Rutilus rutilus 

Roach, courtesy of Jack Perks


Roach are perhaps the most common and widespread fish species in the UK. They are a small, shoaling silver fish that have orangey/brown pelvic, anal and tail fins. They feed in deeper areas of the river but will also operate near the surface, especially in warmer weather. They can sometimes be confused with the less common rudd, which has slightly more golden scales on its back, deeper red fins and a more up-turned mouth. Adult roach can grow to around 35cms in length. 


Roach are a very active shoaling fish. They will move around to seek out plankton, small invertebrates and plant material like algae and seeds. They are most typically caught by fisherman using maggot or bread as bait. Because of the success of roach, and the fact that they shoal in large numbers, they are a very important food source for predators like grebe, heron, cormorant and pike.  



Being successful and widespread, roach can be found in most rivers in the UK, except for in fast flowing, shallow streams. Specimen roach of over 2.5lbs (1.3kgs) are regularly caught in the River Severn near Stourport. 

Did you know?

Roach are frequently the first fish to be caught by a new angler as they are happy living in rivers, small pools or large lakes. They have a habit of over-breeding in small waters leading to a very slow growing stunted population. You need to seek out flowing water with small populations if you really want to catch a big one. They can be surprisingly long lived and generally stay in shoals with other individuals of the same age and size. The hardest part of fishing for them is trying to avoid small roach and locating only the bigger ones that seem to get more pickier in the food they take as they get older. 

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