The gudgeon is a very short, small, lightweight but powerful fish that can easily be mixed up with a baby barbel. It very rarely reaches lengths above 4-5ins, and weights over 3oz.

They are quite easy to catch, and once you catch one you can normally catch plenty more as they are a shoaling species that roam around the bottom of rivers, canals and stillwaters in fairly substantial shoals.

They may be small fish but they are great fun to catch on very light tackle or when using a short whip and fishing 'to hand'.




The gudgeon is a very sleek little fish that is perfectly shaped to ensure that it can easily combat powerful flowing water. The head is very aerodynamic while the body tapers away steadily.

The fins are long and sleek, the tail is long and the mouth is underslung, clearly giving the ganme away that the gudgeon is a bottom-feeding species.

Colouration of the gudgeon is quite different to that of the barbel - barbel are a bronze colour while the gudgeon is a silver/blue colouration.

Both the barbel and gudgeon (and the stone loach) has tentacle-like barbules hanging down from the underside of the mouth. These are used to locate and search for food within sand and gravel on the bottom.

Barbel have four barbules, stone loach have six barbules, while the gudgeon has only two - one at either side of the mouth.





Gudgeon can be found in lots of different venues right across England and Wales, but the low temperatures and very different water quality in Scotland proves a problem for the gudgeon and they are few and far between over the border.

This little powerful fish thrives and does best in rivers of all sizes, particularly when the water flows over long glides of gravel or sand.

Gudgeon have made their way into canals across the country. Here they seem to have adapted quite well even though the water tends to run over either clay or silt.

By far the second best place to find good colonies of gudgeon is in the many gravel pits dotted across the country. Here they will find great feeding areas (over the gravel and sand) but no flowing water. This doesn't seem to pose these little bottom-feeders with any real problems.




Breeding amongst the gudgeon fraternity takes place in the late spring where the shoals group together tightly and seek out shallower areas of gravel or soft weed. The females lay their eggs and then the males frantically intercept the freshly laid eggs to fertilise them.

The tiny gudgeon eggs take only 10-12 days to hatch.






The favourite morsel in a gudgeon's diet has to be the freshwater shrimp - they adore these protein-packed invertebrae, but gudgeon will seek out any organisms living within the sand or gravel bottom, from water fleas to tiny moscs - the gudgeon will eat them all.

The best baits to use to catch a gudgeon or 100 are any of our three maggot types, casters, bloodworm or small pieces of broken worm.

Gudgeon are also very fond of groundbait too. They particularly like dark groundbait mixes that sink to the bottom like stones before breaking down and releasing their scent particles.


Look out for...


Find gudgeon in open water swims in gravel pits and lakes.

Given the choice, gudgeon prefer streams and rivers running over gravel.

Many canals hold gudgeon - try fishing the nearside shelf with a whip.


Best baits for catching a gudgeon...









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