Fishing the tiny River Medlock and beyond

Fishing the tiny River Medlock and beyond

Sunday, 5 February 2012

Winter wonderland

After making arrangements earlier in the week to spend a day on the river today with Josh, the only thing that could get in the way would be the weather. Try as it might, the weather turned on Saturday and the snow fell, all day and evening. Indeed so bad was the downfall that a ten minute journey from work to home took a good hour on Saturday evening as I got stuck in traffic, ironically by the River Medlock in Bardsley, Oldham. Several buses and vans were strewn across the road as they struggled to pull through the snow and up out of the valley. I considered cancelling our impending outing but knowing I wouldn't have another opportunity this week, and Josh hadn't texted to say he was in two minds, I decided to carry on regardless.
After a Clayton Cafe brekkie it was down to the river, and down to business. We arrived at the Bay Horse in Clayton to find the valley completely white, and absolutely quiet. Not many people out early today, understandable really.
We tried a good few swims today in search of a few winter chub. It was not to be, but this river is full of decent fish, and after trying below the weir , we settled on a deep hole above the Clayton bridge. It took about half an hour before the first bite came here, and it fell to Josh, who had tackled up on lighter gear expecting the fish to be a little fickle in the cold. What he hadn't banked on was a large trout taking his bait and promptly swimming upstream for a few yards before turning and smashing through his hook length and disappearing into the depths. I however had stuck to a heavier rig, using Preston power 0.13 (4lb 12oz) hook length, which proved to be the difference as within ten minutes I was into a decent trout. The bite was a drop back on the tip, and as I tried to tighten the line the tip dropped back again. I realised I had a fish hooked that was swimming upstream towards me. This fish finally came to the net after a lengthy battle watched by a tidy audience that had gathered on the bridge. There was huge relief as the fish eventually ran out of steam and came to the landing net to comments of well done, and look at that etc, etc. Most locals don't even realise the river contains anything but traffic cones and bicycles, let alone decent trout.
I managed a second slightly smaller, but equally strong fish from the same spot. Again this fish took me all over the swim before giving itself up. These river fish are so powerful that using lighter gear really is not an option.

After such a flurry of action the swim was to go quiet, and the fish above proved to provide the last bite of the day. Although the river went quiet the valley became really busy as the sledgers descended in their dozens. We stuck it out for a few hours more but knew the best of the fishing had passed. Once again a satisfying trip on a river that just keeps on throwing up decent fish.
I have an enforced break from fishing due to work, and a trip to France in the next couple of weeks. I am considering packing some lure fishing gear though, as I think I will need my weekly fix, so keep watching.


  1. That s alovely looking litte river, reminds me of the Wreake near me, unfortunately not many fish left in that one though

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