Saturday, 15 December 2012

Drinkies Clean Up

Many thanks to Barry, Duncan, Karl, Ian, Paul, and Nick who turned out this morning to lend a hand on our Drinkies litter pick.

Judging from the fact that we found an old Corona bottle amongst the rubbish we found  we reckon that this was the first time anyone has done a thorough clean up since the late 1970s

Many hands make light work, and in less than an hour we had accumulated over 20 bin bags of litter.
The areas behind the pegs now look respectable - and hopefully we wont get the blame for what was obviously litter left by the general public rather than specifically by anglers.

If we can keep the place clean and tidy - we can keep it free.

Sunday, 9 December 2012

Old River Work Party

Last weekend saw the first of three work parties we have planned on the Old River during winter 2012/13
A freezing start had us worried that not many would show up - and we were only expecting half a dozen or so victims/volunteers to turn out - so we were very pleased to see 16 members show up - all keen to help us bring some old fishing pegs back into play.

A VERY big thank you to all those who gave a bit of their time on a very cold and frosty morning.

Our immediate objective was to cut back the overgrowth around 5 pegs where access and fishing have become impossible.
The old phrase many hands make light work - didn't really hold true as some of the pegs were so overgrown it was very physically demanding to cut back the overgrowth.

Yet again, John P donned his waders, and cleared out the rubbish blocking the exit stream through the swamp - resulting in a 3 inch drop in water levels over 3 hours. I think that keeping this channel clear is going to be a key feature in the management of this water - as it prevents the water from the moss backing up into the Old River, helping us maintain steady water levels, and maintain dissolved oxygen levels within the water.

Our next club work party will be Saturday morning 9am the15th Dec at Drinkwater Park. There's alot of litter in the bushes behind some of the pegs so we will be undertaking a thorough litter pick - please bring a pair of gardening gloves.

Our next Old River work party will be Sunday the 27th Jan 2014 where we hope to re-board the freshly uncovered pegs.

By lunchtime it was mission accomplished on the work party and the Pike lads were patiently sitting behind their rods. El Blanko (Ian Goodwin) finally caught a pike after hours and hours of trying.  Only a tiddler - but as you can see from the smile on Blankos face - they all count.

Those of us with more sense had a pint in the pub! Especially after getting to grips with this stuff.

 Thanks again to everyone who turned out.

Tuesday, 4 December 2012

Restocking Drinkwater Park & River Irwell

Using the money our members raised during the course of this years restocking fund matches, and a very generous grant from the East Salford Community Committee - we have been able to purchase 2000 Crucian Carp to restock into Drinkwater Park Lake.
We bought 1500 4-6" fish and 500 6-8" fish which were all stocked last Thursday afternoon.
Over the last 18 months - Salford Friendly with the help of the EA and the Forestry Commision have managed to stock 10,000 roach and rudd into Drinkies.
We've managed to repair the dam wall at the far end of the lake, to enable the lake to revert back to its normal depth (we reckon that its about 6 inches deeper) which on a lake with an average depth of about 3feet makes a huge difference in the fishes ability to over winter.
We have also added aprrox 40 hessian sacks filled with well rotted horse manure to give the fish fry something to eat- our efforts were richly rewarded by the sight of huge shoals of fish fry in the margins this summer.
And now the final piece in the jigsaw - the return of Crucian Carp to what was once the areas best Crucian Carp waters.
Many many thanks to all involved, Especially - Paul Carr, Ian Hayes, Phil Lee and East Salford Community Committee.

Over the previous 4 or 5 years - there has been hardly anyone fishing Drinkies - but this summer local anglers (and quite a few not so local) have been returning - some great carp, bream and tench have been coming out, together with some great silvers sport for those using wag and mag tactics. Most encouraging of all, is the numbers of local juniors who are now getting the same chance to learn how to fish on a local lake offering good fishing - the same chances we had when we were kids.
In 2013 - we will be looking to start a Monday evening Junior anglers coaching event - we're looking to improve fish handlng and fishing technique and set our youngster off on the right path. If you have any youngsters who want to start fishing - we'll be announcing full details in April.

