Mitchell’s House Reservoir, near Rochdale, is open for game; Anglezarke, near Chorley, for both game and coarse; and the remaining waters – Clough Bottom (Burnley), Cowpe (Rawtenstall) and Spring Mill (Rochdale) for coarse fishing initially.

Fishing is the single most popular sport in the UK – statistics show that twice as many people fish as watch football – and United Utilities anticipates keen interest in the newly-opened reservoirs from local angling clubs.

Stephen Watson from United Utilities’ Estate Management team said: “We are delighted to offer these new facilities to local angling clubs. Each of the reservoirs already offers a good head of fish and plenty of scope for expansion of the stock.

“There is nothing like a well-run fishing club, on a well-kept reservoir, for promoting both the sport and a good community atmosphere.”

United Utilities lets fishing rights at more than 70 reservoirs throughout the North West.

Stephen added: “We’re one of the largest landowners in the North West, and letting our reservoirs for fishing is in line with our policy of maintaining open access to the public on our estates.

“We have many successful, long-term associations with angling clubs on our reservoirs and we look forward to developing more of the same.”

One such successful relationship is that with Roy Green, of Dream Angling Tackle & Bait Centre in Standish. Roy has rented the fishing rights to Worthington Lakes, near Standish, for the last year, and is very happy with the facility and the response from local enthusiasts.

Roy said: “It’s been a pleasure working with United Utilities to bring good fishing back to Worthington Lakes. It’s an attractive location that is becoming very popular with local anglers.

“We’re going from strength to strength, and day tickets are always available for newcomers.”

Angling clubs interested in acquiring fishing rights to any of the newly opened reservoirs should contact the United Utilities Estate Management Team before the end of March on (Tel) 01204 664328.