Get Fishing Resources - Fishbook

Fishbook: Roach

‘Fishbook’: Our species-guide series based on “Get Fishing
the brilliant how to fish book by Allan Sefton

We profile the UK’s most common as well as some lesser-known fish species to help newcomer anglers find out more about fish that can be caught in our lakes, canals, rivers, ponds and sea.

Understanding the kinds of fish you might catch will add interest and could even make your fishing easier! Here you’ll find out more about…



Scientific name:
Rutilus rutilus

Life span:
14-18 years

Typical size:
4oz. Over 2lb is rare

British record:
4lb 5oz

All over the UK and Ireland, in rivers, ponds, lakes and canals

Interesting fact:
Roach have a small, underslung mouth that helps them to feed on the bottom

About Roach

Roach, pretty silver fish with an orange eye, pale red pectoral (side) fins and a dark olive back, were once the most popular, and most common, anglers’ fish in Britain.

They are found in rivers and stillwaters. In the last 50 years they have spread northwards into Scotland and are now common in many parts of Ireland after ‘accidental’ introductions by visiting English anglers.

The roach populations in UK rivers have declined in recent years as rivers have got cleaner.

Strangely, roach numbers seem to peak in slightly polluted water. No one knows why. But the good news is that many of our canals are now teeming with roach. Most roach weigh only a few ounces.

Rob Hughes with roach

A 2lb roach is a real ‘specimen’ and a target weight that only a few big fish hunters achieve.

Some commercial fisheries have lakes where silver fish such as roach dominate, for anglers that prefer them.

Roach have a small, underslung mouth that helps them to feed on the bottom. But they will also feed higher in the water. They are happy to feed on the bread or seeds anglers use as bait. They are delicate feeders. Fine, sensitive tackle and small baits and hooks are essential.

Roach love maggots, a favourite bait for anglers, which can be bought in any fishing tackle shop.

Visit the rest of the How To Fish video gallery here to learn new tricks and discover more about the basics of angling.

Find out more about:

Read more about how you can get into coarse fishing. Alternatively, find a venue near you where you can #getfishing!

Some of the above content is taken from the new book, Get Fishing – the ‘how to’ guide to Coarse, Sea and Fly Fishing by Allan Sefton published by Merlin Unwin Books. This colourful, lively book is aimed at complete beginners of all ages, those who have been out fishing a couple of times and want to take it further and families of all abilities. It’s also packed with top-tips and info that make it useful for more experienced anglers too. Find out more about, and purchase a copy of the book here.

Header image thanks to David Overland and text reproduced with permission and © Merlin Unwin Books.

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