 Restocking The Irwell

In winter 2011, the EA stocked 500 small barbel into the Irwell in Salford - telling us that this was the start of a long term project to improve fish stocks in our river. In truth 500 fish - a drop in the ocean? a token gesture? however they assured us that this was just the start of a long term project
So imagine our delight this winter 2012 as various last minute phonecalls have seen us being invited to attend different episodes of this years re-stocking programme.
In the last couple of weeks, we have witnessed nearly 10,000 roach, dace and chub being stocking in the Irwell in and around Salford. Again only small fish 1+year age bracket - but its a tremendous boost to angling and the river in general.

Ian Hayes of the EA has promised more fish restockings in the winters of 2013,14 and 15 with similar large numbers of 1year+ age bracket fish.
When you combine this with the proposed construction of fishing pegs in the lower river as part of the forthcoming flood defence upgrades its all looking good for the future of angling in Salford.
The best news always comes last - one of the main deterrents to angling on the Irwell is the off putting effect of the large amounts of sewage debris which still washes down our river following heavy rainfall. Riverbanks are often still coated in disgusting amounts of sewage litter such as nappies, tampons and wetwipes and this still gives the impression that the River is still heavily polluted - even though its not.
So imagine our delight to be contacted by United Utilites asking us how WE think that they can improve the river, and where we think the worst areas of sewage contamination are found.
We're highlighting the 3 sewage outfalls at Ramsbottom, Bury and Bolton waste water treatment works, and also a couple of CSOs (Combined Sewage Overflows) and have site meetings arranged on the 17th Dec with the people most able to make change.
United Utilities have a 5 year rolling capital plan - where they spend money from our water rates on environmental improvements - lets see if we can get them to spend a good proportion of it on the Irwell.
The simple screening of these overflows to allow liquid but not solids into our river isn't an expensive process and will make an immediate difference to the aesthetics of our river.

Tuesday, 27 November 2012

EA Restocking The Old River

The EA have come up trumps for us yet again.
In recent times, they have provided us with invaluable fisheries management information, a netting, a fish transfer of 10,000 roach from Kingfisher to Drinkwater Park, restocking of barbel, chub, roach and dace into the Irwell, a couple of weeks ago they restocked 1000 skimmers from a fish rescue operation into the Old River, and today they came good with their promise of yet more fish to help us restore the Old River to its former glory.

Many thanks to Andy, Paul and Ian (patron Saint of fishermen in Salford).

1000 skimmers and 1000 tench - restocked this lunchtime - hopefully will grow on, thrive and reproduce.

Not only did the EA bring fish for Salford - they had another trailer full to help restock Bury Lido - a real commitment to angling in Greater Manchester and a visual return on our Licence Fee.

Sunday, 25 November 2012

Old River Knock Up

A last minute decision to hold a match on the Old River turned out to be a good one !

12 Anglers turned up to fish in near horizontal rain and a howling gail - talk about dedicated (or daft).
We nearly had to call the match off as so many of the fishing platforms were underwater - but we managed to get everyone a peg - even though we had one angler on the opposite bank.

To kick things off, someone had a 4lb pike (which dont count in our matches), and most anglers found that they were immediately into a good number of bites despite the dreadfull weather and heavy chop.

The recently stocked skimmers didnt make an appearance - but Paul Smith had two lovely perch of a pound and a half each.
All catches were dominated by large numbers of small roach, mostly coming to bread punch or pinkie tactics. Some of the braver anglers who tried caster found a larger stamp of fish, but a much lower volume.

Congratulations to Paul Smith

1st. P Smith      5lb 5oz
2nd Conrad       4lb 10oz
3rd Pete Hartford 4lb 1oz
4th Gary O       2lb 12oz
5th Geoff         2lb 4oz
6th Karl Tucker 1lb 15oz
7th Phil Clayton 1lb
8th Josh L        1lb
Others ...... less then 1lb
Only 1 dry net!

A very enjoyable day - especially once the weather picked up around lunchtime.
We will be having another match on Sunday 16th Dec
Draw 9am
£5 all in.

Your welcome to join us.

Sunday, 4 November 2012

Restocking Of The Old River

 At long last its started.
The Old River suffered a terrible series of pollution incidents during the summer of 2008 wiping out 10,000s of fish - and for a long time everyone thought that the place had suffered a complete wipe out.
At the back end of 2010 we were approached by a few members of the Old Boathouse Angling Club who used to control the fishing rights - to see if we were interested in taking over the fishing rights on what was once a superb tench and bream fishery.
Were we interested ? too right we were.
A couple of knock up fishing matches were organised to see what if any thing was left in there - and we were very happy to discover that a number of roach, perch and pike had survived the pollution and were breeding. Our match catches were dominated by large numbers of  2 season roach with the odd perch thrown in. Last winter we held a very successful Pike match - when over a dozen fish to 16lb were landed. Not bad for a lake with supposedly no fish in it.
A match last summer showed us that the roach were packing on weight with the fish we were once catching half an ounce each now doubling and more in size - and the masses of fry in the margins were a very encouraging sight.

