Checking Out The River Douglas Ready For Summer

Small Creek on the River douglas
Small Creek on the River douglas

As the weather was fairly good today I went for a walk along our the local River Douglas, a tributary of the River Ribble that is easily accessible from an anglers point of view at Hesketh Bank. Although the river is very close I hadn’t been along it’s banks for a while as it tends to get very muddy in the winter due to the banks flooding with the higher tides, cows grazing on the salty grass and the sheer volume of water the low lying banks seem capable of holding.

I started my investigation at Douglas Boat Yard where I was hoping to get a look at one a completed Predator 165 – their newest small, purpose built angling boat, but it being sunday everything was locked up. Never mind – I continued along the public footpath that runs along the bank, heading North towards the Ribble.

I know that in the past Thick-Lipped Grey Mullet have been caught in the Douglas and the Ribble using a net from a boat, drifting with the tide and netting the fish as they travel upstream. As far as I’m aware this method of fishing is no longer done hence giving the angler with a rod a chance at catching these fish, if they still travel these waters. The other thing that gives hope (what would anglers be without hope?) is that Mullet have been caught during the past few summers in the River Mersey – which is only just down the coast a few miles.

What I was looking for was a bit vague – even to me.

I was looking for a place to ambush the Mullet as they nose upstream looking for food. Somewhere that I can lay down some bait on a regular basis to draw the fish to a specific area so they get used to food being there. Then when I fish for them, at least I’ll know they’re there – at least that’s the theory. Now the problem is the Douglas has a strong tidal current so any bait put into the river will be washed out almost straight away so I was looking for a creek or eddy – somewhere that would look interesting enough for a fish to investigate and be made more interesting with the additional of some mashed up bread and Mackeral into the area.

River Douglas Creek
River Douglas Creek

Mullet are deceptive and take small baits and hooks as they sift through the mud looking for small worms and shrimp so oily fishy bread fished using light float tackle with a small hook is going to be my weapon of choice.

Walking up the river I managed to find a few such areas as can be seen in the photographs – as well as coming across a few anglers fishing for our old favorite – the Flouder. The guys I spoke to seem to have been having a good afternoons sport with up to half a dozen fish weighing up to 1.5 pounds – all caught on Black Lug.

I can see a few lazy days are going to be had spent on the banks of our local River Douglas. Even if we don’t manage to snare a Mullet, at least the Flouder will be there. Now all we need is some sun to dry the banks out a bit.



  1. alison said:

    heya just wondering how do hyou get to this location thanks

    April 21, 2010
  2. Stu said:

    There are a couple of easy ways to get to the river. The easiest, if all you want to do is walk, is drive down Beconsall Lane in Hesketh Bank and walkthrough the boat yard at the bottom and turn left.

    If you’re fishing it better to try and go down one of the tracks off Guide Road as that will help you get nearer the action, and river, if you have a lot of gear to carry.

    April 21, 2010
  3. Mart said:

    Have been talking to our flyfishing group – “Empty Nets” about fly fishing for Mullet. What do you think ? Worth a try (and a longish walk)

    June 8, 2010
  4. Stu said:

    It’s definately do-able – the problem on the Douglas is finding the damn things – once i’ve figured out where they are i’ll groundbait a swim with bread for a week or so then use a ‘bread’ type fly for them.

    June 8, 2010
  5. Roger Crighton said:

    Hey I have a rod licence, what else licence wise do I need. ie Does any club own the rights?

    September 4, 2011
  6. Stu said:

    Hi Roger

    You don’t need a license to fish the sea and the sea (as far as I’m aware) is anywhere tidal up to the first bridge across a river – i could be wrong but I know to fish the ‘dougie’ where we do a license isn’t needed

    September 4, 2011
  7. Roger Crighton said:

    Thanks Stu, will be having a look at Douglas before long. via Guide road then first track right to the bottom. Roger

    September 4, 2011
  8. Phil said:

    Do any of the mullet show on the surface on the douglas?

    April 8, 2012
  9. Stu said:

    I’ve seen them on the surface in the past Phil but we’re talking 20 years ago, not seen any since moving back into the area although to be honest i’ve not really been looking until this past couple of years, since we started fly fishing.

    April 8, 2012
  10. tommy said:

    I go here quite regularly,and its a great place to fish im an amatuer at best but for flounder you cant go wrong with black lug,i go for the tide and never miss to catch something,good place well out the way and almostt never anyone there,and the place is that big its easy to stay out of each others way if there are others there,is there any updfates to this as id love to kknow what else has been caught here and some tips.

    August 12, 2012
  11. Stu said:

    Hi Tommy

    Funny you should find this post, I was just thinking that I should give my local patch a go sometime soon. You’re spot on with bait, lug is always good although if you can get peeler crab that would be my first choice. As for rigs, any standard 2 hook rig armed with good quality size 2 hooks will do. Try to cast onto the edge of the current rather than the centre of the river as the flounder will swim up the muddy slopes as the water level rises rather than be in the faster flowing centre. Hope this helps a bit,


    August 12, 2012
  12. graeme iddon said:

    Hi Stu
    I live down marsh rd hesketh bank just a short walk to river.This year from may onwards i will be baiting one of the gutters on a regular basis,i have a plant nursery down marsh rd and can go any time of day.I am going to fish with bread and fly daytime and evening tides,i will post results on here for everyone if anyone wants to fish the gutter i am baiting they can contact me i will come with them or direct them where to go .
    Regards Graeme.

    February 10, 2013
  13. Stu said:

    Hi Graeme, that sounds like a great plan and if you work down the road is an excellent idea. We only live up the road a bit but I work in Bolton which sort of messes things up a bit. Let me know if you need a hand, once it’s get s a bit warmer though… :)


    February 21, 2013
  14. danny said:

    hi peeps anyone fancy fishing hesketh bank give me a ring on 07541 735818 as i know where the mullet are every year and also had bass round that area and occasional sea trout and salmon. Thanks.

    January 22, 2015
  15. danny said:

    will let you all know when the weather gets warmer and im up there. Fly fishing is ace round there when you find the fish. I’ve made some really good lures for fly fishing and they work every time.

    January 22, 2015

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