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Minnow (Phoxinus phoxinus) are very good at hiding. Find out more about this small fish, which is hunted by most predators.

Minnow, courtesy of Jack Perks
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Minnows will eat most baits, but due to their size, small baits and hooks are a must.
Carl Nicholls, fisheries & angling manager

Appearance: Minnow are distinctive in appearance with green to dark olive sides, usually with a striped banding similar to perch. They have a short, rounded dorsal fin and an upturned mouth. Female minnows have a white shiny belly whereas males have a red belly and red pelvic fins. Sometimes the male minnow can be confused with a three-spined stickleback.

British record: 13.5dms (British record committee 2015)

Lateral line scale count: 80-95 (this is the dark row of scales along the central length of the fish's body)

Lifespan: 2 to 4 years

We like minnow because: well actually, minnow are not usually targeted by anglers.

How to catch a minnow

Minnows can be found in most slack waters and back eddies in river systems. These fish know they are a primary food source for many predators. Anywhere shallow, with low flows and cover is a good place to start. Minnows will eat most baits, but due to their size, small baits and hooks are a must. Squatts, pinkies and maggots are all good baits to attract and catch minnows on.

Where to catch a minnow

They are present in the margins and back waters of most river fisheries.


Find a place to fish

Enter a town or postcode into our fishery search tool to find good local fishing spots

Last Edited: 24 December 2020

photo of a location on the canals
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