Gems are hard to come by especially when it comes to lakes for fishing on. But there is one out there and it’s called Chadwick or “Chaddy” Dam. Originally the lake belonged to Chadwick’s factory along with the boating lake which is next to the dam. In fact both Chaddy’s dam and the boating lake were one lake but when the land was brought by Stalybridge and Ashton Under Lyne towns in 1891, an embankment was built to separate and make one lake into two.

The dam itself has been left to its own devices and fell into disrepair over the years although trees, shrubs and plants have all thrived creating an oasis for the wildlife which includes many bird species like Mallard and Canadian Geese, with the

latter nesting during the summer on the two islands which sit neatly in the middle of the lake. The dam itself was filled with all sorts of rubbish people threw in over the years, and that turned a beautiful lake into an eyesore especially for residents living nearby. During the summer kids swam the lake which probably wasn’t a good idea due to the underwater hazards lurking underneath which included shopping trolleys and cars.

People did fish the dam though. In fact I fished it many times during my youth and caught many many crucian carp on a float and delicious sweet corn tempting those golden coloured fighters into submission. There was never any one peg which seemed to be better than the others so fishing Chadwick Dam was always an experience.

There

were other fish in the murky waters of the Chads including roach, bream, perch and of course pike and carp. It was the carp which were the hardest to catch and no one never quiet knew what lay hidden underneath, until recently.

Recently the local council have given a small and enthusiastic band of anglers the opportunity to lease it. They run it with enthusiasm and hope, hope that their dreams pay off and they turn a great fishing lake into one of the best in the country and the members come flooding in.

Ridgehill Angling Club is a small club with just one lake, Chadwick Dam. Formed in 2007, the people in charge, Simon, Stephen, Sean and Rob want the dam to be a starting point for young and old anglers alike. They regularly hold meetings where new members are welcomed with open arms. They do a lot for the young ones around the area and have even taken them fishing in France which was a great success for everyone involved. But running a club like Ridgehill Angling Club isn’t easy. They have had to go through many hoops in order to get where they are today, which by the way is a wonderful lake packed full of fish including carp of all weights. In fact the biggest, a 23lb mirror called Trigger was recently caught for the very first time. It’s a wonderful, healthy looking fish and was caught recently by Neil Allen.

The members started by removing all the rubbish from the lake itself and surrounding

area. They then built new pegs around the lake making it safe for people to fish. The lake was then netted which gave the staff a good idea of what fish where in the dam and how healthy they were. Planting trees and other fauna have also improved the area around the chads and turned this little gem once more into a great fishing spot.

Ridgehill Angling Club has a membership scheme and is open to anyone young or old, experienced or someone never having fished before. If you come along to fish for the day then there are day tickets available from the bank. The staff all take lots of their own time to educate the young and not so old on the basics of fishing including tackling up, hook tying and the safe handling of the fish they catch. When they can the staff arrange fishing competitions and days out to other lakes, canals and rivers in the UK and France and these trips have been a great success.

The club has a Facebook page:

http://www.facebook.com/?ref=home#!/group.php?gid=153646994655545

And a website:

http://ridgehillanglingclub.org.uk/

There’s a wealth of information on the pages including videos and pictures so go check them out.

If you are looking for a hidden gem where the wildlife is abundant and the fishing great then why not come along? Day tickets are available on the bank but why not take out a membership? All the information you need is on the noticeboards on the dam itself. The lake caters for different types of fishing too including carping, pike fishing and bit bashing so no matter what type of fisherman you are why not give Chadwick dam a whirl? There’s a hidden gem waiting to be explored.

See you there and tight lines!!

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