These small fish are only found in clean, stony waters and around the brick work at canal locks. Read more about the Bullhead (Cottus gobio).

Bullhead, courtesy of Jack Perks Bullhead, courtesy of Jack Perks


  • Listed on the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List of Threatened Species
  • Listed on Annex II of the European Commission Habitats Directive (3)
  • Special Area of Conservation (SAC) Annex II species at a number of sites

Bullhead, courtesy of Jack PerksBullheads are sometimes referred to as 'Millers Thumb'. They are very rarely caught by anglers, hiding away during the day and only coming out at night to feed.

They are quite unusual as they build a small nest of stones and lay their yellow eggs on the underneath of the stones. 

Appearance: They are very distinctive, being sandy brown in colour with dark spotting on the large pectoral fins which can look like strips. They have a large, flattened head and big eyes positioned on the top of the head.

British record: 1oz 0dms (British record committee 2015)

Lateral line scale count: no scales but 33-35 pores

Lifespan: 3 to 5 years

Last date edited: 24 December 2020