Fishing the tiny River Medlock and beyond

Fishing the tiny River Medlock and beyond

Tuesday, 23 August 2011

Alive and kicking

I returned to the Medlock today after some deliberation as to where to head this morning. I felt more trepidation than anticipation after seeing the river in a terrible state last time out. Today was going to be pivotal, I hoped some fish had found safe havens as whatever flushed through the river worked its way out of the water system. As I neared the river I encountered a new obstacle, a herd of cows and bulls blocking the footpath. Brave I may be, but I hastily decided to head back to the car and head 3 miles downstream to Clayton vale rather than take on this lot.
So I arrived at Clayton to find the river low and clear, but clean. As I walked through the Vale I looked at various swims but could see little sign of life. Then I approached a long glide that I have fished a number of times earlier in the year, and as I crept up to the bank through the jungle like vegetation I spotted four big chub. They swam across the river slowly to the deeper water. My heart was racing as this was just a dream a few weeks ago. I tackled up and dropped a small bomb, so as not to spook the fish, close to an overhanging tree on the far bank.

I generally drop a feeder in but the water was really low today and I wanted to keep it light. I catapulted a dozen or so maggots in and settled in to wait for a wrap on the tip. I didn't have to wait long for a thumping bite. I struck to find the drag on my reel was set poorly. The fish was a huge trout which shook the hook as soon as it dived for cover. At least there was life in the river, I was back in business. The next cast to the same tree brought another mighty thump on the tip. This time after a brief fight a pristine Medlock chub of around 2lb was in the net.
 After losing another large fish the swim quietened for a while but after twenty minutes or so the tip pulled round with some force. This fish was bigger and stronger. It peeled off line as I tried to halt its run down stream and turn it towards the net. After a good battle the fish finally came to the net, still fighting to shake the hook. It was a big brown trout, bigger than the chub.
As ever, after a scrap like that it was time to move to another swim as these Medlock fish tend to spook easily. I landed below the weir and decided to tackle the weir pool that generally only throws up small trout. Not today though. First cast another big brownie. Luckily there were some lads passing to take a photo. They couldn't believe what they were seeing as they had not considered this river through Manchester's outskirts contained much else than shopping trolleys and tyres.

I proceeded to catch another half dozen trout of varying sizes and a small chub out of a swim that I hadn't thought contained much other than minnow and small trout. On losing my third feeder to a snag in the pool I decided to call it a day, a  happy man.
Sunday sees me tackle the Irwell again. I wandered round the lower reaches last weekend and have found a few likely looking spots to choose from. I am hoping to bag another bumper net by way of consolation for missing out on tickets for Tottenham v Man City after deciding to make the journey down south. Should have gone to the ticket office before fishing today not after, lesson learned there. Never mind, Harrogate tonight to see Harrogate Town v Droylsden. What an exciting life!


  1. nice fishin good to hear the fish are up and running again

  2. Happiness restored!


  3. Visited recently 4th sept and saw a few fish in the river at clayton vale, can't say what they were but it is nice to know the river is making a comeback. I saw them in between the 2 bridges, the one starting at the visitor centre to the next one down, more or less in the middle, I tried to see what they were but the water was a bit murky.

    Could not be sure but it looked like a dipper flying low up river, I have been told by others that kingfishers also frequent the river.

  4. Some nice fish there mate, well done. Seems like there is fish in there afterall.

  5. Bad news upstream. No sign of life above Clayton. It looks like the best swims on the river have been heavily affected.