Roach-Basic Knowledge

Often called the ‘redfin’ the roach is one of the most abundant and popular species in the British Isles with its slim silver body, greenish blue back and distinctive red fins a familiar sight to most fishermen.

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It thrives in a wide range of aquatic environments, from the murkiest looking urban canals and ponds to huge clear reservoirs and grand fast flowing rivers, making it readily available to fishermen all over the country.

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It breeds in the spring time producing its yellowish sticky eggs in shallow weedy water where the fry find shelter in their first few weeks of life. The roach sheds up to 20,000 eggs per pound of body weight which partly explains why they are so numerous and widespread in UK waters. It is heavily predated by pike, perch and other predators and in clear waters the percentage of fry that survive to adulthood can be low however if you are looking for big roach large clear waters, like reservoirs and gravel pits, with a good head of pike and perch are good places to try with the lower survival rate leading to remaining roach growing to specimen sizes. In smaller coloured waters with no predators the population can become stunted with too many roach competing for too little food.


The roach is closely related to rudd and bream and as these species spawn at the same time and often in the same places their eggs can be cross-fertilized leading to hybridisation with roach-rudd and roach-bream hybrids often growing much bigger than true roach. In waters where two or all three of these species co-habiting identification of true roach can be a problem.


The roach’s slightly protruding top lip tells us that it is predominantly a bottom feeder however it often feeds up in the water and can sometimes be found feeding on the surface. In the wild it feeds mainly on insects and insect larvae algae and other plant matter but on heavily fished waters anglers baits provide a large portion of their diet with maggots, casters, hemp, tares being particular favourites on natural fisheries. On commercial fisheries carp baits like pellets, sweetcorn and boilies are eaten with gusto with some surprisingly large specimens having been caught by mistake by carp anglers.

Catching Roach

Roach are a popular species among match anglers, as they tend to hang about in numbersAlthough abundant roach are not the easiest species to catch and it is often said that the true measure of a quality angler is the ability to catch roach consistently. Roach are renowned as a shy biting species which makes float fishing many peoples favourite method of catching them. Pole and waggler are the best approaches on still waters and canals while trotting the stream with a stick float takes some beating on running water. For specimen roach feeder fishing at range with a bolt rig set up and maggots or casters is the most productive method on large reservoirs and gravel pits. On rivers trotting bread flake under a loafer type float is a method that tempts big roach regularly.

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Whatever method you choose to target roach you must fish with as light a line and hook as you can to catch these tackle shy fish with any consistency.


  1. joseph

    Feb 20, 2008

    i ve fished my local pond most of last week.its really good normally it is stocked with just about everything.but at the moment its really quiet struggling to get a bite. wot shall i do is it the change of weather?

  2. Tom

    Feb 21, 2008

    I reckon its probably the change in weather, after all it dropped down to minus nine from being relatively warm didnt it!

    Is groundbait allowed? If so, fishing a low feed content groundbait such as Van Den Eydne Supercup along with small baits such as squatts, pinkies and maggots should get you a few bites. Try to fish light, with 2lb (0.10) hooklengths or lower.

    If its really hard, it might be worth investing in some bloodworm and joker, but hopefully now the weather has warmed back up there will be no need to do this!

  3. john

    Apr 03, 2008

    just reading about using a bolt rig to catch roach.
    Is it best to have a fixed bolt rig or running?
    I have been using a running rig and not had a lot of luck, was was wondering if I fixed the rig would I see/get more bites?



    • Stuart Graham

      Sep 03, 2011

      i forgot something about a lead wieght @this page whip small pond 50 metre run medium and 100 metre large

  4. paul wright

    Apr 26, 2008

    If anyone is around kirkby liverpool leeds canal and happens to have their fishing gear, I would recommend you try fishing it. The venue has been fishing well these last couple of weeks with roach to 3lb and pike to 15lb

  5. Adam

    May 28, 2008

    The best water ive fished fr roach is bradleys ponds at ford in sheffield.

  6. jordan

    Oct 28, 2008

    hi I started fishing a few months ago and my local pond is full of roach and dace along with bigger fish like barbel and carp but i can’t tell the diffrence between roach and dace help!

