Update 2014

derek chub

A nice chub from the Irwell in Bury. Derek had 13 chub in a short two hour session !!


Hi everyone – here is our annual update for 2014 – covering some of the major events of our year


The year started off with high flows on the river, which sadly resulted in a fresh coating of sewage related debris on the river banks. We kicked up “ a bit of a fuss” in the press and asked for a meeting with the regional managers of United Utilities, so that we could ask them in person why so much sewage litter was being deposited on our river banks each winter. Sewage overflow pipes in the Bury area received particular criticism – As a result of this meeting, plus follow up conversations UU have promised to monitor them more effectively, installing flow monitoring equipment to develop a better idea how when these pipes discharge into the river. In addition, UU have employed clean up teams to remediate the worst affected sections of river bank in Bury, and at Littleton Road in Salford. Sewage overflows in Bury, Bolton and Salford were discussed, and it appears as though UU understand our concerns as they are incorporating improvements in these areas in their new program of capital/infrastructure improvements. We would like to thank members Arthur Hamer and Eric Owen for their great efforts in photographing and monitoring these overflows and Paul Gaskell from the Wild Trout Trust for his technical help. We will be monitoring these pipes again this coming winter – to see if any changes have been made.
Our summer series of fishing matches was a bit stop start – due to Mike & Phil suffering Bronchitis – once matches underway – poor attendance compared to previous years (understandable given poor organisation of matches and low weights). Many thanks to Mike Clare and Brian Donahy for their unwavering support.
During the summer of 2013 we had a particularly bad problem with blanket weed/algae on Drinkwater Park Lake. To remedy this problem we put Barley Straw into Drinkwater Park in April 2014– a limited success – blanket weed much reduced from previous summer. Maybe it needs doing twice a year ? Will be repeated in 2015. We will arrange a work party at the beginning of April, to conduct a litter pick, replace the old straw with new.
United Utilites have been surveying the sewage network in the Drinkwater Park area. And are proposing to carry out network upgrades in the area in the near future. Maybe the sudden appearance of blanket weed is a consequence of highly sewage enriched water leaching into the lake? Who knows, lets hope that one way or another we get things back to normal soon.
We conducted two Litter Pick on Drinkwater Park – two major clean ups. The first in Jan 2014 – when all bankside vegetation had died back. 25 sacks of rubbish removed – this wasn’t recent rubbish – but the accumulation from many years – we even found some old Corona pop bottles! Another clean up in mid- summer resulted in us removing half a dozen Tesco bags full of beer cans etc. Many thanks to the members who do regular litter picks after they have been fishing
Weed raking on Waterdale – we try to leave the lake as natural as possible – which rewards patient anglers – but raked out 5 swims to make fishing easier for others – we have plans to stock more small carp this coming winter
Prestwich Clough Day – we didn’t hold our usual Tombola stall this year as so many of our regular volunteers were on holiday – we plan to hold a fund raising stall in 2015 so please be generous with your gifts of booze.

In August 2014 our fishing society won a prize – and not just any old prize – we won the Fred J Taylor award for exceptional environmental stewardship – awarded by the Angling Trust. A very big feather in our cap, and a national recognition of the work we have done on the Irwell over the past few years. The £1000 prize has been a welcome addition towards our re-stocking fund (more news on restocking later)
A couple of big pollution incidents earlier in the year (Tesco petrol spill in Haslingden and the River Irk turning white in Middleton) focussed our attention on the amazingly low (zero) numbers of prosecutions that the Environment Agency achieve in our local rivers. The list of pollution incidents that we know about is long, the list that we don’t know about is probably longer – but there is no list of prosecutions. We asked for a meeting with the EA to discuss various issues relating to fisheries on the Irwell (fish surveys, water quality, restocking policy, pollution control, invasive species etc) however the meeting never really got past pollution enforcement issues.
We had a list of past pollution incidents and we wanted to know what enforcement action had been taken against the known perpetrators
1. Tea Bag Factory near Cheeseden Brook – I was privately informed by an EA employee that a fish kill had taken place after a discharge from this factory – the EA deny this pollution incident ever took place.
2. Singing Clough Brook (Ringley) – Long running pollution from UU sewage pumping station – EA refused to comment – an ongoing criminal investigation is taking place
3. Fuel oil spill into River Roch at Heap Bridge – EA refused to comment – an ongoing criminal investigation
4. June 2013 – high pressure sewage main split underneath River Irwell at Ringley – no comment – ongoing criminal investigaton
5. Dec 2013 Pollution Of Bradshaw Brook at Jumbles – EA refused to comment – an ongoing criminal investigation is taking place
6. Winter 2013 – River Irk in Middleton turns milky white. Salford Friendly members traced the spill back to an Industrial Unit. EA didn’t turn up for over 24hours, and then couldn’t find the source of the pollution despite there being excellent photographic evidence by the two anglers who first discovered the incident.
7. Hinds Lane Bury – Illegal landfill site, leaching pollutants into the River Irwell – perpetrator given reduced fine in June 2005 for allowing Illegal landfill to take place next to the river. Since then no work has been undertaken to remediate the site, despite a reduced court fine to enable this to happen. Major UU sewage inspection chamber is buried under this site. Needs to be sorted to reduce sewage discharges and sewage litter in the river. No authority seems to want to take any responsibility for this issue. Especially the EA.
8. Summer 2014 -Tesco Fuel Spill – Haslingden – you guessed it – no comment – ongoing investigation by the EA
9. Dec 2014 – River Irwell turns milky white – for the umpteenth time over the last 2 years. We know who’s doing it, they’ve been warned by the EA before – but never prosecuted. Their company motto is “We Put The White In Everything” – well not in the Irwell you don’t. If the EA don’t prosecute this time its about time heads started to roll.

