In late 1949 an advert was placed in the Macclesfield Times by the late Eric Pastore, inviting anglers interested in fly fishing to a meeting in the Bate Hall Hotel in Macclesfield. This meeting took place on the 7th December of that year and the 18 persons present agreed on the formation of Macclesfield Fly Fishers.
With no waters available the Club approached the Earl of Derby to see if they could lease the upper reaches of the River Dane and other associated streams. An initial 5 year lease was agreed and as they say, the rest is history as the Club blossomed. By 1952 a cap on the number of members was agreed at 100 to limit membership and preserve the quality of the fishing on the streams. Also in that year a proposal was put to the Earl of Derby’s estate with a view to purchasing the fishing rights on the then leased streams. This purchase was finalized in 1959 and the capital raised with guaranteed loans from the members of the Club. The Club’s waters at that time comprised Clough Stream, Back Dane, Barley Ford, Watersmeet and Ravensclough, all set in the picturesque Wildboarclough and Dane valleys, with additional fishing on Ingersley pool. Over the years some of these waters have changed hands but the Club still owns fishing rights on the upper reaches of the river Dane and its streams.
By 1956 the Club had added another water for its members in the form of Crag Pool, again leased from the Earl of Derby’s estate. This fishery continued to be leased by the Club up until 2010. More river fishing on the river Dane was leased at Hug Bridge in 1958, and the rights subsequently purchased in 1972 to add to the Club’s other rights.
Over the years many other local waters, both large and small, were either leased or considered for rental. In 1968 the Club tendered the then Macclesfield Water Board for the fishing on the Langley reservoirs. The tender was accepted by the Board and fly fishing commenced on Ridgegate Reservoir in April of that year as a brown trout fishery.
In 1970 trial stocking of the reservoir took place with a limited number of rainbow trout to supplement the stock of brown trout. This proved successful and the Club continues to stock the water with both brown and rainbow trout, being one of the few Clubs in the area to provide quality brown trout fishing. Many of the current members operate a voluntary catch and release policy in order to allow the brown trout the opportunity to grow on, something that Ridgegate Reservoir is well capable of, given the opportunity.
The Club has always remained very active, keen to conserve and improve the quality of its fishing. For several years from 1967 the Club introduced soluble chalk into Clough Stream on an annual basis to improve the pH and quality of the water. In more recent times the Club has worked closely with the Environment Agency and local farmers to improve the habitat on the rivers. Projects have been undertaken with grants from the EA to introduce structure to the river to improve fish holding areas. This has proved highly successful. Also the EA monitors the river on a regular basis to carry out fish and invertebrate surveys.
In 1973 the Club also leased the fishing on Trentabank Reservoir from the Macclesfield Water Board. This fishing continued for several years but was given up in 1977.
Following the infamous “wall of water” flood in Wildboarclough in 1989, the Club took the decision that nature needed time to repair the damage done and fishing was suspended to allow the stream to recover. Fishing recommenced in 1994.
For many years, from the seventies onwards, the Club put names forward for those wishing to fish the England International eliminators with several members representing internationally.
1993 saw the introduction of fly tying tuition through the winter evenings to the Club’s activities. This continues to this day, along with a social fishing competition in the summer, run each year on the Club’s reservoir. Other activities include regular working parties on the reservoir, rivers and streams, as part of the Club’s commitment to general maintenance.
2009 saw another milestone event for the Club. The decision was taken to form the Club into a limited company. This was duly done and met with the approval of the membership.
In 1999 and 2009 the Club celebrated its 50th and 60th anniversaries respectively, demonstrating how far the Club has come since that initial advert in the local paper back in 1949. Here’s looking forward to the centenary celebrations of the Club.