We continue to scout out unwanted/unloved sections of Manchester rivers, and hope to add to our portfolio of running water in coming years.

The maps have been updated on our club website – see www.salfordfriendlyanglers.co.uk


Restocking Fund

After buying Rudd for the Old River and carp for Waterdale, our restocking fund is now down to its bare bones.

If you would like to make a donation to the restocking fund, please send a cheque made payable to Salford Friendly Anglers, to the Innovation Forum, Frederick Rd, Salford, M6 6FP – or come to our next meeting on the 25th Feb at the Kings Arms. You can also donate via paypal by sending a gift to admin@salfordfriendlyanglers.co.uk

We intend to hold a series of matches in the summer of 2014 specifically to raise funds to buy more fish.

Our waters will never match the stocking density of a commercial or heavily funded club venue. However, our priority remains to provide free fishing at a venue where you won’t struggle to get bites.

The matches will be held at the Old River (OR) and the Rochdale Canal (RC) in Chadderton on the following dates:

11th May Old River

1st June Rochdale Canal

15th June Old River

29th June Rochdale Canal

13th July Old River

27th July Rochdale Canal

10th August Old River

24th August Rochdale Canal

14th Sept Old River

28th Sept Rochdale Canal

Draw will be at 9am – fish 10 til 3pm – £10 all in (£5 to restocking fund £5 to prizes)

Irwell Water Quality

In addition to providing free angling on local venues, our society is committed to working together with the EA and United Utilities to ensure that water quality on the River Irwell continues to improve.

Over the wet winter months, the lack of capacity within the sewage systems of North Manchester has been highlighted by the large amount of sewage litter washing up on the river banks, discharged by over flowing sewage pipes.

We have made numerous reports to the environment agency, and to United Utilities about this issue, and UU have conducted “clean ups” along the worst affected stretches of river.

We continue to press for improvements to stop these events from happening in the first place – but at least the clean ups by UU show that they are now beginning to take these events seriously and that the public expect better.

UU spent £14m on sewage upgrades in our region since 2010, we expect this level of spending to continue in the future.

Thanks for reading.

Please come along to our next club meeting on the 25th Feb at the Kings Arms – water quality will be high up on the agenda.


Mike Duddy



Our Fight Against Fly Tipping

When you have a river which has been used as an open sewer and conduit of waste for over 200 years – its hard to change peoples perceptions and attitudes.

Even though the Irwell has been transformed over the last 25 years – ingrained perceptions of the “dirty Irwell” still linger.


Our local councils and riverside business owners are amongst the slowest to recognise the changes that are taking place in the river which runs through their areas of control, and business owners still see the river as a cheap and convenient way of getting rid of industrial waste. We think we’re on the brink of something special – these guys are doing their best to drag things back into the dark ages.

Bolton Council issued over a thousand spot fines to people in 2013 for littering in the town centre. Anything from throwing a fag end on the street, to an 83 year old lady feeding bird seed to the pigeons was enough to attract the attention of the councils enforcement (revenue collecting) officers.

Its a pity that our local councils haven’t got their own house in order first before rinsing the general public of cash. They should be paying more attention to their responsibilities as riparian owners, the river banks in some areas are a disgrace and a naming and shaming is soon to occur.

During the winter months 2013/14 while the vegetation has died back, we have had members out on the river bank, surveying the fly tipping hotpspots in Bury and Salford.


Numerous reports have been made to both the EA and our local councils.

The response has been fantastic from Salford Council, average from the EA and pathetic from Bury (who do nothing but throw their hands up in the air and blame “the cuts”……….)

If you would like to get involved in the our fly tipping campaign, please contact us via our contact page. We are very keen to have people send us reports and locations of fly tipping taking place in the Rochdale, Heywood and Bolton areas.

Salford, Radcliffe and Bury already have members reporting on them.

We now have a list of 13 fly tipping hot spots – and are determined to get them cleaned up. I’m sure there are many more, please keep the reports coming in.


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.