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How to Identify Your Catch - Coarse Fish found in Britain

Pictures and Features to Aid you in Identifying what you have Caught or hope to catch.

How to Identify Your Catch - Coarse Fish found in Britain

Pictures and Features to Aid you in Identifying what you have Caught or Hope to Catch.

Features to help you in Identifying Fresh Water Fish
Updated: 17th, February 2018
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Freshwater Fish Species:-

Coarse Fish found in Britain


Common Carp

Common carp are fully scaled
click on image to enlarge
Common carp are fully scaled, that is completely covered with scales. They have a large mouth, as do all varieties of carp, with the mouth facing downwards. Carp feed by hovering over the lake or stream bottom and wafting the bottom into a cloud of mud.
They then suck up the mud and filter any food out of it using their pharyngeal teeth. That is the teeth at the back of their throat, and blow out the unwanted cloudy mud through their gills. This means that when carp are feeding in the margins you should nearly always see the water becoming cloudy.
A good sign that they are on the searching for food. So where should you put your bait or ground bait?
Click here to read about Carp at Nineoaks.

Mirror Carp

A Mirror Carp - notice <b>NOT</b> completely covered but having many large scales
The Mirror carp has very large, silvery coloured scales which is why they are called "mirror carp" their scales look like broken pieces of a mirror. Often mirror carp fight harder than common carp. Sometimes mirror's are not fully covered in scales, having patches of leathery like skin between the scales.
Other mirror carp have a straight line of scales along their lateral line, these carp are mirror carp but referred to as "Linear Carp" because of their straight, or linear, line of scales. Feeding is exactly as for common carp.
Click here to read about Carp at Nineoaks.

Crucian Carp

A Crucian Carp - with red fins like a Roach
Crucian carp are short and dumpy. Their colouration varies greatly, like all carp, but in generally crucians have a rich golden colour.
They don't have barbules which helps when determining between a true crucian carp and a 'normal' carp.
The fins are very rounded and the dorsal fin is rounded with a convex shape (rounded outwards), unlike all other carp which have concave (rounded inwards) dorsal fin.


A typical Chub
Found in Europe and Great Britain, mainly in rivers but often in specially stocked lakes. The chunky chub has a large blunt head, a cavernous mouth and a long and cylindrical body with large greenish/brown scales with a slight black edging across the back.
Then working down to a lighter golden flank and a light belly with a dark brown or black tail. The dorsal fin of the chub is a greyish/green colour, and all the other fins are a orange/red colour. The Chub's large mouth has thick rubbery lips.
It has a voracious appetite and will eat almost anything. It is voracious and preys on insects, plants, and other fish too. A fantastic fighter providing the angler with good sport. It grows to about 60cm (2ft) long and maximum weight of 78 kg (1518 pounds).
Click here to read about Chub at Nineoaks.


A fine Dace
Nicknamed "the Dart" as a fast, lively, active fish, it earned it's name because of the way it darts through the water.

Although closely related to the Chub, it is a smaller, more streamlined fish with concave (outside edge of fin bends inwards) anal and dorsal fins, whereas the Chub's anal and dorsal fins are convex and red in colour. Dace also closely resemble the Roach, both in size and shape but the Roach has red eyes and the Dace has yellow eyes.
The Dace has a slender body, a narrow pointed head with large yellow eyes and a small mouth. The body has a greyish blue back with silvery flanks, a white belly and a narrow deeply forked tail, white ventral and anal fins tinged with pale red and the dorsal, pectoral and caudal fins are tipped black.
Dace easily hybridise with Chub and Roach producing Dace/Chub and Dace/Rudd hybrids which can make identification rather difficult. Dace are small fish and one of 8 ounces is considered a good catch. The current British rod-caught record Dace is 1 lb 5 oz 2dr.
Dace prefer clean, well oxygenated water, they are often found in shoals in mid water or near weirs and weir pools. They prefer rivers and streams with a sand or gravel bottom, the Dace are also found in lakes and still waters. Natural foods for Dace is algae, worms, insects, larvae of aquatic insects, snails and small crustaceans.
Dace are often seen feeding from the surface taking flies and non-aquatic insects.


A lovely large Eel
A long elongated slender body, similar to a snake, except that it has long slim fins along its back and belly and small, rounded pectoral fins. Like most fish it has round eyes, small in youngsters and large in older Eels.
It has a protruding lower jaw longer than the upper jaw and small and vertical gill openings. The anal fin is set slightly behind the anus. Adults in freshwater are greenish-brown on black with a whitish-yellowish belly.
As Eel numbers have severely declined and in order to conserve their numbers it is an illegal act to remove any Eel from any UK water and take it/them elsewhere!
Eels predominantly feed on the bottom and are usually found near underwater obstacles or among reeds.
Click here to read about Eels at Nineoaks.


