Roach ©Jack Perks


Scientific name: Rutilus rutilus
The silvery roach can be seen gathering in large shoals in lowland ponds, lakes and slow-flowing rivers. It is a member of the carp family and looks very similar to the dace, chub and rudd.

Species information


Length: 10-40cm
Weight: up to 1.9kg
Average Lifespan: 8-14 years

Conservation status


When to see

January to December


The roach is a small to medium-sized fish. It is a member of the carp family and has the typical carp shape. It is found in large ponds, lakes and slow-flowing rivers. One of the most common fish in lakes, roach often gather in large shoals in shaded areas. They are omnivorous, feeding on invertebrates, fish eggs, plants and seeds. Roach spawn in April and June, sticking their eggs to rocks and plants; the newly hatched fish stay attached to the vegetation until they have eaten their yolk sac.

How to identify

The roach is a fairly deep-bodied, silvery fish, with dark, reddish-brown fins. It is deeper-bodied than both the slender chub and dace, but is very similar to the Rudd whose protruding lower lip is its defining characteristic.


Widespread in lowland England, but rarer in Wales and Scotland.

Did you know?

The roach is a favourite food for grey herons, which can be seen standing stock-still in shallow waters waiting for an unsuspecting fish to swim by.

How people can help

The Wildlife Trusts work with planners, water companies, landowners, statutory bodies and anglers to help make our waterways and waterbodies as good for wildlife as they are for people. By working together, we can create Living Landscapes: networks of habitats stretching across town and country that allow wildlife to move about freely and people to enjoy the benefits of nature. Support this greener vision for the future by joining your local Wildlife Trust.