After lengthy negotiations with Salford Council we were finally granted the lease this spring - and the lads (and lasses) from Salford Friendly have held a series of matches over the summer of 2012 to raise funds for restocking.
We managed to raise just over £1,000 which was a fantastic effort - compromised of £5 match peg fees and some very generous donations from members who were unable to attend but wished to contribute to the cause.
Sadly £1000 doesnt buy you very much from a fish farm these days - but it demonstrated to the council that we had members who were committed to a community cause who were able to contribute both time and cash improving a neglected lake in a public park. We completed a grant application for community funding from Salford Council - and amazingly in these financially troubled times were were awarded nearly 50% of the money which we asked for. What a great result!
So at our last club meeting we decided to spend the £3500 we have available for the restocking of the Old River on skimmer bream - to complement the existing roach and perch population and to try and create a decent "silvers" fishery. These fish are now on order to be delivered in December.
The EA also have been very hands on in helping us in our attempts to return this fishery to its former glories - and they gave already given us enough timber to restore most of the pegs - and the local area officer Andy Eaves has promised us 4,500 fish from the EAs hatchery at Calverton - which we hope will arrive over winter 2012/13.
So when i received a phone call from Andy at 9am this Sunday morning telling me that the EA had some fish for us I was naturally delighted - expecting them to be the first consignment of the Calverton fish. It turned out they werent, but were fish rescued from a lake suffering from  a blue green algae induced oxygen crash somewhere in Cheshire - in other words - extra fish on top of the 7,500 we were anticipating this winter.
So after a quick post on our facebook page this morning we met an EA netting team at 11am this morning - and just over a thousand skimmers to 3/4 lb were released into the Old River.
This was the first restocking since the pollution incident in 2008, and the start of what we hope will be a series of restockings this coming winter. Great news.
We had a great work party a couple of months ago, where we cut back vegetation from some of the more overgrown pegs and rebuilt some of the pegs with rotten timbers. Were holding another work party on the 2nd Dec - 9am start - followed by a pike fish in. I cant see there being more than an hour or twos work for anyone who turns up - then the rest of the day to fish from your newly restored peg.

Heres some photos of todays restocking.

Just the start of whats to come - see you on the 2nd Dec at 9am

Thursday, 25 October 2012

Mersey Sea Trout

A Sea Trout from the River Mersey - if you catch anything that you might think is a Sea Trout or Salmon on the River Irwell - please please please take a scale sample and contact us at so that we can arrange to collect it.
The EA will not accept photos as evidence that migratory fish are returning to the Irwell system - scale samples or dead fish are the only acceptable proof. (please dont kill them!!!)
Heres another slimmer Mersey Sea Trout

Saturday, 20 October 2012

Great News - Irwell Chub Restocking

Great news - last week the EA stocked 3,000 little chub into the Irwell in Salford and Bury. I went down to the river with Albert Morris (of Northern Anglers and Salford Inter Clubs) to help Ian Hayes of the EA continue his ambitious long term re-stocking programme.

Last November 500 barbel were restocked, this year we can look forwards to a total of over 10,000 roach, chub and dace - with further restocking of the river planned in 2013,14 and 15.

Here's a couple of photos of some chub being introduced to their new home.
The Irwell - a river which was neglected for so long is now firmly in the sights of the government (via DEFRA), the EA and United Utilities and we can look forwards to many more improvements and restockings in the coming years.

Since anglers took the government to a judicial review - via the and the Irwell featuring heavily in the Our Rivers Campaign there is now a group called the Irwell Pilot which meets on a monthly basis with the sole remit of improving the River Irwell Catchment. There are some big hitters sitting round this table with the ability and budgets to get things done. Improvements to sewage infrastructure have already been seen (see previous post), and the group now has its sights firmly set on a reduction in the number of invasive river bank species, improving accessibility as well as other water quality improvements. The EA have already embarked on a project of weir removal to improve connectivity within the river, this will have the benefit of allowing fish to migrate to the most suitable spawning habitiats. Flood defence upgrades will be taking place in Salford over the next two years, once these have finished we will be looking at a programme of rannunculus planting in the river, as this water plant holds so much invertebrate life and provides much better habitat for fish than the ribbon weed we have at the moment. Lots and lots of small improvements - together make for big changes. In 2012 I've had reports of double figure barbel, 10lb brownies, 6lb+ chub, 9lb bream, tench and carp near Bury so lets see what 2013 brings.

