AN investigation is under way after hundreds of dead trout were found floating in the River Irwell between Bury and Ramsbottom.

Fishermen claim that the deaths relate to pollution incidents which have been occurring almost every week over the past few months and they raised concerns about the impact this is having on other wildlife.

The Environment Agency's (EA) specialist teams have visited the site but say they have "so far been unable to find the source due to heavy rainfall dispersing any substance within the water."

Members of the public have been urged to report pollution to the EA.

Mike Duddy, chairman of Salford Friendly Anglers Society, who lives in Prestwich, said: “The angling community is angry about yet another pollution incident on the River Irwell.

“Hundreds of dead fish were seen upstream of Bury — with big wild brown trout weighing up to about 4lb being observed floating belly up dead in the water. This is an ongoing problem; the Irwell is continually being polluted. In recent months it has been happening virtually on a weekly basis, often on a Friday afternoon and evening.

"It is very very difficult to find the source.”

Fishermen Alan Buttery, from Helmshore in Rossendale, discovered the dead fish on Friday night, near Burrs Country Park, Summerseat, Nuttall Park and Ramsbottom town centre.

Mr Duddy says the EA was informed about the latest incident on Friday night, and officers attended on Saturday morning.

“Unfortunately, by then the river was swollen by heavy rains and most of the evidence had washed away", he said. "Thankfully our committed EA fisheries team were out again on Sunday afternoon looking for evidence, and have been in touch with us to discuss the information that anglers have. Let’s hope they find the culprit and prosecute."

The EA said both their fisheries and environment management teams have attended the site and are currently investigating the cause.

An EA spokeswoman said: “Our officers were notified of a potential incident on the River Irwell near Peel Brow in Ramsbottom which resulted in the deaths of a number of fish. Officers have been out on site and are currently investigating the cause. As of yet, we have been unable to substantiate the source due to high flows, as a result of the recent heavy rainfall, dispersing any substance within the watercourse. 

“Our officers will continue to monitor the situation closely and we urge members of the public who do spot anything unusual to report it.

"Angling clubs and residents are very often our eyes and ears on the ground and reporting incidents allows us to respond quickly and minimise any environmental impacts they might have.”


Mr Duddy invited members of the public to become 'river guardians'.

He said: "We need a network of people to local sources of pollution and to be the eyes and ears on the ground.

"It's our river — we need to work better together to protect it from those who don’t care."

To join the society, email

To report suspected pollution to the EA, call 0800 807060.