Old River Fishing Well !

I’ve been getting lots of reports from anglers recently telling me that the Old River in Irlam has been fishing well.
Heres one the the latest messages I’ve had from Jack – one of the venues regulars
Fishing the Old River regularly.Catching plenty of Roach and Perch,mostly small stuff although the Roach run to about 14oz.Pike are a nuisance!
taking fish off the hook.I’ve had two big ones on,didn’t manage to land them.Caught two nice Eels and also a couple of nice Skimmers although they don’t seem to show up very often.Saw three Kingfishers on one occasion made my day.Cheers Jack.”

If you go down to the Old River, please make sure that you leave your peg clean and tidy.

We will be holding a work party on the Old River sometime during the Xmas break – a few of the pegs need re-boarding and have become a little over grown.
There are plans for another Pike match – details to come soon

The Old River has been fishing really well for Silvers and Pike recently

Here is a picture of Michael Morton Snr with a beautifully coloured jackie


Michael Morton Snr with a nice Old River jack

Places for Coarse Fishing the River Irwell at Little Lever, Radcliffe and Whitefield.

At Salford Friendly Anglers Meeting on 20 November I was asked about places to fish up towards Bury.

I am not saying these are the only places, just the places I know where you can get at the river without to much trouble and it looks like there would be course fish to be caught.

The first one does involve a bit of a walk, all up hill coming back. Google ‘Mytham Road Little Lever’ although it looks like there is a factory by the river, its been knock down..

Drive to the end of the road, there is usually room to park a couple of cars where the road is blocked off..

Walk down the hill passed the filled in canal until you get to the river, doesn’t look much at first.

You have two choices go down river to the tree line, bit of a flow but quite deep. In the summer there is lots of Hog Weed but its ok. now and in the spring

You can get a seat in with care.


To go up river to the weir take the rough path over the rubble.


Then the path by the building and walk up the feeder. when you get to the end you can either go down to the bottom of the weir.

Or cross the feeder to get to the weir pool.

 The pool above the weir is large and goes up to Ladyshore which also looks pretty good. There is room for three or four pegs even in summer, you just have to chop back some of the bracken. Farther up balsam, knot weed and hog weed are a problem in the summer.

You can walk up to Ladyshore from here but the path is not too good, easier to walk up the canal or drive there, instruction below.




For Ladyshore Google ‘Ladyshore Road Liitle Lever’.

At the end of Hayward Avenue drive down the cobble road passed the stables to the car park just short of the canal. Walk down the cobbled road over the canal and through the gate. About sixty/seventy yards down there is a path on the left that takes you down to the broken weir.


This is above the weir, not very deep.

This is below, better.


If you had carried on down the cobbled road to the end then gone right you come out here.

If you go up a bit there is lots of knot weed but here is pretty clear even in the summer. Though there is hog weed behind you.







A bit further up river is another weir just off  ‘Sion Street Radcliffe’ which becomes Sion Road.  Although its only a few hundred yards from Ladyshore, you need to go to Radcliffe by ASDA to get there. Where the road narrows to single lane I park on the muddy lay-by and cross the river on the footbridge, then scramble down the steep bank to the river.

The footbridge is closed at the moment something to do with electric cables. In season I catch some good trout down there. Hog weed not a problem until the summer when it closes most of the bank.

Down from the footbridge, to take this picture I had to wade across the river, in the summer, not recommended now.


I have never fished above the weir, so I went for a look. Not promising at all.




This was the only place that I cold get close to the weir pool, without risking life and limb, must be even harder in the summer. Give it a miss, unless you want to fish on the corner above.

To get here park by the second gate just before the road narrows and walk through the woods, easy walking.



Next is ‘Springwater Park Whitefield’. There is parking down by the river

Springwater is where the Irwell and the Roch come together. The Radcliffe end has good access to the river.

Gets deeper as you walk down river.

 This is looking up river from where I took the last photo.


All photos of the bottom end, got to be fish here.

This is further up, quite deep up the right of the Island, but not easy to get down by the water.

 This is just above the island plenty water , but again difficult to get down the bank.  The far bank all the way down is just Giant Hog weed in the summer.

 Irwell on the left, Roch on the right, Close Park is up river on the left of the Irwell.



That’s it for now will try to do Warth and Bury over the weekend.



EA Rivers Consultation


There is an Environment Agency Rivers Consultation taking place – which they are not publicising very well.

SFAS wonder if they don’t really want to hear, or if the’re not interested in our views?

They have issued a paper called North West Basin – Challenges And Choices

Please have a read of this document – North West River Basin District Challenges and choices

Then complete their questionairre here –  https://consult.environment-agency.gov.uk/portal/ho/wfd/water/choices

The EA seem to think that the major issues in our area our pollution, river connectivity, physical modification, abstraction etc – which to be honest is a load of guff.

Despite spending a small fortune on so called “improvements” on the Irwell – the fishing is far worse now that it was 10 years ago.

The EA consultation seems to ignore the issues we have with accessing the river. The banks of the Irwell are now virtually inaccessible for many months of the year due to the huge amount of dangerous Giant Hogweed which is now growing every year. Hogweed is a serious public health danger, but no one is doing anything about it. Lots of meetings, lots of talk but no action.

What about the flocks of cormorants devastating our fisheries each winter – what are the EA doing about it ? Nothing!

