The Ribble is a high gradient spate river and as such can vary between ‘bare bones’ at times of summer drought and raging torrent after heavy winter (or summer) rain but, despite these extremes, it offers rewarding fishing for the greater part of the season. It is primarily a wild brown trout river, but it does have increasing salmon and sea trout runs. Recently over 150 salmon redds were counted on the Association waters and occasional fish of 25lb have been caught at Horton. Grayling and coarse fish are not present in the river with Stainforth Foss being a natural barrier to their migration upstream, this however does not prevent the Salmon & Sea trout from reaching our section of the river.
We have not stocked the river with imported fish since 2006. Instead, as part of our management strategy for the river, we are increasing the population of native fish by extensive habitat restoration and improvement. Recently we have seen a dramatic increase in the number and distribution of wild brown trout that is a testament to the faith of our members in agreeing to cease stocking.
In partnership with the Ribble Rivers Trust we have an ambitious programme of habitat restoration and improvement with the aim of progressively increasing the trout holding capacity of the river to its full potential. This programme includes the erection of buffer fencing to protect the river margins from grazing, tree and shrub planting to provide fish cover and help increase the level of fly and ephemerids present and the placing of additional in-stream cover to offer habitat for fish at all stages of their life cycle. Go to the Conservation page to learn more.
We are also monitoring the distribution of river fly on a regular basis to serve as an early indicator of potential water quality problems, provide a measure of the availability of prey species for our wild trout and to offer a better understanding of the type of artificial that will be most successful on the beats.