AVING been an Angler’s Mail Where To Fish correspondent for over 20 years, I know lots of fishing venues in the North West, but no one can know everywhere, especially when it comes to river stretches, so I am always on the lookout for new spots.
The region’s main rivers are the Weaver, Dane, Mersey and Ribble, and they each have smaller tributaries, all providing some very worthwhile sport for anglers that are willing to investigate them.
One such tributary was recently brought to my attention, the River Calder, which flows into the Ribble.
I’ve known about the Calder for years, but have never got to know it properly. As it turns out, it seems I have been missing a trick.
I’d always assumed, wrongly, that it was okay for an occasional chub and maybe a barbel, with a few trout and grayling, too. A generally shallow river, I always thought that it was not worth making a song and dance over. However, when I heard of some impressive catches coming from the Hyndburn & Blackburn AA stretch at Whalley, I had to find out more, just to satisfy my curiosity.
Love and affection
The club’s Manchester-born Gary Williams kindly helped me out on my visit. I think it’s fair to say that he found two new loves in his life when he moved to Whalley several years ago – his lovely wife and the River Calder!
I arranged to meet Gary on the association's stretch of the Calder where it runs by the pleasant and ancient Whalley Abbey.
Pegs are somewhat limited on this side of the river, but the club also has access on the far bank, all the way down to the viaduct, where there are many more swims. The club also controls other popular stretches.
Gary had located himself on what can only be described as a ‘dolly’ peg, as it had a wooden platform jutting a little way out into the river, located at the base of some concrete steps. I think it is worth mentioning that mud can make these steps slippery at times, so be careful if you pay it a visit.
An early start ensured that Gary secured his comfy swim, and he was already catching a fish a chuck when I arrived.
What fish were they? Well, they were dace, and the fast rate at which he was dropping them into his keepnet suggested that he was well on his way to a very decent netful.