Tench ©Jack Perks


Scientific name: Tinca tinca
A handsome fish, the tench has olive-green flanks, powerful fins and distinctive red eyes. It can be found in lowland lakes and slow-flowing rivers around the UK.

Species information


Length: 40-70cm
Weight: 3-6kg
Average Lifespan: 15 years

Conservation status


When to see

January to December


The tench is a medium-sized, heavy, deep-bodied fish. It can be found in soft-bottomed lakes and in slow-flowing rivers with plenty of vegetation. Tench are quite shy fish, hiding among dense weed. They feed on invertebrates, including pond snails and small pea mussels. Spawning in summer, males chase females, fertilising the eggs as soon as she has laid them in shallow beds of algae or vegetation.

How to identify

The tench is dark greeny-bronze in colour, with blackish, rounded fins, a deep tail, red eyes and, in some instances, a golden-orange throat and belly.


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

Did you know?

Also known as the 'Doctor Fish', the tench was thought to possess healing properties because it had been observed rubbing against other fish - behaviour thought to heal wounded fish and cure parasites and disease. This led to people boiling tench 'slime' (mucus that covers their body) to use as a medicine.

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.