Ruff (Gymnocephalus cernuus)

The Ruff is noticeably a member of the perch family. Also known as Daddy ruff, pope or tommy by anglers, it has a spiney front dorsal fin and a soft back one just behind it. They also have spines at the beginning of the lower fins and sharp edges around the gill plate covers. All these defences help to warn off predators although large numbers are said to be eaten by herons and zander in particular.They body of the ruff is light olive-green with rows of small dark brown speckles on its back, sides and tail. The dorsal fins tend to have a yellowish tinge to them end the eye of a ruff is mauve in colour


The ruffe’s natural habitat is in the Lower reaches of slow-flowing rivers. Canals and fen drains are also home to the ruffe, although they are less common in still waters. Ruff love clean, deep water with a sandy or gravelly bed.

Feeding habits

These fish live in small shoals on the bottom. They will search the around for natural foods such as small crustaceans, bloodworm and the occasional earthworm that may happen to fall into their path. Also like its relative the perch, larger specimens are known to eat other fish fry.

Fish facts

Weight: Up to 4oz (0.120kgs)
Average Length: Ave length about 10cm (4in)
Life-span: Up to 9 years
Favourite waters: slow flowing rivers, canals, some deep resiviors and lakes.
Favourite baits: Chopped worm, pinkies, maggotts
UK Record: 5oz 4drms (R Jenkins 1980)