Chub (Leuciscus cephalus)

In many ways chub look like dace at first glance. Both have black tails and grey or green backs. Chub, however, usually have brassy coloured flanks, orange anal fins and big mouths, and they grow much larger than dace. But when in doubt, look at the fish’s fins. Chub dorsal and especially anal fins are convex (curved outward) while those of dace are slightly concave (curved inward)


Running water is the best place to look for chub - especially in any steady-flowing lowland or middle reach of river. They don’t thrive in upland waters, which are more suited to trout, salmon and grayling. Chub are a retiring fish, and they rely much on the shelter of overhanging trees, rafts of debris, underwater weeds and undercut banks - cover is an essential part of their habitat. During the afternoon, however, chub often sun themselves. You can see them on clear, windless summer days, but be careful when approaching them, for they spook easily. They may also spook if you try to cast directly above them. Casting a yard or so upstream and in front of the fish often does the trick.

Feeding habits

Small chub eat large invertebrates, worms and the fry of fish. Chub are omnivorous; that is, they eat fish, insects and vegetable matter (such as silkweed, berries and bread). In fact, if an elderberry tree is overhanging a river bank, for example, chub often gorge themselves with ripe berries. Larger Fish may eat small bullheads, minnows, roach and dace. They don’t have teeth in their mouth; their mighty pharyngeal teeth, located at the base of the throat, can crush just about any food item. This includes crayfish which, despite their hard shell, are quickly demolished.

Fish facts

Weight: Up to 3.6-4.1kg (8-9lb)
Average Length: Up to 56-59cm (22-23in)
Life-span: 10-12 years
Favourite waters: steady-flowing lowland rivers and the middle reaches of rivers, some canals, brooks or streams.
Favourite baits: Worms, maggots, casters, Bread, cheese, hemp and tares
UK Record: 8lbs 10oz (P Smith 1994)