Were going to hold an Irwell Festival in September 2013 - fly fishing on a Friday evening, a coarse match on Saturday followed by an evening in the pub for prize giving, tale telling. Hope to see you get involved.

I'm off to Hampton Springs Fish Farm near Chester this week to put in an order for the restocking of the Old River in Irlam and for Crucian Carp for Drinkwater Park lake. It wouldnt have been possible to get the money together for the purchase of these fish without our members and supporters turning out for our restocking fund matches - many many thanks for your support.
It looks like fishing is on the up in North Manchester

Monday, 15 October 2012

Irwell clean-up in the pipeline for Radcliffe

A £7.5 million scheme to improve the River Irwell has started in Radcliffe.

United Utilities is upgrading sewers in the town to help prevent pollution overflowing into the river following heavy rainfall.

Work began in April and engineers are currently constructing a new underground sewer overflow chamber at Harper Fold Road in land next to Cams Lane Primary School.
A second new overflow chamber is being constructed underground in Stand Lane Car Park and a new sewer pipe will be laid into the River Irwell.
This is the first stage of a four year programme of sewer improvements around the town. United Utilities are spending £3.6bn between 2010 and 2015 in their capital phase called AMP5.

Salford Friendly Anglers have been asked by United Utilities to compile a list of  any pipes/overflows etc which we consider to have a negative effect on the river so that they can be taken into consideration for the AMP6 period 2016 - 2020. Please contact us at give us the location of your least favourite Irwell grot spot.

Friday, 12 October 2012

Our next meeting is this coming Wednesday the 17th Oct, 7.30pm at the Kings Arms, Bloom St, Salford, M3 6AN
Good fishing chat, good company and decent real ales.
If you have caught a decent fish from the Irwell recently please send in a photo for our fish of the month competition
If you know of a really bad grot spot on the Irwell for fly tipping, sewage waste on the bank, or a where a particularly nasty sewage overflow enters the river, please bring information to the meeting, as United Utilities are looking for our input to help with the development of their next phase of capital expenditure. If you cant make it to the meeting please email the information to us here at

Mtg Agenda
* Finance Report
* Irwell Pollution / United Utilities AMP 6 Request
* Re-stocking Fund
* Old River Work Parties
* Salford Quays - do we want the lease????
* Junior Coaching
* Fish Of The Month

Hope to see you on Wednesday evening

Saturday, 25 August 2012

Old River Irwell Irlam Restoration Plan

Back in November 2011 we embarked on our first major restoration project - Drinkwater Park Lake near Agecroft. We set out our objectives and the seven steps we would undertake to achieve them. I'm glad to say that our hard work has made a huge difference, and I will write a full update when the full year is up in November 2012.

12 months after making our first enquiries, we were finally granted the angling rights on the Old River Irwell in Irlam in May 2012. Now we have the task of restoring a water which lost most of its fish to a dreadful pollution incident in 2008 and has struggled to recover. Many of the pegs have fallen into a terrible state of disrepair, and the bankside willow has overgrown to such an extent that many of the pegs are inaccessible.
The stream which runs drains out of the Old River has been allowed to clog up with woody debris resulting a slowly rising water level in the Old River which has started to drown out many of the pegs.

Fish stocks are low, as previously good stocks of carp, tench and bream were wiped out back in 2008 when the over the course of a few months large amounts of sewage entered into the Old River from misconnected sewers, and a large proportion of the fish died. A few roach pike and perch seem to have survived the pollution (which is strange seeing as though perch are normally the first species to belly up when water quality deteriorates) but the fishing is currently very poor.

However - its not all doom and gloom, the water quality in the lake seems to have recovered. The EA tell us that they have sorted out 16 of the 17 sewage misconnections they have found in the local area. There are large amounts of fry in the lake. Its possible to see Kingfishers feeding on the fry every day, so they must be nesting in the area, and I found this lovely little newt in the bankside undergrowth yesterday.

