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Zander (Stizostedion lucioperca) are a member of the perch family but with the predatory feeding behaviour of the pike. Read more about this attractive fish.

Zander, courtesy of Jack Perks Zander, courtesy of Jack Perks

"Heavily boated canals or deep rivers are great places to catch zander."

Carl Nicholls, fisheries & angling manager

Appearance: zander are often a greeny brown colour with dark vertical markings similar to the perch and a cream or white belly. Their distinctive features are a double dorsal fin, with the front fin containing hard and quite sharp rays. They also have a flat spine at the rear of the gill cover. They have two long sharp teeth at the front that are vampire-looking in appearance. Zander have large eyes that can often be opaque which is an adaptation to seeing in murky waters so that the zander can take advantage of its prey.

British record: 21lb 5oz (British Record Fish Committee January 2015)

Lateral Line scale count: 80-87 (this is the dark row of scales along the central length of the fishes body).

Lifespan: up to 20 years

Zander are wide spread throughout Europe and often caught for food as they are tasty and have large white flaky flesh. In the UK the zander is listed a species under the Live Import of Fish Act (ILFA) and require a special licence to stock or hold them in a water.

Illegally introduced: zander have been illegally introduced into several fisheries. They were introduced originally (legally) into lakes at Woburn Park in 1878 and later into the Great Ouse Relief Channel. In very turbid canals, many of the native fish populations in the waters where zander have been illegally introduced have suffered greatly by the aggressive feeding of this top predator. It is still not clear whether natural fish populations of species such as gudgeon will ever fully recover.

How to catch a zander: zander excel in their hunting style in murky and heavily-coloured waters. Heavily boated canals or deep rivers are great places to catch zander. Zander can be caught on small lures, but generally they prefer either dead baits or better still live baits. Using fish as bait involves the use of a double or treble hook and wire trace. Part of the hook holds the bait in place while the other part is used to hook the fish. The bait can either be held in place with weight or used similarly to a lure where by the bait is cast out and retrived.

Where to catch a zander: try the Oxford Canal, Ashby Canal, Coventry Canal, Grand Union, South Stratford, Gloucester & Sharpness Canal and the River Severn.

Can I return a zander to the canal?

As the law stands, it is illegal to return a zander or any other non-native fish species to the canal network. This is set out in the terms and conditions of our KIFR permits.

You are allowed to take zander and other fish species classified by DEFRA as non-native for the pot.

Read our angling and fisheries team blog about zander in the canal.

Last date edited: 3 May 2018