From little Acorns......


On the 20th November 1880, members of the Blackburn Anglers' Protection Society met at the Black Swan*, Pump Street, Blackburn, to enjoy a dinner in celebration of the 15th anniversary of the founding of the Society. This was followed by a business meeting. ”When the cloth had been removed”, Mr Ainsworth took the chair. (Report in Blackburn Standard, 20th November 1880)

There are further  records of meetings in the 1890's. At one such meeting, a set of rules were drawn up which included, "Drunkenness and bad language to be punishable offences."!!

It is almost certain that this Society later became Blackburn and District Anglers, and more recently, Bowland Game-Fishing Association - putting the origins of BGFA back to 1865.

Within Blackburn and District Anglers, there were two sections - a 'mother branch' and a 'canal branch' - the former focusing largely on game fishing, the latter on coarse. Unfortunately, there were too many clashes of interest and the two groups separated each forming its own Association.

In the 1980's, Blackburn and District Anglers became Bowland Game-Fishing Association, the name having been suggested by one of the members and the club now offers quality fly-fishing for  brown and rainbow trout, grayling, salmon and sea trout.  

Over the years, the BGFA has developed to become one of the best game-fishing association in the North West of England.  Few clubs can offer such a wide range of fishing. By any criteria BGFA offers excellent value for a modest subscription.

The photograph is of one of our river manager, Derek Sandham, fishing the Association's water on what Hugh Falkus described as "the queen of all fly-fishing rivers", the Cumbrian Derwent.

BGFA is a non-profit making organisation; all surpluses are used for the benefit of the members. Over the last thirty years, the Association has concentrated its attention on purchasing rather than renting fishing rights. Members have been very supportive and as a consequence the Association now owns over 70% of its river fishing including some excellent beats on the Ribble ,Hodder, Lune and the Cumbrian Derwent

The angling associations in the area work closely together. BGFA has benefited from co-operation with its neighbouring clubs (in particular Ribblesdale and Whitewell), thereby making possible  access to some very high quality water.

In 2006 an agreement was reached with Whitewell Fishing Association to purchase the Isel beat om the river Derwent.A companany was set up named Isel Fishings Ltd with BGFA holding a two thirds share and Whitewell the remaining third: it has been a very successful co-operative venture
Opposite photo of the good old days  with David Nicholson`s (Long Close Farm) grandfather and a fine fish from Brockhole


    The Ribble at Long Preston which for many years was the heart of Blackburn and District Association (now BGFA) l
                    Paythorne- purchased 1984                                                       Albert Sanderson,Treasurer 1961-1986

*The Black Swans was built byJames Cunningham`s Snig Brook brewery. Whilst he was in public office as a local politician, he promised the town of Blackburn two black swans for Corporation park lake. Black swans were very rare and hard to find,so it became a bit of a joke in the town when they weren`t delivered. Folks in the town began to assign the words "black swans" to any undelivered promise. But Mr Cunningham was true to his word and eventually got a pair and they lived happily on the lake for many years, as did their offspring, By later naming one of his pubs the Black Swans, he had the last laugh!!