Common name: Roach
Latin name: Rutilus rutilus
Record weight: 4lb 3oz taken in 1990 by R. N. Clarke from the Dorset Stour.
Distribution: Found throughout England, Ireland, Wales and Southern Scotland. Very common across the whole of Europe, where several sub-species and closely related species are also to be found in mainland Europe
Features: A sleek silver/blue fish with orange/red fins and red tinge to the eye. Mouth is quite small and straight. Often hybridises with both rudd and bream, which both tend to grow larger than true roach. True roach have 9-10 rays in their dorsal fin and 42 to 45 scales along the lateral line. The dorsal fin is also level with the pelvic fin in roach, in rudd it is behind the pelvic fin.
Diet: Quite catholic in its tastes, the roach prefers small invertebrates, but will often feed upon filamentous algae and silt, digesting the edible bits. Will even eat rooted plants, biting off small chunks and digesting the animals attached to the surface. Although plant material is very common in the diet it is thought that this is mostly indigestible.
Spawning: Generally spawns in the middle two weeks in May in Southern Britain. Not particularly fussy about where it lays it's eggs, but will use plants if they are available. Look on exposed tree roots, filamentous algae and other plants. Will also spawn on metal pilings and even on stones. Adulthood can be reached within three years, but more often in four or five years. Each female can produce up to 15,000 eggs.
Growth: Quite a slow growing species. Roach will often take up to ten years to reach a weight of only a pound. Can live for at least 20 years. Although our most common freshwater fish, specimen roach are quite rare, because the species tends to spawn to readily and stunting occurs.