Zander (Stizostedion Lucioperca)

Identification.

Zander (Stizostedion Lucioperca)

A long slender fish with a comparatively large pointed head. The body and most of the head are covered with scales. Two dorsal fins, the first contains 13-15 strong, long spines and is seperate from the second which has 2 spines and 19-24 branched rays. Both fins are long based and high. The head is pointed, the eyes large mouth very large, containing many small sharp teeth.

Zander coloration, greeny brown on the back becoming lighter on the sides and white ventrally. Dorsal fin and tail spotted.

Habitat.

Most abundant in lowland rivers and some large still waters, mainly in turbid waters. It lives in mid water, most active in twilight conditions.

Food.

When young, zander eat insect larvea and young fish, later in life becomes entirely fish eating.

Breeding.

Zander spawn in April-June over sandy or stoney bottom and amongst roots of aquatic plants.

Statistics.

Zander can be found throughout the UK in rivers and still waters. The current UK zander record is 19lb 5oz's.

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Wels Catfish (Silurus Glanis)

Identification.

Wels Catfish (Silurus Glanis)

Catfish - long, slender bodied fish with a very broad head and narrow tapering tail. Head moderately large with three pairs of barbels, 2 on the lower side of the head and the third rising from the upper lip, this pair being very long. Catfish have tiny dorsal fin, no adipose fin on the back, anal fin very long based and low. Body scaleless.

Catfish coloration, dull brown or green on the back mottled with cream and yellow ventrally.

Habitat.

Catfish live in slow flowing lowland rivers and still waters such as lagoons, oxbow lakes and marshes in flood plains. Largely nocturnal in activity, it usually spends daylight hours hidden amongst tree roots, weed beds etc.

Food.

Catfish will eat bottom living fish, and also ducklings, water voles and amphibians, young fish eat insect larvae.

Breeding.

Catfish spawn mid May to mid July, eggs laid in a shallow depression made by the male. Male guards the pile of eggs until they hatch.

Statistics.

Catfish can be found in selected still waters throughout the UK. The current UK record is 62lb.

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Tench (Tinca Tinca)

Identification.

Tench (Tinca Tinca)

Tench, A thickset, heavy bodied fish, which is distinct from all other members of its family. Body rounded, tail deep. The head is relatively large, the mouth terminal with a single barbel at each corner, the eyes are small and reddish. Fins all rounded, body scales tiny and deeply embedded.

Tench coloration, deep greeny brown above with bronzy sides and a yellowish tinge to the belly.

Habitat.

Tench are found mainly in lakes and pools, and sometimes lower reaches of rivers. It can live in heavily silted, densely weeded areas, where few other fish could survive. Very tolerant of high temperatures and low oxygen levels.

Food.

Mainly a bottom feeder eating crustaceans, aquatic insects, molluscs and a considerable amount of plant material.

Breeding.

Spawns in late spring and early summer, laying its eggs amongst vegetation. The eggs are greenish in colour and hatch in 6-8 days.

Statistics.

Found in many still waters in the UK. The current UK tench record is 15lb 3oz.

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Silver Bream (Blicca Bjoerkna)

Identification.

Silver Bream (Blicca Bjoerkna)

Silver Bream are moderately deep bodied with a high back and flattened from side to side. The head is small, scaleless, and the eye is moderately large. Dorsal fin short based and high, anal fin long based with 21-23 branched rays. Body scales moderately large, 44-48 in the lateral line.

Silver Bream coloration, light olive brown on the back, sides brilliant silver. Fins are dusky except for the pectoral and pelvic fins which are orange with grey tips.

Habitat.

Silver Bream are most abundant in large, slow flowing rivers and their flood plains, often found in resevoirs and flooded gravel pits.

Food.

Feeds in mid water on planktonic crustaceans, and on insect larvae, on vegetation, and also on the bottom on a variety of invertabrates.

Breeding.

Spawns amongst plants in summer in small schools. The yellowish eggs stick to the plant leaves.

Statistics.

Can be found in many stillwaters and some rivers. The current UK silver bream record is 15oz's.

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Salmon (Salmo Salar)

Identification.

Salmon (Salmo Salar)

Adipose fin present. Caudal penduncle (tail fin stalk) narrow, the tail fin rays stand out from the outline above and below, tail fin slightly forked. Upper jaw bone of salmon extends to the level of the rear of the eye, not beyond.

