Common name: Chub
Latin name: Leuciscus cephalus
Record weight: 8lb 10z, taken by P. Smith from the River Wear in 1994.
Distribution: Found in England, except Cornwall, South Wales, and Southern Scotland. In Europe chub can be found from Scandinavia to Italy. Not reared as a food fish, so not as widely distributed as some other coarse fish.
Features: A thick-set fish with brandy coloured flanks, grey tail and pinkish fins. The main feature of the chub is the rounded head and large mouth. Chub can be distinguished from the closely related dace by examining the anal fin. The anal fin of the chub is convex, whereas that of the dace is concave. The mouth of the dace is also much smaller than that of the chub.
Diet: Chub will eat just about anything that they can fit into their mouths. The diet of small fish is made up of small zooplankton, particularly cladocera. As the chub grow they widen their range of foods to include tiny thrips (a small fly that they catch from the water surface), chironomids and bryazoans. By the time the chub reaches a pound in weight they will eat anything from fruit to fish, although their main diet is made up of caddis larvae and freshwater shrimp.
Spawning: If you look at shallow gravel riffle between the beginning of May and mid-June you will find shoals of chub readying themselves for spawning. Chub tend to spawn during the early morning when the females, chased by the smaller males, move up into water only just deep enough to cover them. The female releases her eggs onto the surface of the gravel, where they are fertilised by the males. The eggs hatch in around four days and the young fish drift downstream until they reach shallow slacks.
Growth: Despite their voracious appetites, chub are a relatively slow growing species. It can take 6-10 years for the chub to reach a pound in weight and a specimen of five pounds may be twenty or more years old. Chub can live for 25 years, and probably nearer 30 and unlike most coarse fish they will continue to grow in length for almost all of their lives.