Species of UK
Description, baits and methods for catching Gudgeon
Common name: Gudgeon
Latin name: Gobio gobio
UK Rod Caught Coarse Fish Record
gobio) 5oz 1990 D H Hull, River Nadder, Sutton Mandeville, Wilts
Description and Habitat of Gudgeon
Gudgeon are sometimes mistaken for small baby barbel but can very
easily be identified. The gudgeon has two barbules ( one barbule
either side of its mouth ) as opposed to the barbel which has four and
the stone loach which has six barbules. Gudgeon are bottom feeders and
these barbules are used to search for food on the river bed ( lake,
canal, or water it lives).
It has a rounded, elongated body with a slightly flattened belly and
rather large scale less head with an under slung mouth with thick
lips. Both dorsal and anal fins are short and heavily spotted.
Coloration of the gudgeon is silvery blue or greeny brown on the back
with a row of large, dark spots on the yellowish flanks.
Predominantly found in rivers or fast moving streams, the gudgeon can
be found in most waters across England and Wales, but they are rather
scarce in Scotland due probably to the different water quality.
noted as preferring the faster running waters with a gravel bottom
where they search for food. They are a shoal fish often found in large
shoals. Catch one and your likely to catch many more. Being rather
easy to catch the gudgeon is a good fish to target when teaching
beginners to fish. Fished for on the bottom with light tackle using
the humble maggot for bait they fight reasonably well for their size.
The gudgeon has saved many a match angler from blanking on hard days.
Gudgeon feed on bottom dwelling organisms and a variety of
invertebrates and insect larvae such as midge, caddis-fly, bloodworm,
may-fly larvae, crustaceans and molluscs.
The fish rarely grow to more than six or seven inches in length and
maturity is reached in the second to third year. They spawn in the
early summer between April and July in shallow water at night and
usually over sandy gravel.
The Compleat Angler, by Izaak Walton 1653
The fourth day-continued
Of the Gudgeon, the Ruffe, and the Bleak
"The GUDGEON is reputed a fish of excellent taste, and to be very
wholesome: he is of a fine shape, of a silver colour, and beautified
with black spots both on his body and tail. He breeds two or three
times in the year, and always in summer. He is commended for a fish of
excellent nourishment: the Germans call him Groundling., by reason of
his feeding on the ground; and he there feasts himself in sharp
streams, and on the gravel. He and the barbel both feed so, and do not
hunt for flies at any time, as most other fishes do: he is a most
excellent fish to enter a young angler, being easy to be taken with a
small red-worm, on or near to the ground. He is one of those
leather-mouthed fish that has his teeth in his throat, and will hardly
be lost off from the hook if he be once strucken.
They be usually scattered up and down every river in the shallows, in
the heat of summer; but in autumn, when the weeds begin to grow sour
and rot, and the weather colder, then they gather together, and get
into the deep parts of the water, and are to be fished for there with
your hook always touching the ground, if you fish for him with a
float, or with a cork; but many will fish for the Gudgeon by hand,
with a running-line upon the ground, without a cork, as a trout is
fished for; and it is an excellent way, if you have a gentle rod and
as gentle a hand."
Methods for catching Gudgeon:
Any method can be adopted for catching gudgeon but fishing with light
tackle is more productive and more fun. Try float fishing with maggot
or any of the baits listed below on or just off the bottom. Once you
start catching keep the fish interested by loose feeding. Groundbait
can also be used but make sure this is mixed so that is sinks to the
bottom before breaking up or you may disperse the shoal.
Baits for catching Gudgeon:
Maggot, caster, red worm, brandling, pieces of worm, small pieces of
bread, bread punch, bloodworm - although I consider buying bloodworm
as bait for general gudgeon fishing to be expensive )