Salmon coloration, large fish, returning from sea and smolts are silvery, white beneath, and have small x shaped spots on the sides. Young fish are dark above with a series of 8-11 dark, rounded marks on the sides with a single orange spot between these parr marks.

Habitat.

Salmon parr in shallow water and small streams towards the head waters of rivers. Later they spread out downstream. Between 1-3 years of age they become silvery smolts, move downstream, and eventually out to sea, returning to the river in 1-3 years.

Food.

Salmon parr eat aquatic insects, crustaceans, and a substantial amount of insects and small animals that drop into the water. In the sea food is mostly crustaceans (shrimps etc)

Breeding.

Spawning takes place upstream in rivers in a nest (redd) made by the female in gravel in November-December. The eggs are buried in the gravel, hatching in early spring.

Statistics.

Salmon can be found in most of the cleaner rivers. The current UK salmon record is 64lb.

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Rudd (Scardinus Erythrophthalmus)

Identification.

Rudd (Scardinus Erythrophthalmus)

Rudd are deep bodied with a rather small head. Head scaleless, the mouth steeply angled to open on the upper edge of the snout. Dorsal fin short based, rather high, its origin vertically behind the level of the base of of the pelvic fins. Anal fin with 10-11 branched rays. The scales across the belly of rudd form a sharp keel.

Rudd coloration, deep greeny brown on the back, sides bronze yellow, ventrally creamy. All the fins are reddish, the pelvic and anal fins are blood red. Iris of the eye golden with a red fleck above it.

Habitat.

Rudd lives in oxbows and backwaters of large lowland rivers, also in lakes. Has been widely introduced to less typical waters. Thrives in heavily weeded waters and survives in areas where dissolved oxygen is low.

Food.

Young rudd feed on insect larvae, crustaceans and algae, larger specimens feed heavily on plant matter but will also eat insects.

Breeding.

Spawns April to June amongst dense vegetation and at the edges of reed beds. The eggs stick to the plants and hatch in 8-15 days.

Statistics.

Can be found throughout the UK, but may prove to be a challenge to catch. The current UK rudd record is 4lb 10oz.

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Roach (Rutilus Rutilus)

Identification.

Roach (Rutilus Rutilus)

Roach are moderately deep bodied with a small head, young fish are more slender. Head scaleless, body with large scales, 42-45 in the lateral line. Dorsal and anal fins both short based, anal fin with 9-11 branched rays. The dorsal fin of the roach lies vertically above the base of the pelvic fins.

Roach coloration, distinctive, iris of the eye red, pelvic and anal fins orange to bright red, pectoral fins reddish. Dorsal and tail fins dusky. Back blue greeny brown, sides intensely silver.

Habitat.

Lowland lakes and rivers, especially slow flowing rivers. Particularly common where there is good weed growth.

Food.

Eats aquatic insect larvae, insects, crustaceans, snails and a lot of plant matter. Young roach will eat small crustaceans such as water fleas.

Breeding.

Roach spawn April-June, shedding its yellowish eggs over plants, algae and even tree roots. The eggs stick to the vegitation and hatch in 9-12 days.

Statistics.

Another species which can be found throughout the UK. The current UK roach record is 4lb 3oz.

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Rainbow Trout (Oncorhynchus Mykiss)

Identification.

Rainbow Trout (Oncorhynchus Mykiss)

Adipose fin present. Caudal penduncle deep and flat sided, tail fin slightly forked. Scales very small.

Rainbow trout coloration distinctive, usually a pinkish rainbow stripe along sides, dense black spots on back and upper sides, dorsal, adipose and caudal fins.

Habitat.

A North American fish widely introduced to Europe. The Rainbow Trout mostly occurs in artificial still waters, reservoirs, lakes and in some rivers. Lives in similar places to brown trout but can tolerate higher temperature and less clean water.

Food.

Insects (both aquatic and aerial), crustaceans and fish, planktonic crustaceans are important food in still waters.

Breeding.

Rainbow Trout are mostly raised in hatcheries and then released. A few breeding populations are known. In these hatcheries spawning takes place in early winter in reeds dug by the female.

Statistics.

They are plentiful in many commercial fisheries throughout the UK. The current UK Rainbow Trout record is 24lb 1oz.

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Pike (Esox Lucius)

Identification.

