Fishing the tiny River Medlock and beyond

Fishing the tiny River Medlock and beyond

Sunday, 30 January 2011

River Etherow Woolley Bridge

When you know the weather is poor and there has been little rainfall you get the feeling that it might be hard on the river, and this weekend was one of those weekends. We all have a water that is a banker in any conditions and I am no different. I have been travelling up to The River Etherow for thirty years now. We used to get the 237 bus up to Tintwistle with all our gear every Sunday when we were schoolkids, then walk the river down to Woolley Bridge fishing every fishable swim.  Over the years I have caught some cracking trout and perch from here and never tire of this river.

As it is my birthday today where better to spend the day I asked myself. It is a good job we go fishing for more reasons than the catch, as today proved biteless. Of all the days, the fish decided not to feed in any of my favourite swims. After persevering for four hours trying stick float and swimfeeder without any success, I finally conceded defeat to a normally prolific river.
A mad dash home down the motorway and home in time for the Notts County v City match on telly. Surely City can't mess that up and  continue my run of bad luck............

Sunday, 23 January 2011

River Medlock Potato Wharf...Where are all the chub?

Last night I told Hazel I was going to take a trip into the City centre in the morning. Imagine her dismay when she realised I was up and about at 7 o'clock and the shops don't open until eleven. It could mean only one thing, down to the river!  
Now if you have ever driven down the Mancunian way towards Regent Road there is a little bridge just after going under the railway viaduct, and before the River Irwell. You could be forgiven for missing this bridge, and I would bet few people know what the reason for it is. Running through the culvert at the real back end of town is the now famous River Medlock. Access is poor but there are at least three swims that with average climbing skills can be fished, they are pictured below. This is urban river fishing at its most urban.

Unfortunately due to lack of rain the river was running very low, ideally needing another foot of water. You can see the water line on the opposite wall. Undeterred I climbed down to the waters edge and set up a swimfeeder rig. At this point a word of warning for anybody intrepid enough, or maybe daft enough to try these swims. Latex gloves and anti-bacterial dry wash are a great addition to the fishing bag , and I wouldn't bring a packed lunch as it may get stolen by or shared with the City's rat population, which seems quite at home in this sheltered haven. I have never fished this part of the river in winter, and there is less vegetation on the banks, which means at least you can see what is creeping around the bank! I sat without a bite for two hours, switching between red maggot and breadflake. Not a tickle. In summer with a little more water I have had good nets of chub, anything up to twenty or thirty fish from here. I have even caught a wayward large skimmer bream that must have arrived from the canal overflow at the wharf. If I was going to suffer a blank day I decided I wasn't going to sit here all day being watched by Roland Rat and his mates. So it was back into the car and 2 miles upstream to the Bay Horse pub in Clayton. There was not much depth here either and swims I have tried successfully before were not producing today. Finally in an act of desperation I reluctantly decided to take my Dads advice and fish on the tip below the waterfall . He came down to have a look and decided he would have tried there.

Now I knew I was risking one of those "I told you so, son" moments but I had fancied this swim on an earlier visit (honest), but didn't have the time to try it. So I planted a swimfeeder full of red maggots, and fished with double red on a size 18 hook. After such a quiet day I was not expecting instant success and as I sat back to relax the tip pulled round sharply. I had a fish on at last, but this fish was darting around the wierpool most unlike a big chub. After a prolonged fight, due mainly to my reluctance to lose what may be my only fish of the day, I pulled a lovely lean brown trout over the landing net. Not a huge fish, but a most welcome one.
I was now on a roll, surely there would be more where that came from, would there? Well there was but not much more. I did catch a second fish, as important as any I have caught this year as it adds a species to the 2011 list (copyright Mike Duddy Manchester Fishing Fiend). This minnow had tried to eat my double maggot offering and already had two more in its mouth.

Not a prolific day, but enjoyable nonetheless. Next week sees me out on Thursday, but not quite sure where yet as fellow maggotdrowner Stretford Red has wangled the same day off at last. I think he is hinting at the River Don after seeing the Grayling in this weeks post. Wherever we end up it will end up on here on Thursday evening. Lets hope there are more fishy shots than scenery.

Thursday, 20 January 2011

River Don Oughtibridge. To catch a Grayling.

