Bullhead (Cottus gobio)

Although small, both loaches and bullheads do play their part in the ecology of the river.They do a good job of moping the bottom of small items of food,And themselves being items of prey for various fish and birds.These to fish are pretty easily identifiable. The stone loach is a long slender fish, with a rounded body, which then flattens out as you get towards its tail. Their colour is a greeny brown along its top and yellow and brown along its sides, although they do tend to look almost black when looked at form an Ariel view.The stoneloach again looks a little like a barbel but closer inspection reveals that it has six barbels(Barbel have four) The bullhead, also known as “millers thumb”, are pretty well protected by their spiny dorsal and pelvic fins and the backward-curved spines that pertrude from each side of the bulky head.They have scaleless skin, with brown and yellow blotches and two dorsal fins close together - wich have dark stripes.


Both the bullhead and stone loach live in rivers with a moderate current, usually hiding under small rocks or weed beds near the edge of the bank.These fish are now very rare in this country, I remember as a lad catching as many stoneloach as i did gudgeon, on my local strech of oxford canal, but sadley they havnt been seen there to my knowledge for years.

Feeding habits

Both fish are bottom feeders and mainly come out to feed at night,crawling out from the daytime hideaways.They naturaly live on tiny crustaceans, insect larvae and freshwater shrimps.

Fish facts

Weight: Stoneloach up to 2oz (0.048kgs) bullhead up to 1oz(0.028kgs)
Average Length: Bullhead and stone loach grow up to 10cm
Life-span: The bullhead has a short lifespan only 3-4 years
Favourite waters: Rivers with a moderate current, canals and small streams.
Favourite baits: squatts, pinkies, small red worm tails
UK Record: 1oz (R Johnson 1983)