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Arguably the most handsome of the coarse fish species, the tench (Tinca tinca) 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 Jack Perks
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Early mornings and late evenings are the best time to catch tench in a feeding frenzy.
Carl Nicholls, fisheries & angling manager

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 (British record committee 2015)

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

Lifespan: 20 to 30 years

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

How to catch a tench

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 boats. 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, as is Clattercote Reservoir.


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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