The roach (Rutilus rutilus) is the most abundant fish on our canal network. Find out more about this adaptable fish, including the best way to catch one.
While you will catch some roach by fishing close to the towpath bank, you will have more success from the boat channel or far bank area.Carl Nicholls, fisheries & angling manager
Appearance: the roach is a shoaling fish, silver in colour with grey-brown to orange fins. Roach can often be confused with rudd. To check, you can count the lateral line scales (rudd have 40-55), look at the shape of the mouth (rudd have an upturned mouth as they primarily feed at the surface) and make sure the front of the dorsal fin is in line with the pelvic fins (in rudd the dorsal fin is well to the rear of the pelvic fins).
Size: above 1lb is a specimen
British record: 4lb 4oz (British record committee 2015)
Lateral line scale count: 42-45 (this is the dark row of scales along the central length of the fish's body)
Lifespan: 8 to 14 years
We like roach because: large roach are one of the most sought after fish for the specimen angler.
How to catch a roach
A fine line and small hook approach is sensible (size 20 or 22 hook-size), with the best baits being pinkies and squatts, casters, bread punch and hemp. In order to get the shoal in confident feeding mood, it is important to introduce a steady stream of loose feed on a little and often basis. While you will catch some roach by fishing close to the towpath bank, you will have more success from the boat channel or far bank area.
Where to catch a roach
You will find plenty in all of our canals and reservoirs.
Last date edited: 24 December 2020