Members of a new angling club, Little Britain Anglers, have been getting their hands dirty to improve the water quality and fishing stocks in the Manchester, Bolton & Bury Canal near Radcliffe.
Although only formed this summer, the enthusiastic group has just celebrated their tenth work party weekend, clearing away weeds and improving the water flow from the canal’s feeder reservoir at Elton.
Up to a dozen members have been joining each session to remove weeds, reeds and silt.
Little Britain Angling Club was set up specifically to take on the task of re-introducing angling on the canal while working with other groups to improve the waterway for everyone to enjoy.
Michael Dodman, Little Britain Anglers vice chairman, said: “Much of the water coming off Elton Reservoir was running over the weeds and straight into the River Irwell. Very little was going into the canal and this was reducing the water flow and allowing weeds and reeds to grow at an alarming rate. A lot of the canal was unfishable.
“After the first work party we noticed the water had started to move and by the second day you could see a big difference. We dropped in a rod at a few test spots and were very happy to see the float trot along like a small river.
“We can't say our work has improved the whole stretch down to the breach dam but we do think the water quality is noticeably better and we are very optimistic for the future.”
Canal & River Trust fisheries and angling manager, John Ellis explained: “The increased flow helps to reduce the amount of duckweed and improve conditions for wildlife. The greater the water depth, the less likely fish will run out of oxygen.
“It’s great to see the enthusiasm of the Little Britain Anglers members. I have long felt that angling clubs can play an important role in maintaining and helping restore sections of the waterway network. The work that Little Britain are doing in partnership with the Trust is already beginning to lead to improved conditions on the canal for fish, other wildlife, anglers and the general public."