Leuciscus leuciscus 

Dace, courtesy of Jack Perks


Dace are one of our typical ‘small silver fish’. They are common and widespread in flowing streams and rivers in the UK. Dace are probably commonly caught by inexperienced anglers and mistaken for roach as they are similar in appearance. They have slightly more of a coppery tinge than a roach and they are generally slightly pointier in profile with paler eyes and fins. They will live for many years and adults are usually about 15cms in length, however they can grow up to 25cms in length. 


Similar to a roach, their diet is made up of small invertebrates and plant material. They are a shoaling fish and will roam around looking for food. As they are a numerous fish they frequently end up as food for predators like pike and zander, and juveniles can be eaten by perch and chub. 



Dace tend to congregate around midwater, or near the surface, looking for food. They shoal, sometimes in very large numbers. They sit out very cold conditions in slower moving, deeper water but prefer faster flowing, well oxygenated streams. They choose to spend most of their time near weirs and fast flowing sections of the river. 

Did you know?

They may be relatively small but they can undertake huge migrations to shoal over the winter, sometimes whole rivers sections can be empty of this species in winter with all the fish congregating in large shoals for safety in very small areas. Winter league match angling can sometimes be won with huge catches of dace by an individual angler, while every other peg along the river failed to catch anything. 

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