Macclesfield Flyfishers Club

M​acclesfield Flyfis​hers Club

Fishing for Brown & Rainbow Trout on Ridgegate Reservoir

Fishing for wild Brown Trout on 8 miles of the River Dane & Clough Brook

Macclesfield Flyfishers Club

Fishing for Brown & Rainbow trout on Ridgegate Reservoir

Fishing for wild Brown trout on 8 miles of the River Dane & Clough Brook

Macclesfield Flyfishers Club (MFFC) is a small and friendly club run by enthusiastic anglers wanting to promote quality fly fishing to like minded folk.

The Club is proud to cater for both the stillwater and river fly fisher, providing a wide variety of fly fishing waters.

The Club offers fishing for quality Brown & Rainbow trout on the picturesque 30 acre Ridgegate reservoir, situated in Macclesfield Forest on the south western edge of the Peak District National Park. 

In addition, the Club has superb wild Brown trout fishing on approximately 8 miles of the upper River Dane along the Cheshire-Staffordshire border and a large portion of one of its tributaries, Clough Brook.

Memberships, Trial Memberships and Day Tickets are available. Please scroll down to read more.

Macclesfield Flyfishers’ Club (MFFC) is a small and friendly club run by enthusiastic anglers wanting to promote quality fly fishing to like minded folk.

The Club is proud to cater for both the stillwater and river fly fisher, providing a wide variety of fly fishing waters.

The Club offers fishing for quality Brown & Rainbow trout on the picturesque 30 acre Ridgegate reservoir, situated in Macclesfield Forest on the south western edge of the Peak District National Park. 

In addition, the Club has superb wild Brown trout fishing on approximately 8 miles of the upper River Dane along the Cheshire-Staffordshire border and a large portion of one of its tributaries, Clough Brook.

Memberships, Trial Memberships and Day Tickets are available. Scroll down to read more.

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Latest News

Hug Bridge - Parking & Access
Updated 9th June 2021

There has been a change of ownership of the land on the south side of the river at Hug Bridge. The new owner is Staffordshire Wildlife Trust. A new grazing tenant is also in place. As a result, parking in the field at Hug Bridge is currently unavailable. 

Mike & Diana have visited Mrs Goodfellow at Hug Bridge Farm, and negotiated 2 further car parking spaces. There are now 4 parking spaces in the farm-yard. 

Please refer to the Fishing Maps section which contains a revised map of the Hug Bridge fishing, and also a pdf file showing the position of the 4 parking places in the farm-yard, and photos of the walking route from the farmyard to the river.

The new grazing tenant has fenced the Red Pool with barbed wire making access difficult. The committee are in touch with Staffs Wildlife Trust and are working towards a solution. 

Covid Latest

Fishing is allowed, but with restrictions.  Please refer to the Government & Angling Trust websites for the latest rules.

Click here for latest Angling Trust guidance

Disinfectant Hand Gel should be added to your fishing kit.

The Fishing Hut at Ridgegate should not be used and the minimum separation whilst fishing is 15 metres.

Please take care and stay safe.

2021 Club Competition
Updated 9th June 2021

The Annual Club competition on Ridgegate was held on Monday 7th June 2021. 

The competition was won by our Treasurer Mike Fennell with a rainbow of  2lb 5oz. Scott Barber was runner-up with a rainbow of 2lb 1oz.

Please use the link below to see photos from the competition, and a list of previous winners.

Photos and previous winners

Increased Stocking at Ridgegate 
Updated 9th June 2021

Due to this years increase in membership numbers, the committee have taken the decision to increase the number of fish stocked into Ridgegate and to include some larger fish than usual.

Click here to view photos of the June 2021 stocking

Ridgegate West Dam
Modified 22nd April 2021

Recently, a Club member was fishing from the West Dam at Ridgegate, and was approached by a person (identity unknown), and told that fishing was not allowed from the West Dam. 

This is incorrect. For clarification, fishing is allowed from the West Dam, but only from the water's edge. Anglers are not allowed to cast / fish from the top of the West Dam wall.

Fishing is prohibited from the South Dam.

Please refer to the Club Rules (see below) for full details of the rules pertaining to Ridgegate.

2021 AGM  Modified 22nd April 2021

Due to the COVID pandemic the Club's 2021 AGM was held as a postal/email event.

