Arguably the most handsome of the coarse fish species, the tench has olive green colouration with a deep tail and rounded fins. Find out more about this fish including the best way to catch one.

Tench, courtesy of Zimpenfish
Tench, courtesy of Zimpenfish

Appearance: Tench are easily recognised by their olive green colouration and small red eyes. They have a stout body and rounded powerful fins. They can on rare occasions be of golden colouration.

Size: Exceptionally they grow to over 10lbs in reservoirs such as Wilstone near Tring, but in a canal a 5lb fish is considered a specimen.

British record: 15lb 3oz*

Lateral line scale count: 95-120 (this is the dark row of scales along the central length of the fishes body).

Lifespan: 20 to 30 years

We like tench because of their hard fighting nature and distinctive appearance

How to catch a tench

Our fisheries and angling manager Carl Nichols says:

Early mornings and late evenings are the best time to catch tench in a feeding frenzy. Good baits include maggots, casters and worms although tench are well known for being caught on grains of sweetcorn. 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.”

Where to catch a tench

The tench does not enjoy high levels of disturbance from boat traffic. Consequently they are much more common on lightly trafficked canals with clear water and plenty of weed cover. The Slough Arm, Wyrley & Essington, Rushall, Ashby and Walsall canals are very good Tench fishing locations. The Tring reservoir complex and Clattercote reservoir are also excellent Tench waters.

*(British Record Fish Committee January 2015)

Last Updated: 03 June 2015