  7. dave

    Nov 24, 2008

    as a beginer 80 yr old just coaght 3 roach 1lb 8oz using swimfeeder pellet and sweetcorn waiting for my 1st carp dave

    • Stuart Graham

      Sep 03, 2011

      i go for roach hadicap is pike for 1 and 3 hour horse race conversions in irland i 100 pound line self cockin float knoted at each said no wieghts 6   16  or 26 hooks left hangin on knots 19.16cm apart i use 5 pieces of white bread two clamp on the hooks one each and three pieces clamped on the line imbetween  dandilions rice white chicken for barbel or ten cm rats tail  a piece telescpocic rod dont take any thing with you take all your rubish dont litter dont take any thing electric dont plumit throw 1 particle of each bait with in 84 cm of the bank near to you no socks or under pants t shirt as a un hookin mat strike to the right under arm cast dont hold the rod bone dangling on your line for an indicater if your not float fishin

      • rat nob

        Nov 30, 2011

        What utter feckin wiffle and piffle

  8. Ben

    Mar 07, 2009

    Mate , i heard your having a bit of trouble fishing for roach at the moment . So have i , untill today 😀 i think its just the change of weather . But try using a lighter line or a smaller hook . Hope this helps , Ben

    • Stuartjohngraham

      Sep 03, 2011

      2 hooks left hangin on knots 19.16cm apart size  6, 16 or 26 to see 26 hook times 2 4 for maggots on the bottom hook you could use a poll and not hold it and strike to the right 100 pound line use a whip on a smalll pond 5 pieces of white breads not bad you could stash a net on a venue the night before before twelve midnight and then take it with you when you go self cockin float knoted at each end no wieghts

  9. Spencer

    Mar 24, 2009

    Try using caster or bloodworm as roach and rudd love this bait in the cold weather also when fishing try going about 25cm deph as this is were they are, and by the way were is your local pond?

  10. eddie spence

    Apr 10, 2009

    hi im wonderin whether there are any roach in ladybrook bramhall

  11. Lukarius

    May 10, 2009

    hey if any1 lives near manchester, stockport or reddish then try fishing at the duck pond on reddish vale farm it costs £2.50 to fish there and u can catch carp perch roach catfish and occasionally rudd wiith little effort. also there is many different fishin sites right next to it like the river literaly 30 seconds walk and pebble beach and 5 mins walk and many more. Great place to fish.(great nightfishin) any1 wants to set up a fishin day wiv me at reddish vale farm then email me at

  12. woody

    Aug 14, 2009

    bradlys fishing pond is brilliant for exsperianced fisher men and begginers there is loads of silver fish and big carp and the odd masive cat fish i would reccomend bradleys to anyone infact im going tomorrow 15.8.09

  13. ryan

    Aug 14, 2009

    yes matey your dead right i love it at bradleys but im going to carter hall tomorow seeing as you want to go

  14. darren

    Oct 22, 2009

    i fished my pond last week and it went really quiet couldnt figure it out, until i was tol d to fish light so the last time i went there i fished light gear and it worked so im happy now and i tried some punched bbread that works too

  15. tom devonald

    Dec 16, 2009

    well it simplae realy dace have narrow pointed heads yellow eyes silver flanked and a tail fin is deeply forked and daces fins are much darker than roaches. Plus dace are much more streamlined than roach. What you also hav to watch is dace may represent a small a chub but once again they can be easlily be told apart!!!!.
    Hope this helps good luck fishing

  16. Tom

    Jan 02, 2010

    u should put more bait out and try different methods

  17. dave

    Jan 06, 2010

    i am 81 years young been coarse fishing just over a year just got mitchel 13ft match rod for xmas going to fish for roach wiht waggler 3lb line 3/4 lb hook is this ok dave……

  18. bran

    Jun 03, 2010

    i cant stop catchin roach i never catch any thing else i fish on sion fisheries

  19. shaun

    Jun 16, 2010

    i cought a beatiful roach yesteday down at the lake gorgeous red back 4 1/2 pounds but the one problem was i was fishing for trout with fly and bait rods so it was mysterious because the roach went for the worm. on the other hand i cought 19 trout in 1 hour added up to 50 pounds lol

  20. al nicholson

    Aug 26, 2010

    using the nylon method with glue is the glue toxic for the fish

  21. ross muir

    Sep 02, 2010

    wen im fishing for roach i like to use choped worm in a maggot feeder with a worm on he hook its seems to work really good

  22. Callum

    Aug 29, 2012

    Im 12 and when I fish for roach I feed up the swim and then I free line a single red maggot and I usually catch between 60 and 100 fish in 6-7 hours