Pike (Esox Lucius)

The Pike has a ong, torpedo shaped body with dorsal and anal fins close to the tail fin. Head pointed from side view, snout flat. The lower jaws with several massive fangs, hundreds of small sharp teeth on palate.

Pike coloration, greenish brown above, the sides greenish, flecked with golden lines and speckles on sides, sometimes forming bars. The colour pattern is specific to the individual.

Habitat.

Pike inhabit lakes and slow flowing rivers or canals. Young fish often lie close to the surface amongst plants, adults lurk in deep water under cover, typically lie hidden in vegetation.

Food.

Juveniles eat invertabrates, young fish, tadpoles, etc, adults eat fish, frogs, water voles, and the largest will eat ducklings and other water birds occasionally.

Breeding.

Pike spawn in the early spring. Often 2-3 males accompany the much larger female. The eggs are shed over water plants. They will mature in 2-3 years.

Statistics.

Pikle are found in may waters throughout the UK. The current UK pike record is 46lb 13oz.

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Perch (Perca Fluviatilis)

Identification.

Perch (Perca Fluviatilis)

The shape of the body varies, depending on nutrition, mostly slender bodied with a short head, rounded, blunt snout. Perch have wo dorsal fins, the first with 13-15 long spines, joined at the base to the second dorsal. Anal fin is short based with 2 sharp spines at the front. Pelvic fins are set close together, each with a spine in it. Teeth in the jaws are numerous, but small, no large canines.

Perch colouration, back greeny-brown becoming green on the sides and creamy on the belly. A series of dark vertical bars run along the sides and an intense dark spot at the end of the spiny dorsal fin, ventral fins are deep orange.

Habitat.

Lives mainly in lowland lakes and slow-flowing rivers, can be found in all types of still water, in which it will survive but not thrive. When young, they form small schools which gather under bridges or over hanging trees or bushes, older fish tend to be more solitary.

Food.

Young Perch eat large numbers of planktonic crustaceans, later feeding on aquatic insect larvae. Older fish will feed on small fish (including Perch) but will also feed on insects.

Breeding.

Perch spawn April to May in shallow water. Their eggs are shed in long strands which are woven around plants and tree roots.

Statistics.

The average size that many people will catch will be up to about 3/4 lb, but for those who persue better fish 3lb and over is not impossible. The current UK record Perch is 5lb 9oz (2002).

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Minnow (Phoxinus Phoxinus)

Identification.

Minnow (Phoxinus Phoxinus)

The minnow is a small fish with a rounded body and rounded, blunt snouted head. The dorsal and anal fins are short based with rounded outlines. Body covered with very small scales, lateral line curved downwards following the belly outline, but incomplete with gaps in its course towards the tail.

Minnow coloration, back and upper sides olive brown, ventrally creamy white. A series of dusky blotches along the sides, the darkest nearest the tail. Breeding males have red bellies and black throats.

Habitat.

Small streams, often high up in the headwaters and occasionally in high altitude lakes. Most common in regions where the temperature is low and the oxygen levels high, but the minnow is found in small numbers in large rivers close to shallow water.

Food.

Eats a wide range of small crustaceans, insects including those that fall into the water from the backside vegetation, algae and water plants.

Breeding.

Minnows breed in spring (April June) on gravel shallows often below a riffle, the eggs are shed amongst the stones.

Statistics.

Minnows are widespread throughout the UK, can be a nuisance during the summer months. The Current minnow UK record is 13.5 drams.

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Gudgeon (Gobio Gobio)

Identification.

Gudgeon (Gobio Gobio)

A slender bodied fish with a curved back, gudgeon have a flattened belly and rather large head. Body round in cross section, compressed towards the tail. Mouth on the ventral srface of the head with a barbel at each corner, lips thick. Body with rater large scales 38-44 in lateral line, head scaleless. Both dorsal and anal fins are short on gudgeon.

Gudgeon coloration greeny brown on the back, yellowish on the sides with a series of large dusky patches. Cream ventrally. Dorsal, tail and anal fins heavily spotted.

Habitat.

A bottom living fish found in rivers and lakes, it prefers slow flowing areas, but may be found upstream in moderate currents. In lakes and still waters it is most abundant were there are gravel bottoms.

Food.

Gudgeon feed on ottom living insect larvae, crustaceans and molluscs. In still waters the young fish eat planktonic organisms.

Breeding.

