Its tolerance of moderate pollution and low levels of dissolved oxygen has helped the roach thrive. It is
now one of the most abundant lowland fish in England.
Vital Statistics: Scientific Name: Rutilus rutilus
Maximum Weight: 4lb
Average Weight: 4-6oz
Maximum Length: 14inches
Life Span: 10-15years
It is easy to mistake a roach for a rudd. Both have large scales and greenish backs. But the flanks of the roach are silvery whereas the rudd has a golden
sheen. The upper lip protrudes slightly, the sign of a bottom feeder. The eyes are red and all the fins are a red-orange.
Where to find Roach:
Roach can be found almost anywhere. They thrive in each type of coarse fishing water - from still waters such as lakes and gravel pits to canals to fast moving streams and rivers.
Roach are basically a bottom feeding species but there are occasions when the roach will rise, sometimes to the surface, in search of food.
This reversal of normal feeding pattern only occurs during hot weather when the oxygen content of the water is low or when the surface of the water
is think with spent insect life, upon which the roach can feed. The smaller roach are more prone to this surface feeding than big fish.
Roach live for the most part on various types of insects: caddis grub, nymphs, and larvae being the mainstay of their diet. Roach will also eat worms,
weed and bread. They will also eat small water snails and tiny swan mussels. Very big roach
occasionally show a predatory streak, and more than one 2lb roach
has been taken before on a minnow intended for perch. Many fish show these cannibalistic
tendencies, usually just after the spawning period when the
water is thick with small fry.
Maggot is regarded as the most widely used of all coarse fishing baits and one of the most popular of all roach baits. The roach is predominantly an insect eater
and shows marked preference for caddis grubs, which maggots closely resemble. Loose maggots can be used to groundbait a swim.
Few anglers realise that a lively redworm or brandling is one of the finest of all roach baits.
Roach are very fond of bread based baits and will feed readily on crust, flake or paste. Hempseed is also a deadly bait, so deadly in fact that some fisheries and angling societies banned its use on their waters.
When smaller fish are feeding well on maggots, it is often worth trying sweetcorn to get in amongst the bigger roach.
Cheese, cheese paste and luncheon meat are effective roach baits.
Authors preferred baits:
Maggot best all round bait - but only for small stuff. Sweetcorn, luncheon meat or break flake/paste for the better quality roach.
How to catch Roach - Techniques at a glance:
Float fishing, ledging and freelining.