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Stone loach

This nocturnal fish is often overlooked by anglers. Read more about how to catch the solitary stone loach (Barbatula barbatula).

Stone Loach, courtesy of Jack Perks

Appearance: loaches are small with a long slender body (usually around 8cm). They always have more than two pairs of barbels around an underslung mouth (4 in the front and 2 at the corners). They are usually a sandy brown colour with dirty brown, almost camouflage, spotting along the whole body. The pelvic fins are opposite the dorsal fin and midway down the body.

British record: 8dms (British Record Fish Committee January 2015)

Lateral line scale count: The loach has a smooth appearance with very tiny scales. The lateral line is only visible at the front of the fish.

Lifespan: 3 to 5 years

We like stone loach because: well actually, they are often overlooked for being nocturnal and solitary.

How to catch a stone loach

Try sometime between late evening and night fall. Very clean rivers with clean stoney beds are the preferred habitat for loach. Small live baits of squatts, red worms or blood worm are good choices, along with light equipment.

Where to catch a stone loach

River fisheries such as the River Avon and River Severn hold stone loach. They are also present in the Llangollen Canal.


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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