Alert as Irwell turns orange
Chris Osuh 31/ 3/2008
THE River Irwell has turned orange again – sparking a major Environment Agency investigation.An 18 to 20 mile stretch of the river has been affected in what the agency describes as a `significant pollution incident’.
Officers were sent to a part of the river between Bacup and Bury, after concerned members of the public began contacting their switchboard at 7.30am today.At this stage it is suspected the problem has been caused by an underground mine collapse at Bacup and the weekend’s heavy downpours. It is believed water is flowing from underground workings at the mine, overwhelming the nearby Old Meadows water treatment plant. This has led to untreated water tainted with iron salts, flooding into the River Irwell and staining it ochre.At this stage it is not known whether the problem will affect household water supplies or if any fish have been killed. Environment Agency experts are taking water samples and photographs from the scene and are assessing the impact of the pollution on the river and its wildlife. A deeper ecological survey will follow.The River Irwell ran bright orange in Bacup for thirty years until 1999, when a clean-up operation was completed. The £1m engineering scheme was launched after a 1997 Coal Authority survey identified the stretch as as having the fourth worst case of minewater pollution in the country.
now you know why the irwell is a catch and release water!
Hopefully the fish and other aquatic life have not been affected as proved by Tonys catching the day after this pollution incident took place. When i go fishing tomorrow i am going to go bug hunting to check that food sources are still alive there.
As Matthew is off school for the Easter holidays, he came out with Big Dave, Phil and myself for a day at Pennine Fishery in Littleborough.
The minimum size of fish stocked in these lake is 3lb so both Phil and I would catch a personal best Rainbow Trout, if only we could tempt one.
As you can see from the photo above and the big grin on Phils face, he got his new pb within the first half hour of the day.
I had to wait an hour for mine to arrive, i would like to say it was worth the wait but it fought like a sack of spuds on the end of the line and was nothing more than a dissapointment. (it might redeem itself in the frying pan tonight).
We had nine fish between us with only Matthew missing out on catching a fish.
He did really well considering it was his first ever fly fishing trip. By the end of the day his casting had improved, and he was clued up about the different weights and retreival styles of different flies. Life was difficult for him casting into the wind but he coped admirably with the conditions. We all wanted him to land a fish, but when i caught my two he was either at the loo or getting a cup of tea. When he was fishing with Big Dave (of red latex fly fame) he had 4 or 5 good pulls but didnt connect with any of the fish. Better luck next time Matt 🙁
Now i am gaining confidence i dont think i will be visiting commercial trout fisheries again unless i am taking Matthew. The clocks change this weekend so bring on the river!
We fished the swim near the car park for the first hour, and Tony showed me a couple of his techniques with nymphs.
I was standing behind him watching his techniques, cast -mend -draw-run through, when he said “ah thats perfect” no sooner than the words left his mouth did he tighten into a lovely fish of about a pound. Talk about perfect timing, it made us both laugh. If only it were that easy to talk the fish onto the bank every time!
Later,we decided to search through some of the swims higher up the river, and this led to some serious mountaineering along the steep river banks. It certainly stopped us from feeling the cold!
We fished a couple more swims but neither of us had any success. Despite the cold there were some small hatches of duns and a fish rising in one of the pools we fished.
As the afternoon drew on the melt water turned the river a much dirtier colour than when we arrived and the water had risen a good 12 inches.
It was a great afternoon, and i learnt a lot from Tony about fly fishing on a small river. I cant wait for the water to return to normal as now that the evenings are becoming lighter, i can come fishing here after work.
I used a team of two with a march brown on point and a black spider type thingy as the dropper.
Tonys fish came on the point to a gold headed march brown. This new lexicon of snipe, spider, nymph, buzzer,emerger is going to take some getting used to, but after the fun i had this afternoon it looks like its going to be something i am going to enjoy
As we walked along the river bank we passed many waterfalls cascading down the steep cliffs that guard one of the river banks. I have never noticed these beautiful falls before, probably due to the fact that i have previously only fished this stretch in summer when the water table is lower and the cliffs are cloaked in denser foliage. Despite my lack of a fish today i still had a great day.
Took another trip up to Pendle View with Phil-K this afternoon.
We braved a strong northerly wind, and squally showers again, but caught 20 fish between us.
By the time our session was over my fingers were so numb i couldnt feel the pen i was using to record our session in the catch return book.
As i am no more than a novice fly fisherman i can quite honestly say that this was my best day ever – in terms of catch – using a fly rod and line. Thanks Phil for inviting me along, and thanks Dave for tying those flies for me (but i am beginning to worry about where all this red latex is coming from!).
Am going to buy some new waders tomorrow so i can fish the local river for its wild brownies.
I feel a few blanks coming on!
I promised my girlfriend Lucia a get away from it weekend in Wales. Of course this turned into a reconnaissance weekend for possible future fishing venues under the guise of romantic walks around a lake. I think the penny dropped for her when i kept stopping to put on a pair of polaroid glasses and stare intently into the water.
Not only did i traipse her around various lakes in North Wales but i even suggested a walk along the beach in Anglesey – I know how to treat a girl. The weather wasnt fantastic but the company couldnt be beaten.
I am sure Mackerel Rock is supposed to be somewhere around here !
I decided to have a couple of hours spinning at one of the local weirs for an end of season Pike.
I tried out various lures but had no takes. However i had a good chat with ginger Dan who turned up about half three and fished for an hour or so with me. He didnt have any takes either.
So as the coarse season finishes today the trout season starts tomorrow. I wont be fishing this weekend as i have promised my gf a weekend away. However i have told her that there is a very scenic walk around a particular lake in Snowdonia – not to hilly and a good path. What she doesnt realise is that this lake happens to contain a sizeable head of arctic char! Pity the season in wales doesnt start until the 20th March otheriwise i would have sneaked a rod into the boot of the car.
As the new game season is about to begin, i have been weighing up my options as to which rivers i am going to concentrate my efforts. My local river was once heavily polluted but now its tributaries support healthy populations of brown trout in their upper reaches, and as most of these waters are within half and hours drive of my office then it is only natural that i will be concentrating my early season efforts on this river and its tributaries.
I have not fished using a fly line on a river before so this is going to be an exciting couple of months for me as i learn to winkle trout out of these small rivers and brooks.
This afternoon i had a walk along a small brook, which runs from the Western Pennine Hills. I have fished this stream only once before, when i had half an hour in two swims without any luck. However next time with a little more stealth, guile, and experience hope to unlock a few of its secrets.
The rights to fishing on my local river are very fragmented with many areas being uncontrolled by any angling clubs. I have been told that one of the clubs is about to give up its rights due lack of interest from its members! Should i be so amazed that people dont want to bother with learning how to fish on the river when there are so many commercial fisheries available.
I have fished the upper reaches of the river with Matthew and caught some lovely brown trout on wet flies controlled by a bubble float, so i am hoping for similar success with a fly line. Once the clocks change at the end of the month i hope to get in at least two evening trips a week.
After chatting to Phil and Tony yesterday and listening to their views and experiences of different rivers in the North West, I have been convinced that joining Wigan & District Angling Club will give me access to a great stretch of a different, larger river which holds good numbers of both coarse fish and brown trout for a reasonable price. So its small brooks for midweek and powerfull river for the weekend – Bring on the 15th.