Sexual maturity is reached in the second to third year. Spawning takes place in the early summer in shallow water at night, usually over sandy gravel.

Statistics.

Can be found throughout the UK. Can also be caught in large numbers. The Current UK gudgeon record is 5oz.

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Grayling (Thymallus Thymallus)

Identification.

Grayling (Thymallus Thymallus)

Adipose fin present. Body flat sided and moderately deep, but with a small head and pointed snout. Dorsal fin high (especially males) and many rayed 17-24 rays. Scales moderately large on Grayling.

Grayling coloration on the back steel blue to greeny brown, sides silvery but with faint violet stripes. Dorsal fin with rows of dusky spots.

Habitat.

Grayling live in clean, cool, well oxygenated rivers, can also be found in some natural lakes, often in mountainous regions.

Food.

Bottom living insect larvae, crustaceans and even molluscs. Grayling aslo eat insects and other animals that fall into the water from the bankside or over hanging trees.

Breeding.

Spawns in spring on gravelly shallows. The coloration of the male grayling is brighter at spawning time and there is some display, the males dorsal is wrapped over females back.

Statistics.

Can be found through out the UK, mainly in rivers. The current UK grayling record is 4lb 3oz.

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Eel (Anguilla Anguilla)

Identification.

Eel (Anguilla Anguilla)

Distintive eel shape but with origin of dorsal fin about a third of the way down the body. Pectoral fin rounded. Lower jaw is longer than the upper, and protrudes beyond it, eye small, a small gill slit in front of pectoral fin.

Eel coloration variable, usually brownish on the back, yellowish on the sides. In maturing (silver) eels the back becomes black and the belly silvery, the eye also increases in size.

Habitat.

Eels inhabit fresh water lakes and rivers, usually buried in mud or lying close to the banks or in tree roots, emerging in the half light. Many eels live in the lower estuaries of rivers and in costal waters on the shore. The young (elvers) are seen in estuaries, migrating upstream.

Food.

Eels and elvers eat bottom living invertabrates (crusteaceans, worms, molluscs and insect larvae), dead fish and other carrion.

Breeding.

Eels migrate to mid Atlantic to spawn. The post larvae migrate across the Atlantic taking about 3 years to reach the coast and 4 years to reach the Mediterranean.

Statistics.

Can be caught in various sizes from very small (boot laces) to specimens of 5lb and over. The current UK Eel record is 11lb 2oz.

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Dace (Leuciscus leuciscus)

Identification.

Dace (Leuciscus leuciscus)

Dace are slim bodied with a relatively small head and mouth. The body is fully scaled, the lateral line curving downwards following the outline of the belly, with 48-51 pored scales. The origin of the dorsal fin is directly above the pelvics. Anal fin short based, with 8-9 branched rays, outline concave.

Dace coloration, greenish-olive on the back, the sides conspicuously silvery, whitish below. Dorsal and tail fins greyish, pectoral, pelvic and anal fins yellow to pale orange. Iris of the eye yellowish.

Habitat.

Typically found in middle reaches of rivers and upstream brooks. Dace are usually found in moderately clean running water, but, being adaptable, can be found in slow flowing lowland rivers.

Food.

Dace eat insects, both flying and in their larval aquatic stages, takes large numbers of small arthropods which fall into the water from bankside trees and vegitation.

Breeding.

Spawns early in the spring, usually in shallow water. The eggs are small, pale orange and drop between the stones in the gravel. They take up to 25 days to hatch.

Statistics.

The average size is about 6-8 oz, can be caught in large numbers. The current UK dace record is 1lb 4oz.

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Chub (Leuciscus cephalus)

Identification.

Chub (Leuciscus cephalus)

Chub have a large head, a large mouth with almost rubberlike lips, a black/silver to greenish back, silvery sides, white belly, and fins tinged with yellowish red. Size and length varies depending on water. although the chub may look small they can be strong fighters when hooked by an angler. Chub can also be recognized by the dark net-like pattern around the scales.

Habitat.

Predominantly a river fish, the chub is found where currents flow fast over gravel or stony beds. It is a fish of clean, unpolluted waters where both oxygen and food exist in plenty.

Food.

Small fish, insects, small crayfish and natural insects falling from over hanging vegetation. Beetles, moths, grubs, seeds and small fruit are also taken by chub.

Breeding.

Chub spawn in the spring during May and June.

Statistics.