So………. The last known criminal prosecution of a polluter in our area was for a diesel spill on the River Spodden in Rochdale, back in 2010 !!!! This despite a steady catalogue of events taking place.
We are now cataloguing all pollution incidents which we hear about (and I’m sure that there are many many more which we don’t hear about) and will chase up the appropriate EA team for annual updates on the cases that they are unable to comment on to see what the outcome is.
In the same way we are cataloguing pollution incidents – we have also been cataloguing fly tipping incidents.
Salford Council appear to be very pro-active against fly tippers – other councils far less so. We have contacted Keep Britain Tidy twice now, over the worst areas in Radcliffe – and the silence is deafening.
The two worst areas are behind the old Radcliffe Times offices, and behind the industrial units at Outwood Rd, in Radcliffe. After badgering the council for the last 2 to 3 years – we have recently seen a shift in attitude – and council officers have been to visit the sites and done land registry searches to discover the title owners of the land in question. The Manchester Evening News are taking on the story as part of their recent campaign of naming and shaming fly tippers in our region, and we expect positive action to finally take place in early 2015. Many many thanks to Eric Owen for not giving up in his battle to get this area cleared up.
Prison Pond – to be officially named Agecroft Pond !!!
In early 2015 – work will begin on Agecroft Pond (the lake behind Forest Bank Prison – which we will no doubt always continue to call the prison pond) The forestry commission who own the lake, intend to build a new car park, and facilities for disabled anglers. The lake is going to be re-stocked with an influx of a couple of thousand small silver fish, and carp. We intend to use this lake in future as a teaching pool.
As you can see – we’ve been busy
Myself, Phil Clayton and Nick Carter are working our socks off to improve fishing in our area
We’re going to have a massive 2015 – with big news and club involvement with returning Migratory Trout, Salmon, Eels and Lampreys back to the Irwell system, big news about reducing the barriers to fish migration. Last Salmon was 1856 – could 2015 be the year they make a come back ?
But – we need help.
There is so much going on that we would like to expand the committee of our club and spread the workload (which isn’t work because its very enjoyable)
We are looking to members to step forwards to fill the following club posts
1. River Fly Monitoring – and pollution co-ordinator
2. Fisheries habitat management (looking after the habitat and fish stocks in the lakes and rivers sections we lease)
3. Match Secretary
Please contact Mike Duddy via admin@salfordfriendlyanglers.co.uk for more information if you are interested in any of these roles
Our next club meeting will be Wednesday the 21st Jan at the BOATHOUSE PUB, IRLAM. M44 6AN at 7.30pm
We have so many important projects taking place in 2015 we have now decided to hold meetings on a monthly basis.
21st Jan, 18th Feb, 18th March, 15th April, 20th May, 17th June
Thank you for all your support in 2014 – Salford Friendly Anglers Society aims to continue helping people to take up fishing and take an active interest in their local environment. We will continue to fight for a cleaner, healthier more accessible River Irwell and look forwards to your support again in 2015.