Inspired by Patrick's superb blog 'The one that got away' I left the foggy suburbs of Manchester behind this morning and headed for the bright sunshine of Sheffield, stopping only  for a large brekkie at the Cosy cafe in Hollingworth before heading over the Woodhead pass. Frosted banks and zero temperatures greeted my arrival at Oughtibridge. My aim today was to catch my first Grayling, a fish you could only dream of gracing the suburbs of such northern cities only a decade or so ago.
I began in the centre of town on the stick float above the main bridge on the swims above. Getting nearly 4ft depth and some pace at the top of this stretch I was hopeful. Trying every swim and for nearly two hours without a bite I began to think I was on for my second blank on the trot following a biteless walk on the Meddy last week . Not being clever enough to make a blank sound exciting yet I chose not to write about it.  As I walked further downstream I began to wonder if it wasn't to be, but then I bumped into a local angler who was really helpful. He took me half a mile or so downstream to some great looking swims and assured me if it was going to happen today it would be here. With a second wind I decided to adopt a different approach. I set up a sliding swimfeeder rig and put the feeder into the flow half way across the river.  Within seconds I was getting small knocks on the tip. On the second cast, as I was chatting to another local angler the tip pulled right round. I struck and was into my first grayling. These fish know how to fight and are a joy to watch as they come to the net. The chap on the bank obliged with the camera and I do believe I had warmed to this river, however cold I was.
I stuck at it all afternoon choosing to stay in the same swim and managed six grayling in all, a couple of them going a bit larger. Then as I was thinking of turning it in , the tip pulled right round again. This time the bite was most definate and yielded a lovely brown trout to round off a great day.

So the quest completed it was off home for a few well deserved Tetleys to celebrate in true Yorkshire fashion. Back to this side of the Pennines and another mission to Clayton Vale is on the cards at weekend seeking the big chub. Whilst I was fishing the Meddy last week I came across a guy fishing a huge piece of legered breadflake. When I remarked on the size of his hookbait he said "Have you seen the gobs on the chub in here? I use pieces of meat the size of matchboxes in the Summer!"
Armed with local knowledge like that I shouldn't go far wrong at weekend.

Sunday, 9 January 2011

A brace of pristine Medlock chub

I decided to try the swim on the River Medlock I blanked on at new year this morning. Having previously lost a big fish here I was fairly confident I could find a fish or two here. The river was carrying a little extra water today and much more colour. The river here runs in a valley between Clayton and Newton Heath, and really is an oasis in the Manchester inner city suburbs.

With the steep banks it really is essential to wade in the river and a lot of the river is inaccessible. The peg I fished below is tucked away in the valley but is overlooked on the far bank by a footpath. It really is comical to see the bewilderment on the faces of passers by, as they watch me stood in the once polluted river.
After an hour on a straight leger set up without a single tap I changed to stick float tactics. Trotting a single white maggot on a size 18 hook brought a bite second cast and immediately I was into a large chub. These fish can scrap as well and really are powerful. I was not going to allow the fish to swim under the far bank raft, unlike the previous week. A few minutes later I slipped the net under this beautiful chub.
This week decided to stay on the same swim for the day and lost two more fish to the far bank tree, before landing the second slightly larger fish below.
Only hooked one more during the day but fell foul of the snags on this difficult swim again. I didn't have the river to myself today though, there was another angler looking for the bigger fish with worm as bait but to no avail. All in all a very satisfying day. This river never ceases to amaze me, as not so many years ago it was heavily polluted, and until more recently it would not have been worth considering for a day out on the bank, similar to most of Manchester's rivers. Tuesday is my next free day and I plan to get out early and try the River Tame below Ashton-Under-Lyne, near to Portland Basin. I hope the water is a little warmer then as my feet are still freezing as I type this.

Sunday, 2 January 2011

A morning on the River Medlock

This morning saw me determined to see in the new year with a fish or two from my local river. Having fished new years day morning at Clayton Bridge and ending up blanking, I decided to concentrate my efforts further upstream. At Clayton Bridge I managed to hook two fish, one of which was decent, but lost both to far bank snags. Today I joined the river at Daisy Nook and waded downstream for a few miles stopping at some of the more likely looking swims. The river was low and very clear, and only having trotting gear it became apparent I was going to have to cover some ground as deep swims were few and far between.

After stopping at several swims and failing to register a bite I arrived at the deeper slower glide below. Fishing a single white maggot on only my second trot down the sandy bottomed swim, finally the float buried. I was into a decent fish which was heading for the far bank at a rate of knots. After a few initial lunges the fish was in view, a beautiful chub, a personal best fish from the Meddy.

Managed just one more fish during the morning, again from the same swim and of a similar size. Again a pristine chub I would estimate 2-3lb
Only had the two bites all morning but both produced fantastic fish from such an intriguing river. No small stuff today and surprisingly no minnow eating the bait as fast as it goes in. I think there will be bigger specimens in this river, however the river is in need of some rain. A great start to the year though and encouraging to say the least. Walking back I took a detour to the once prolific Moorside Anglers section of the Hollinwood branch canal in Droylsden, now in a sorry state. I spent many an evening on this stretch in my childhood days, it is now completely overgrown.