The British record was broken in May 2007 when Steve White caught a 9lb 3oz Chub.

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Common Carp (Cyprinus carpio)

Identification.

Common Carp (Cyprinus carpio)

Carp have scaleless heads and fully scaled bodies. Dorsal fin long based, free edge concave, a stout spine (with serrated rear edges as first ray) Mouth toothless but with 2 barbels at each side, second one longer.

Carp coloration variable, wild fish usually greenish brown on back, yellowish on belly.

Habitat.

Carp inhabit large lakes and slow flowing rivers in lowland areas. The native carp of eastern and central Europe are slender bodied compared with the fat, artificially reared specimens.

Food.

Vegetation and bottom living insect larvae, snails, crustaceans and worms.

Breeding.

Late spring in shallow, sun warmed areas over dense vegetation. Carp eggs and newly hatched young are attached to the plants.

Statistics.

Carp can be found in most still waters and some rivers. The current UK record is 64lb 14oz (all carp) .

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Bream (Abramis Brama)

Identification.

Bream (Abramis Brama)

Bream are deep bodied with flat sides and high back, young specimens are more slender. Head is scaleless, relatively small, the eyes small and the mouth can extend ventrally to form a tube.

Body scales small, 51-60 in the lateral line. Anal fin long bases with 24-30 branched rays, its outline is strongly concave. Bream coloration, dark brown or greyish on the back, sides golden brown, young fish are silvery sided. Fins greyish brown, ventrally tinted with red.

Habitat.

Bream inhabit deep slow moving rivers, backwaters and in flood plain lakes, reservoirs and flooded gravel pits. It lives close to the bottom in schools. At night bream tend to move into shallow water to feed.

Food.

Strongly dependant on bottom living insect larvae, worms, molluscs and crustaceans. The down turned tubular mouth of Bream is ideal for feeding on the lake bed.

Breeding.

Bream spawn in late spring and early summer amongst dense plant growth, mostly at night, and in shallow water. Yellowish eggs stick to the weeds.

Statistics.

Fish size will vary depending on the location. The current UK Bream record is 18lb 8oz.

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Bleak (Alburnus alburnas)

Identification.

Bleak (Alburnus alburnas)

Bleak are slim bodied and slender. Head scaleless, pointed, with an oblique mouth opening on the upper surface of the head. Eyes relatively large, scales large, very thin and fragile, easily dislodged, 48-55 in the lateral line.

The anal fin pf Bleak is long based, concave at the edge, with 16-20 branched rays. Coloration, back and upper sides blue-green, lower sides and belly brilliant silver. The fins are greyish, white ventrally.

Habitat.

Bleak live mainly in slow flowing mainland rivers, but penetrates well upstream to the middle reaches of rivers. Survives well in turbid and poorly oxygenated water but is then seen mostly on the surface.

Food.

Bleak eat animal plankton, especially small crustaceans, flying insects when they settle on the water. It is well equipped to feed at the surface of the water.

Breeding.

Bleak spawn in May or June in shallow water over stones or shallow weed beds.

Statistics.

Although bleak are very small, they can be caught in large numbers. The current UK record is 4oz 9drams.

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The Barbel (Barbus barbus)

Identification.

The Barbel (Barbus barbus)

The Barbel (Barbus barbus) Barbel have elongated bodies, almost round in cross section but flat bellied. Head pointed and scale less, eyes rather small, set high on the sides of the head, lips thick with two pairs of fleshy barbels. Dorsal fin high but short based, strong spine at front of fin, anal fin short based and rounded. Body covered with fairly small scales firmly embedded in skin, 55-65 scales in the lateral line. Barbel coloration, a warm greeny-brown on the back, golden yellow on the sides and ventrally, fins dark, except pectoral, pelvic and anal fins which are yellowish orange.

Habitat.

A bottom living fish in the middle reaches of lowland rivers. Particularly common in areas where the river bed is gravely and the current is moderate, often in weir pools. Barbel are typically most active at night, usually in schools.

Food.

Bottom living invertebrates, particularly crustaceans, insect larvae and molluscs.

Breeding.

Barbel spawn in late spring following an upstream migration to clean gravel beds. The yellowish eggs stick to stones, usually in the interstices between them.

Statistics.

The average size will be about 7-8 lbs, but there are many specimen fish to be caught by those who put the effort in. The current UK barbel record is 19lb 6oz.

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