The EA employ large numbers of people in their offices in the NorthWest – but there are very few people on the ground working to improve our rivers. Why ? Surely a couple less office dwellers and more rivers officers doing work on the ground is a better use of rod licence resources.

Anglers pay £20m+ a year into EA coffers through our rod licences – surely our sport should be improving not getting worse!

Please bare these issues in mind when you are completing their questionnaire. If enough people start highlighting the REAL issues that we face as anglers – then maybe the EA might have to have a re-think of their agenda.



The Rivers Return


Back in winter 2011 members of the SFAS took part in a letter writing campaign to the minister in charge of DEFRA complaining about water quality in the Irwell, and at the same time telling them how much the clean up of the river meant to them.

It was good timing, because  The Angling Trust were at the same time taking DEFRA to court over their failure to adhere to the European Water Framework Directive.

Salford Friendly were delighted when it was announced that the River Irwell was one of only 10 UK rivers to become “Pilot Projects” for the implementation of these new environmental standards.

The EA had their hand forced and were required by central government to set up an Irwell working group to come up with a strategy to improve the Irwell.

We have, as a society attended these monthly meetings, and have made a big contribution towards its findings and policies. The group was originally called “The Irwell Pilot” but has now been renamed “The Rivers Return”.

Its members include United Utilities, The Highways Agency, Association Of Greater Manchester Authorities (AGMA), Lancashire Wildlife Trust, The Red Rose Forest, Groundwork Trust, The Environment Agency, Forestry Commission,

If you would like to take a look at what the EA have come with have a read of this document.

The Irwell Catchment Pilot Final

Interesting reading.

We will update you as to whats going on in the rivers return group on a regular basis  via this website.

Next summer SFAS members will be asked to take part in a “Greening The River” work party – where we plant new stands of ranunculus in the Irwell – which will provide better spawning habitat for coarse fish, better fry refuge and generally improve the ecology of the river as a whole. We hope you put your name down for this project when we announce full details next spring.



Here is the “official” blurb


The Rivers Return is an exciting and innovative project that aims to regenerate the water environment in the Irwell river catchment with the integrated benefit of supporting economic growth and social enterprise. The Government has asked organisations to work in partnership to identify local actions to improve water quality within their Catchments and initiated a Catchment Approach Pilot in 2011.

Ten Pilots were initially established with a further 15 in January 2012. The 25 pilot groups were asked to report back to Defra with their findings and progress in December 2012.

The Rivers Return Project (Irwell Catchment Pilot) is one of ten pilots hosted by the Environment Agency. The catchment incorporates the Rivers Irwell, Croal, Roch, Medlock and Irk which drain the western Pennines and flow through the Pennine Fringe and Greater Manchester conurbation before joining the Manchester Ship Canal at Salford Quays. Evidence suggests that diffuse urban pollution (e.g. dirty water coming from roads, badly connected sewers and old landfills) and physical modifications to rivers (e.g. weirs, culverts and artificial river banks) may be key reasons for many of the rivers and lakes in the Irwell Catchment not achieving legally required standards of water quality.

The Irwell Catchment Pilot is steered by a multi-sector group representing community groups, non-governmental organisations (NGOs), local authorities, the Environment Agency (a non-departmental public body), business, and academia

The primary aim of the Rivers Return is to protect and improve water environments which it proposes to achieve by testing new approaches to stakeholder engagement; information sharing; co-ordination of action at a Catchment and local level; and stimulating engagement from across society and business.

This summary report presents the key objectives of the Rivers Return Catchment Plan.

Restocking Winter 2013

Yesterday morning say the introduction of 200 8 inch mirror carp to one of our waters. These fish have been purchased using the money generated from our fishing matches and a size-able donation a very generous member who has been unable to attend our matches. We will publicise where these fish have been stocked in the new year, once they have had time to acclimatise.

mushrooms 005

The new fish have come from Hampton Springs Fishery in Shropshire, and are expected to grow to 2lb by the end of summer 2014 and 5lb by the end of summer 2015.
mushrooms 010

We also have a large order of Rudd to be delivered at the end of March 2014 for the Old River Irwell in Irlam to boost numbers of silver fish (and to make fishing easier for junior anglers)

Hopefully, we will be able to bring you pictures of another 10,000 roach, chub and dace being stocked into the River Irwell between now and Christmas as the EA fish farm releases another quota of fish for the Irwell system.

Since the inception of the Salford Friendly Restocking Fund in January 2010, we have now stocked
10,000+ roach into Drinkwater Park
2,000 Crucian Carp into Drinkwater Park
3,500 Bream into the Old River Irwell in Irlam
500 tench into the Old River Irwell in Irlam
And played a role in the restocking of
500 Barbel into the River Irwell
20,000 roach, chub and dace into the River Irwell

Many thanks to all our members who have supported our restocking fund.

Old Blog Closed Down

As part of our website upgrade – we will no longer be contributing to the old blogsite www.salfordfriendlyanglers.blogspot.com 

All future news, notifications, pictures and fun stuff will now appear on this new site.



Our work parties can be good fun. We look forwards to seeing you this winter on the bank somewhere



▶ Restoration Revolution – The River Irwell – YouTube

▶ Restoration Revolution – The River Irwell – YouTube.




Hope you enjoy this video made by the EA.

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