Caught by the River

Freshwater Fishes of the British Isles

30th September 2010

Illustration and accompanying text by Jonathan Newdick. Taken from his book, ‘The Complete Freshwater Fishes of the British Isles’, published by A & C Black in 1979. The book is a particular favourite of ours and we thank Jonathan for allowing us to publish the work on Caught by the River.


The Chub is widely distributed in England, except for the extreme south west, is scarce in west Wales and southern Scotland and absent from Ireland and central and northern Scotland.

The chub is typically a fish of the middle reaches of rivers where the water is deep, clean and flows fairly quickly. It is also found in the lower reaches of rivers and occasionally in lakes. Young Chub are gregarious and form shoals, but older specimens are solitary and may become territorial.

One of the larger Cyprinids, the chub grows to a length of 50 or even 60cm but it does not normally exceed 45cm.

Identification and similar species
The Chub has a dark greyish green back, grey, greenish or bluish sides with a silver or golden sheen on its large scales and a yellowish belly. The head is broad, the body elongate, the mouth terminal and large and the pectoral, dorsal, and caudal fins are dark brown while the pelvic and anal fins are reddish brown. There are 44 to 46 scales along the lateral line.
Dace, L. leuciscus
The Dace has more than 46 scales along the lateral line and the anal fin has a concave edge, whereas the Chub has less than 46 scales along the lateral line and a convex edge to the anal fin.