The humble dace is a wonderful river species that inhabits tiny little streams through to huge waterways like the Severn and Wye.

It loves fast water, particularly the rapid, shallow and highly oxygenated water immediately downstream of a wierpool.

They are quite small fish, in fact the British record currently stands at a mere 1lb 5oz 2dr. An average day fishing for dace will bring fish of around the 3-5oz mark to the net. An angler who catches a 10oz-plus dace ought to feel very proud of himself indeed.





The dace could quite easily be mistaken for a bleak, a tiny roach or even a baby chub - they are all quite similar. But here's how to ensure that you know your dace from your other silver fish...

Dace have slim, rounded bodies with small and flat scales. The head is small and the mouth quite dainty.

You will find that dace have silver flanks, white underbelly and dark brown/green backs. Both the forked tail and the dorsal fin are an almost translucent grey, while all the fins on the underside of the fish range from a dirty yellow to pale pink.

The main way to distinguish the dace is to take a look at its dorsal and anal fins - they curve inwards (concave).






Immediately prior to spawning - around April - the male dave become rough to the touch with their abundance of spawning tubercles. This is the only time of the year you can immediately tell the difference between a male and a female dace.

During February and March male and female dace separate. The males move into fast shallow water, while the females move into deeper and calmer water.

Whe the time comes, the females move upstream into the fast shallows to lay their eggs. The males immediately fertilize them, and some three weeks later the eggs hatch. This spawning process always takes place under the cover of darkness, for reasons of safety.






Dace feed naturally upon all forms of aquatic insect life, taking small mulluscs off the river bed, to interpting flies that inadvertently land on the surface - to all regions between the two.

The best baits to catch dace are quite simple - maggots or casters. And the best method is certainly a stick float, trotted through the fast water glides.





Dace love the faster water. If you are faced with a wide river, search for areas of the river that are narrower and therefore faster than the rest, as it is here you will find dace queuing for food.

The best places to find and catch dace are tiny swift chalkstreams. Dace love places like this.

Dace aren't too keen on bends in the river, instead much preferring to take up station in long straight glides.

A great place that is always favoured by the dace is the run-off of a wier. Here the water is fast, shallow and boily - perfect for these little streamlined fish to intercept their food. 



Look out for...


Look for where a river narrows and speeds up - here you will find dace.


Dace can be found in the turbulent waters downstream of wiers.


Long and straight glides are perfect places to catch dace on the float.



Best baits for catching dace...






Punched bread





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