Restocking The Irwell

The EA have restocked another 12,000 roach, dace and chub into the Irwell this week.

Irwell Restocking 2013 010

The fish have gone in above and below Bury, and at Littleton Rd in Salford.

This is the third year on the trot that the EA have restocked the river – but it doesn’t seem to be making any difference to the quality of fishing.

In fact – if anything, fishing for silvers is slowly getting worse.

Why is this ?

Water quality issues, lack of habitat, periodic pollution incidents, mink, cormorants, goosanders, the fact that fish get washed downstream but cant make it back upstream over all the weirs ?

Probably a combination of all these factors.

We have pointed out to the EA that there are vast numbers of silver fish, which have been washed downstream into the lower Irwell / Manchester Ship Canal which are stuck there where we cant fish for them, because they can’t get back up over the weir at Adelphi. These fish, which are Irwell genetic stock would survive/breed much better in the Upper River than the fish from the EAs fish farm near Nottingham. Why cant they be netted or trapped and moved back upstream?

These fish the EA are stocking, have been bred and grown on in beautiful clean spring water in a Nottinghamshire fish farm  – and all of a sudden they’re released into the lovely sparking clean waters of the Irwell – no wonder they don’t seem to thrive.

So… what are the causes and solution to the disappearing Irwell roach and dace population?

Improving spawning habitat ?

Transporting fish eggs on spawning boards from the MSC / lower Irwell up to Bury?

Re-locating fish that can’t migrate upstream of their own accord ?

Everyone immediately points to cormorants as the main threat to our stocks of silver fish – but while they are undoubtedly a major factor – they aren’t the only issue. If they were the main issue, why are there so many roach in the Ship Canal where cormorants find it easier to feed, while roach are virtually non existent in the shallower streamier waters of the Irwell ?

What can we do ?

There’s something going very wrong somewhere.

Irwell Restocking 2013 001


Irwell silvers come a thousand at a time

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