Please visit the Members Only Area to view the various AGM documents and also the latest Club Newsletter (April 2021).

Latest Weather Forecast

XC Weather Forecast

Met Office Forecast

Magazine Articles

Various articles featuring the Club have been published in fishing magazines and local newspapers. 

Click on the links below to view the various articles.

Macclesfield Express - Feb 2020 

Flyfishing & Flytying - Feb 2018 - Club of the Month

Macclesfield Express - Feb 2018

Total Flyfisher - June 2017 - Mayfly Utopia

Members Only Area

Club Newsletters and other useful information and documents are available via the password protected Members Only Area.  To access the area you must enter a valid username and password. 

If you get the username or password wrong 5 times consecutively, the web hosting software  will lock you out of the whole Macclesfield Flyfishers website, and it may take some time to re-instate you. 

Click the link below to access the area.

Members Only Area

Join Us & Trial Membership

Join Us

A limited number of membership vacancies are available.
The annual membership fee is £225. 
Due to the covid pandemic, the Club is waiving the joining fee for 2021 (normally £100).

Junior membership (aged 12 - 17) is £50 with no joining fee.  Juniors must be accompanied at all times.

To enquire about membership, please send us a message using our Contact Form  

Trial Membership

The Club is offering prospective members a 2 month trial membership at a cost of £75. 

Applicants can choose to have their trial membership run from either 1st May to 30th June, or 1st June to 31st July. 

The trial memberships allow access to all Club Waters. 

Applicants can only participate in one trial period.

To enquire, please print the application form and post it with photos etc. to the address on the form.    

Click here to view and print the trial membership application form

Day Tickets, Contacts & Rules

Day Tickets

3 day tickets are available each day for Ridgegate (£25), and 3 tickets are available each day for the Hug Bridge stretch of the River Dane (£15). 

There is a 2 fish limit at Ridgegate, and catch and release on the river. Fishing is from dawn until one hour after sunset.

All day ticket purchasers must show their EA licence.

Junior (aged 12 - 17) tickets are available at half the adult price. Juniors must be accompanied.

To enquire, please send us a message using our  Contact Form

Contact the Club

For all Membership, Day Ticket and General enquiries, please send us a message using  our Contact Form 

Club Rules

To read or print the latest Club rules please use the link below: 

 Club Rules

Something ​wrong?

If you find something wrong with the website, or have any difficulty navigating around it, or would like to provide feedback or suggestions, please use  our Site Feedback Form 

Ridgegate Reservoir

The Club’s main water is Ridgegate reservoir, a 30 acre reservoir, leased from United Utilities, situated on the south west edge of the Peak District National Park in Macclesfield Forest. 

The reservoir is regularly stocked with high quality Rainbow and Brown trout, and fishing is allowed all year round.

There is easy access and convenient parking on the road-side adjacent to the reservoir, and a fishing hut is available for use by members.

The fishery is open from dawn until one hour after sunset (no night fishing), seven days per week.

Day tickets are available for this water all year round.

Ridgegate Fly Hatches

This water has prolific fly hatches throughout the season with tremendous hatches of mayfly (Ephemera vulgata) f​rom late May through to mid-July in most years. 

This species hatch is supplemented with good hatches of buzzers, lake olives, damsel flies, caenis and sedges through the season along with falls of terrestrials such as hawthorn fly and crane fly (daddy-long-legs) at other times of the season.

Ridgegate Photos

Ridgegate Photos          

Stocking the Reservoir

River Dane & Clough Brook

The Club's fishing on the River Dane and Clough Brook is for wild brown trout. 

There is no stocking, and all fish must be returned.  Barbless or de-barbed hooks must be used.

Access and parking is by arrangement with local farmers. 

The fishing ranges from fairly easy and relaxing to quite  challenging, with lengthy walks required on some stretches for the more adventurous angler all the way up the Back Dane to Three Shires Head.
See details of the various beats below.

Hug Bridge Beat

The Club’s lower fishery on the River Dane is where the A523 Macclesfield – Leek road crosses the River Dane. 

The Club's fishing is upstream of the road bridge for approximately ¾ mile (double bank). 

Day tickets are available on this beat during the trout season (15th March until 30th September).

Bartomley Bottoms Beat

The Club has approximately 3/4 mile of double bank fishing just upstream of Danebridge. 

