Arguably the most handsome of the coarse fishes, the tench is a deep green-brown colour and thickset with a deep tail and rounded fins.

Tench, courtesy of Zimpenfish
Tench, courtesy of Zimpenfish

Exceptionally it grows to over 10lbs in reservoirs such as Wilstone near Tring but in a canal a 3lb fish is considered a specimen. The tench does not enjoy disturbance from boat traffic and so are much more common on lightly trafficked canals with plenty of weed cover. They eat a wide variety of food items, mainly from the bottom mud. Tench spawn in May or June and the young fry grow slowly, often taking several years to reach a pound in weight. It is unusual to catch a small tench in these conditions.

How to catch tench

Early mornings and late evenings are the best time to catch tench in a feeding frenzy. Good baits include bream, maggots, casters, worms and boilies. The choice of tackle will depend on which stretch of water you are fishing.  The tench is a hard fighting fish and if the tackle is not up to the job the fish is likely to break the line. Some anglers will pre-bait an area of canal, ie several days in advance of fishing they introduce free samples of bait in order to lure the tench into the fishing area.

It is a little known fact the former UK record tench was caught in the Grand Union Canal near Leicester.

Top Trust canal venues for tench

Top Trust reservoir venues for tench

  • Wilstone
  • Clattercote
  • Marsworth 
  • Cadmore Lane

Last Updated: 16 July 2012