We've also have offers of support, time, materials and fish stocks from the EA and the Salford Council in order to get the place back to some sort of semblance of a fishery again.

You cant tackle a project like this without a starting plan - so here is ours for the Old River

1. Sort out fluctuating water levels.
The existing fishing pegs are regularly being swamped by the fluctuating water levels on the Old River. These fluctuating water levels are being caused by the exit stream being blocked by large and small woody debris, so when it rains, water is being held back in the Old River rather than flowing away down hill via the exit stream. It should be possible to maintain a reasonably constant water level by clearing the first 100yards of the exit stream from blockages. However we have to be carefull as the exit stream runs through an SSI so anywork we do will have to be minimum impact on the surrounding woodland.

The benefit cleaning out the run off stream will also have the effect of preventing the filth from a combined sewage overflow backing up into the main water body - one of the main causes of the 2008 pollution incident.

2.Repair fishing pegs.
The constant wetting/drying of the fishing platforms has caused many of them to rot beyond repair - there are 36 pegs on the Old River, and the majority of them are in a dangerous state of repair. The EA have generously offered us treated timber to repair the fishing stages.

3. Cut back Willows and bankside vegetation.
The bankside vegetation is seriously overgrown - more than 50% of the pegs are inaccessible - and need a good chainsaw attack to get to them.

4. Restock with fish.
We have held a few matches on the Old River, and held a few pleasure sessions to see whats left after the pollution. Roach seem to be making a comeback with lots of very small fish, perch and pike seem to be thriving - however the once prolific tench and bream seem to have been completely wiped out in 2008.
Salford Friendly Anglers have so far raised over £1000 through our restocking fund matches, a couple of VERY generous donations, and from our collecting tins which are located in various local fishing tackle shops and pubs. We also have the promise of fish 5000 from the EA. We have also put in an application to Salford Council for a grant from the Salford Communities Fund to help with restocking.

Our overall intention is to restore the fishery to being a venue where a family can come for an afternoons fishing and have the reasonable expectation to catch a fish or two of different species. Not stocked to the levels of a commercial fishery - but a venue where an expert can have a good days fishing - and a novice can catch a few.
At present - even the so called experts are struggling to catch anything other than a couple of tiddlers.

It isnt an impossible task to return the Old River to its former glories - however as with most things in life it cant be achieved without a little time and effort.......................

So on Saturday the 18th we started off with a little bit of our time and effort ----- well actually alot of time and effort.
On the hottest day of the year, a few of us gave up a day to make a start - a proper 9 to 6 day of hard graft.

The EA delivered timber to the Boathouse pub last week, so theres no time like the present to make a start.
And our first task was to drag out woody debris from the exit stream, to release water being held back in the lake.

The amount of junk blocking the stream was incredible - but half an hours work with nothing but a garden rake taking out 3 blocked pinch points has resulted in the water level now being 6 inches below, rather than level with the top of the wooden pegs.

Our volunteers strimmed back the nettles from the footpaths, and the ten pegs we decided to tackle. Once the vegetation had been cleared back the poor state of repair of most of the pegs became apparent - however, 9 inch tannalised boards supplied by the EA, and lots of 6 inch nails soon made them safe.
Sounds easy when your writing it on a blog - but was real hard graft on the hottest day of the year so far.

We raked out many of the snags/ironmongery/rubbish from these first ten pegs - and had to launch our club boat twice to retrieve the rake from immovable objects. Henley on Irwell - with a plank for an oar.



 Plenty more work to do over the winter clearing out and repairing the old pegs.

6pm soon came round, and a welcome pint in the pub before we went home...... I cant thank the members who helped out on the day enough - for a real hard days effort.
Bob Morris, Barry Carney, John Polding, Emma Pickergill - thank you, thank you, thank you.

The EA in addition to donating timber towards the reconstruction of the fishing pegs have promised to kick start the restocking of the Old River in October 2012 - with an initial restocking of
500 tench
500 crucian carp
1000 skimmers
followed by a further restocking in Feb/March 2013 of
1000 tench
1000 crucian carp
1000 skimmers
These fish will be little hand size fish. Salford Friendly intend to restock with larger fish in order to create different year classes, however this will be dependant on the success of our bid for grant funding from Salford Council.

If we can have a good turnout for a winter workparty - we should be able to complete most of the work in a day.
I will email all members when we've set the date.