Ribblesdale Angling Assocation

Chairman’s Report – May

A cool, dry start to the season…but the fish are there

After a relatively slow start to the season, trout and even the occasional sea trout are starting to show across our water on the Ribble and Hodder. Following the long layoff over winter, trout anglers were keen to get back on the river banks, but with over 10.5 inches of rainfall recorded over the first sixteen days of the month, it was virtually impossible in the strong wind and with a very coloured river running at 1.6 meters at Waddow.

As water levels began to drop away, at the very top of the river a few keener trout rods made an appearance but it was still a bit early for much activity. A well sunk nymph will usually produces fish hugging the bottom, but around early afternoon, as the temperature rises by a couple of degrees, a team of North Country spiders fished under the surface will still tempt a fish or two.

Despite the low water and bright conditions, a good, early salmon was caught and released this week. Members have started to land some quality wild brownies and even the odd early sea trout. As the temperatures rise during May, the trout will become more active and visible and as long as we get some summer rain, the sea trout should start running in numbers during June.

Trout in the town?

Running through the centre of Clitheroe, opposite Tesco’s supermarket, and babbling merrily along is a nice stream contained by high walls. Walk across the busy road from Tesco’s and you will see some lovely gravelled runs and riffles of just the right size for migratory fish to spawn on.

This is Mereley brook which rises on the lower slopes of old Pendle and back in the 1940s, it’s where my love of all things relating to fish began – either floating a worm of tickling trout.

At the very bottom of this stream, before it meets the Ribble below Henthorn, the odd pair of salmon sometimes cut their redds, so the potential is there for it to be improved. But it’s been many generations since any migratory fish were able to access this stream, as it was impounded to create a mill lodge with no passage for migratory fish.

All this is about to change thanks mainly to the Ribble Rivers Trust, who have secured £500k funding from the European Regional Development Fund and a further £318k from Developer’ section 106 payments via RVBC.

The planned project is to create a river and pond-based nature reserve through de-silting, planting wetland plants, creating footpaths and viewing areas and one of England’s longest fish passes: 41m in length, taking fish over a 5.4m weir and monitoring their progress using radio and pit telemetry.

Phase one of this project should begin in June with the de-silting, with the fish pass following in July prior to opening in September 2020!

This is a very exciting project – not only to potentially open up this stream for more migratory fish for anglers – but also create a small haven for wildlife in a semi urban setting for all to enjoy and hopefully inspire a few more young people to begin their angling journey.

Prince Albert Open Day

Price Albert’s open day on the banks of the Ribble at Ribchester in June is always keenly looked forward to – not only by the club’s members, but also the many other anglers who always enjoy their day.

This year, it’s a bit special because our own local APPGAI instructor Jim Fearn will be joined by the former World Spey casting distance champions Scott Mackenzie – who will be demonstrating his range of rods – and Andrew Toft, a Master Certified Instructor and a ICSF World Spey casting champion.

There will be the usual stalls and fishing presentations as well as fly tying demonstrations, tackle to purchase and local associations represented. Make a note in your diary Sunday, June 9th for a great day out.

Snakes Alive!

And finally, if hooking and landing a 20lb salmon can give you palpitations, then think what a 10-foot Burmese python would do to you! But that’s just what happened when two lads on the lower Ribble hooked and landed one of these big snakes. The first angler, out spinning for a fresh springers, foul-hooked the huge reptile just behind the head on a Flying C in a fast run near Balderstone. When its head broke the surface, he nearly had a heart attack.

This snake, or a similar one, was then again foul-hooked on a fly rod, this time further downstream close to Millings wood. Who says angling is boring?

Fred Higham, RAA Chairman

  • For the latest news, river conditions and catch reports, Log onto the Members Forum.