The Hodder—a joy to fish

Along the River Hodder, the well-known Whitewell Hotel water —about five miles of excellent trout and salmon fishing—is a joy to fish. The Hodder Bridge Hotel at Bashall Eaves has fishing, and at Withgill the CWS Angling Club controls a mixed fishery.

Lancashire is well blessed with quality Stillwater fishing of most types. There are fighting brownies to be caught from hillside tarns, brown and rainbow trout at stocked fisheries such as the put-and-take Barnsfold Waters or Longridge near Ribchester, or roach and carp fishing in many ‘lodges’. Most local tackle dealers will give you information about these.

The wood-ringed Rivington Reservoirs complex can hardly be bettered as a scenic mixed fishery, and the North West Water Authority sets an example many other authorities would do well to follow. At Colne there is the Foulridge canal-feeder reservoir with more mixed fishing and day tickets available on the bank.

Blackpool has the well-known Stanley Park Lake with its roach and perch, and day tickets are issued by the park ranger. Upper Roddlesworth Reservoir, controlled by the North West Water Authority, has coarse fish and trout, and Sabden Lodge water near Whalley has good carp and trout fishing. Tickets for the latter can be obtain- ed from the Accrington and District Fishing Club, which controls the water, or from T Little, 2 Pendle Street, West Sabden. The area also has many other Stillwater fisheries with day tickets available; Heaping Lodges near Chorley, Carr Mill Dam at St Helens, Kirklees Lodge and Brenda Lodge at Tottington near Bolton, and Audley and Mitchell House Reservoirs controlled by the Accrington and District Fishing Club which also controls waters at Hag’s and Sharm Hall reservoirs.

Canals also form a vital part of north-west fishing, and current mat- chmen had their grounding along the towpaths of these. The Lan-caster Canal is a popular match water fast improving now, par-ticularly in the Garstang region where roach, perch, bream, pike and some tench are found, and the canal has easy access at many points. Day tickets, issued by the Northern Anglers’ Association, are available.

The Leeds-Liverpool cut, at over 120 miles long, is England’s longest canal. It is also an important arm in north-west fishing, with quality tench and roach now beginning to be caught. The section around Maghull is well-known, and access is good with much day-ticket fishing available, as it is along the 25 miles from Chorley to Ormskirk. Most of the fishing is controlled by the Northern AA, the Liverpool and District AA and the Wigan and District AA.

Day-ticket fishing is also available along the arm of the Leeds-Liverpool known as the Haigh Canal which runs from New Springs, Wigan to Johnson’s Hill Lock near Chorley. The best match catch recorded along the Leeds and Liverpool Canal was in excess of 20 lb, with a roach of over 2½lb on record. Records are more modest for the Lancaster Canal, although a 14lb match weight was recorded near Garstang in 1976 and in the same year a roach over 2lb.

Morecambe Bay

Sea fishing in this area is adequate if not outstanding. Morecambe Bay to the north has yielded catches of very big thornback ray, and there are charter boats for hire in the area. Mackerel bait is a local recommendation. It is an area of sand and mud shoreline. Marks are prolific, though most shore catches are made up with flounders, dabs, and winter whiting.

Fleetwood is an important commercial fishing port with charter boats available. The main boat-caught species are cod, dogfish, skate, some conger, tope, and flat-fish. Shore points offering fair possibilities are Easton beach, Marine beach, the Wyre Estuary, Jubilee Quay and Fleetwood town pier. There is also good shore fishing at Cleveleys and along the Anchors-holme Promenade.

During the high holiday period shore fishing at Blackpool is limited, for obvious reasons. In winter the local beaches are worth consideration. Lytham Promenade, the lengthy sea wall from there towards Blackpool, and Blackpool’s North Pier often yield sizeable bass, cod and whiting.