A typical Perch
Caution: Perch have a row of sharp pointed spines along the dorsal fin so use a cloth when handling them, and always move the cloth from head towards the tail to lay the dorsal fins down before any further handling. That way the spines are safe and out of the way. Their body is rough to the touch.
A perch is probably the first fish an angler catches as they almost "jump" on the hook and swallow the bait deep down. Perch will live in all waters, from still, slow and fast running water, to lakes, ponds, rivers and canals.
Perch can be found where there is underwater obstacles or structures, tree roots, weed beds and overhanging trees, these are all good places to hide and ambush anything edible.
Larger perch are predatory and will eat smaller fish such as minnows, roach and dace and their own young! Other food include; crustaceans, insects, flies, mayfly, caddis fly, larvae, worms and all fish fry. Maggots, sweetcorn and casters too.
Perch on average are 4oz - 1lb with anything over 2lb considered a specimen.


A fine Pike
Pike are unmistakable with a long, lean generally green body and horizontal striping or creamy spots. With a large broad head, long flattened snout and a huge mouth full of sharp, backward facing teeth.
Its torpedo shaped and camouflaged body is built for speed. Its dorsal and anal fins are set right back near the tail unlike most other fish.
Pike eat all species of fish and almost anything that moves in or on the water. Larger pike will eat smaller pike, ducks, any rats or mice moving in the water. Pike prefer still or slow moving waters as in canals and lakes.


A typical Ruffe
A relative of the Perch and sometimes mistaken by young anglers as a baby perch due to the similar spiny dorsal fin.
A small fish, on average 4 to 5 inches long occasionally growing larger. With quite large eyes and a small, slightly down turned mouth with bristly teeth.
It is an olive green or pale brown colour speckled with dark spots. Larger spots on its back decreasing in size and fading to a whitish underbelly.
The Ruffe has two dorsal fins that are joined; the forward dorsal fin, like the Perch, has sharp spines and the rear fin has soft rays or spines.
Also, the gill covers of a Ruffe are sharp and spiny. Like the Perch handle them with a damp cloth.
Generally the Ruffe is a shoaling fish preferring slow moving rivers but can tolerate brackish waters, in rivers, lakes and ponds.
More active at dusk and dawn feeding on insects, larvae, worms and small fry fish.


A lovely Tench
Easily identify a Tench with their well rounded, dark olive green colouring and thick set body. The fins and tail are all rounded and the scales are very tiny giving them the appearance of being scale-less.
They also feel smooth and a little slimy. The caudal or tail fin is large and almost rounded with a shallow fork. You can distinguish a Male tench which has very large round shaped pelvic fins whereas those of the female are more triangular in shape and longer.
The average Tench will be 12 - 16ins long. They can grow to over 15lb and a fish over 5lb would be considered a good fish. There are also golden, yellow and orange tench usually found in ornamental ponds.
The tench used to be called the 'doctor fish' because other fish would deliberately rub against them and be cured of their ailments with the slime from the tench which was thought to have healing properties.
They are found in lakes, ponds, slow running rivers and canals and most often in still waters.
Click here to read about Tench at Nineoaks.

Stone Loach

The stone loach, a river dweller and mainly night feeder, is a small, slender bottom-dwelling fish with a maximum length of roughly 14 cm (6 in).
With eyes located high on its head, it has three pairs of short barbels under its underslung mouth.
With an almost cylindrical body, it has a rounded dorsal and caudal fins with slightly notched tips.
It is yellowish-brown with blotches and vertical bands of darker colour. The fins are brownish with faint dark banding.
It has an unusual and almost hidden dark line running from the snout to the eye.


Mr R Turner with a 1lb+ Roach - typical of the stamp and quality Roach that can be caught here
An alien fish originally introduced into the Fenland Drains of East Anglia in the early 1960's.
They are now found throughout East Anglia and the Midlands in the river Trent, river Severn and Warwickshire Avon and Woburn and Old Bury Hill Lakes and the Gloucester Canals.
None in Scotland, Wales or Ireland.
They have similar features to the pike with their elongated body and the head of a perch with their spiny dorsal fin and small glassy eyes.
With a grey or brown coloured back with black dappling occurring in vague stripes similar to those of the perch but are clearer on young fish. Sometimes the stripes completely disappear in mature fish.
The Zander has two dorsal fins, the first is spiny with about 14 hard rays and black spots over a pale greyish yellow background, and the second is soft.
These spines and others on the gill cover and anal fin mean that the fish must be handled very carefully.
Again like the Perch and Pike use a damp cloth moved down from the head to close the dorsal fins and make them safe.
The tail is speckled grey with a white lower lobe.
The sides of young Zander are silvery, while an older Zander has greenish yellow sides, The underside and lower fins are generally white although a hint of blue is sometimes noticeable.
The mouth is large with prominent backward pointing teeth. Pairs of fang like teeth found on the front of the lower and upper jaws fitting into hollows in the opposite side of the jaw.
These are used to inflict a fatal wound and then to hold their prey.

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All content and images are copyright ©2018 Nine Oaks Angling Centre
Updated: 01st, January 2018

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