Access is via a private farm track, and there is parking for 2 cars.

Day tickets are not available for this beat.

Back Dane Beat

The Club has about 4 miles of fishing on the River Dane from Three Shires Head downstream to Watersmeet (where Clough Brook meets the Dane).

The fishing is continuous apart from a short stretch around Gradbach Mill, and is predominantly double bank. 

This beat also includes approximately 600 metres of the left bank fishing (looking downstream) on Clough Brook immediately above Watersmeet.

The most appropriate parking for this beat is at the public car park at Gradbach, which is approximately in the middle of the beat.

Day tickets are not available for this beat.

Clough Brook

The Club’s Clough Brook fishing is all located in Wildboarclough valley. The fishing starts at Owlers Bridge, and runs upstream for the full length of the valley, a distance of approx. 3.5 miles. 

The fishing is all double bank.

Parking is available along the whole of this length in the various lay-bys along the road.

Day tickets are not available for this beat.

River Photos

River Photos          

Clough Brook                  

Hug Bridge - Red Pool

Bartomley Bottoms

Back Dan​e - Fish On!

3lb+ Trout from Back Dane at Watersmeet

Bartomley Bottoms

Fishing Maps

Use the links below to view/print copies of the Club's fishing maps.

Note: To enable easy printing of the maps, they are loaded as .pdf files, and will open in separate tabs.

Ridgegate Reservoir

Dane - Hug Bridge

Updated 7th May 2021

Hug Bridge Parking & Access

Updated 8th June 2021

Dane - Bartomley Bottoms Back Dane - Upper Back Dane - Lower Clough Brook - Upper Clough Brook - Lower

Club History

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 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 Brook, 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 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.  

In 1973 the Club also leased the fishing on Trentabank Reservoir from the Macclesfield Water Board. This fishing continued for a few years but was given up in 1977. 

The Club has always remained very active, and keen to conserve and improve the quality of its fishing. For several years from 1967 the Club introduced soluble chalk into Clough Brook 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.

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 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, 2009 and 2019 the Club celebrated its 50th, 60th and 70th anniversaries, 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. 


Algal blooms in inland waters

Algae occur naturally in inland waters such as rivers, streams and  lakes. When conditions are ideal for growth, an algal bloom can occur.  During a bloom, the water becomes less clear and may look green,  blue-green or greenish-brown. Scums can form during calm weather when  several bloom forming species rise to the surface. This can look like  paint, mousse or small clumps.

Cyanobacteria or blue-green algae, a type of blooming algae, can  produce toxins. These toxins can kill wild animals, livestock and pets.  They can also harm people, producing rashes after skin contact and  illnesses if swallowed.

Algal blooms block sunlight from reaching other plants in the water.  They also use up oxygen in the water at night which can suffocate fish  and other creatures. Oxygen is also used up when the bloom decays.

Click here to view the Government's advice on blue-green algae 

Preventing the spread of Freshwater Invasive Non-Native Species

Visit the Non Native Species website (see above) for more information.

Cumbrian Freshwater Invasive Non-Native Species Initiative

The Initiative is a collaborative project currently funded by the Environment Agency, Natural England and DEFRA.
It is a pilot for a county-wide, multi-catchment project for freshwater and riparian invasive non-native species (INNS). The Initiative’s vision is to achieve a sustainable county-wide management framework that will prevent the introduction of, or detect, control and/or eradicate specified INNS throughout Cumbria. The CFINNS Initiative is aiming to promote awareness and management of Freshwater INNS issues from promoting biosecurity to training volunteers and co-ordinating removal of certain species.

The freshwater resources of Cumbria – its many tarns, lakes, rivers and becks – are of great ecological and economic significance. INNS have the potential to cause substantial damage to these fragile ecosystems so it is vital that we all take responsibility for protecting them.

To find out more, visit the website at

Useful Links

Environment Agency

View the EA rod licence and ​fishing rules.

Angling Trust

The representative body for all anglers in England.

Fish Legal

Protecting waters from pollution and other environmental damage.

Bakewell Fly Fishing Shop

Specialising in products for the trout angler.

Algal Blooms - GOV.UK & EA

Algal Blooms: Advice for the public from the Government & EA.

XC Weather - Macclesfield

Latest weather forecast for Macclesfield. 

Met Office - Macclesfield

Latest weather forecast for Macclesfield.