Fishing the tiny River Medlock and beyond

Fishing the tiny River Medlock and beyond

Thursday, 19 July 2012

A tale of two rivers

On Tuesday, spurred on by my trip to Wales I finally found the urge to visit the Medlock for the first time this season. Since the close season I have not bothered as the river has changed completely due to the demolition of a large weir. This has really changed the shape of the river through the Vale in Clayton. Swims which held good chub are now just a inches deep. I couldn't hide my disappointment as I walked the river with a local project manager to talk about the river and the fish holding areas.
The weather was fine for a change and on the one deep hole left I set up a maggot feeder rig and cast under a far bank tree. The fish were biting and within minutes I had a brownie of about 12oz. I backed this up with nine more fish including a couple of chub, and one decent one.
As the bites dried up and with no alternative swims to move to these days I decided to drive into the city centre and try a stretch of the Irwell new to me. I arrived about 3pm and decided to stick it out all afternoon. The only problem was the rain arrived pretty soon afterwards, and persisted for hours. With no cover and concrete banks it was a case of grin and bear it. It didn't stop the fish  from showing up though, and I managed to build up a tidy bag of fish including a chub of 3lb all caught on maggot feeder three quarters across the river. An interesting spot in the middle of the city drew quite an audience at times as the fish were being played in. From the offices opposite I could see the surprise as each fish came to the net. The only hazard is the rate of rise in the river level. To wade here you have to be confident, and in the pouring rain I had to remain vigilant. At 8pm I decided to call it a day with around 10lb in the net of roach and chub, and a solitary perch. Not bad for a first day out on the river. I could have done with some coaching from Derek (Salford friendly fame) today on stick float fishing as only one fish fell to this tactic. I am sure Del would have bagged up. I like to think I am proficient in the art of stick float fishing but had to revert to long range tactics. There's always another day.

Nuclear powered trout

Each year I seem to do at least one decent trip out to somewhere new, and this year's outing came courtesy of a work colleague who mentioned he had a caravan in Wales, and often went fishing on Trawsfynnydd lake. Not only was the caravan in close proximity to some interesting fishing, it was near to Barmouth, a seaside resort that I visited many times as a child for my summer holidays. Who could resist a trip down memory lane? Not me. So along with Chris and Lee another colleague we wrapped up work on Saturday evening and headed for Barmouth on our jollies, well for one evening anyway. We made the best of our short stay though and managed a good few pints in the pub before rounding off with a kebab by the sea. Back to the caravan and several cans more before we hit the sack ready for a good day out on the lake.
Arriving early at Trawsfynnydd I was expecting something spectacular for the £17 day ticket. I have to say the views alone are worth the ticket price, and the fishing though patchy, was most interesting.
Pictured above are the reactors from the decommissioned nuclear power station. They were buzzing all day, and apparently will do for years if not decades to come. It is quite a stark reminder of an era that started and ended within my lifetime.
On to the fishing and a slow start but gradually the bites started registering on the tip. Fishing long range with a maggot feeder on a surprisingly level bottom I had lots of positive bites. The main problem was me! I was rusty after a long break from fishing due to travelling to Ukraine for the Euros and playing catch up since getting home. I managed to hook and lose two fish before hooking a large trout. After a good scrap the fish turned quick as it neared the bank and snapped my hooklength, all 4lb 12oz of it, as it flipped over in the water I could see it would have been a PB trout. I finally bagged a couple of small brownies and a perch before Chris alerted me to the fact he had a good bend in his rod. After a long fight he banked a good rainbow trout. With no scales I would guesstimate 2lbs plus.

Not to be outdone I managed to bank one a little bigger, a beautiful fish. These fish go like a train and take some taming.
Lee, who hadn't fished for years was a little dejected by now, and switching him to a float set up with a 3AAA waggler and a little coaching did the trick. He completed a hat-trick of big rainbows.
So not prolific fishing but a great day and indeed weekend in some stunning surroundings with great company made for a trip to remember.