Chub - Leuciscus Cephalus

About the Chub.
The chub can be found in the majority of England's rivers as well as many river systems throughout Europe. They prefer warmer waters and are not common to cold Scottish rivers nor are they found in Ireland. The chub is related to the dace and belongs to the carp family, Cyprinidae. It is a popular sport fish yet is not caught to eat as its flavour is not as palatable as other species of fish.

Chub Identification

The chub or Leuciscus Cephalus, as it is known in Latin, is a fairly large fish with a thick body and a large head.

Its sides are a lovely shimmering bronze colour, which turns to white on its underside, and its back has a greenish brown hue.

The chub's pelvic and anal fins are bright red or orange whilst the dorsal and caudal fins are dark blue to black.

Although the chub is very similar in appearance to the dace, it is easy to tell them apart. Generally the chub is larger, its colouring on its sides is lighter and more bronzed than the dace, and the chub's dorsal fins are convex whilst those of the dace are indented and slightly concave.

The chub has a large toothless mouth with thick rubbery lips, although it has strong pharyngeal teeth, which it uses to crush its food.

The chub is one of the greediest fish around and has a voracious appetite, yet at the same time it is one of the hardest fighting and aggressive species. When fishing for chub, you have to be silent and move with utmost stealth, as this fish is scared easily and will disappear for hours if spooked.

Chub Habitat

The chub is found in most rivers within England and Europe and is a popular fish to catch.

They are not generally found in upland waters as they prefer the steady flow of low land or middle river systems.

This species of fish are not particularly energetic and they tend to hang about the water's edge amongst the weeds, river plants and overhanging trees, searching for food.

Chub are often found resting and in the afternoon they may be seen in shallow waters taking in the sun. Good spots to find them are shallow gravel bars, gravel pits or in undercut banks, away from the fast flow of the river where they can take it easy and save their energy.

The chub prefers clean, unpolluted waters, with a gravely or stony bed, where they are able to lay their eggs.

Natural Chub Food

The chub eats just about anything found in the water and around the water's edge. It mainly lives on small fish, insects such as beetles, moths and grubs, insect larvae, worms, small molluscs, shrimp and ripe fruit, berries or seeds that fall from nearby trees into the water.

The chub is extremely greedy and will eat most things; its strong pharyngeal teeth enable it to crush the shells of small crustaceans such as snails and crayfish.

Chub Reproduction

Chub generally spawn between the months of April and June when the adult chubs swim upstream and the females lay their eggs over gravel, debris or weeds in the shallow waters of gravel runs or the like. The male chub passes over the eggs, which are then fertilised.

The female can lay up to 100,000 eggs at a time, which after fertilisation, hatch within eight to ten days. The small chub, or fry, then feed on plankton and similar microscopic organisms.

Chub are often found in large shoals, even when they reach a mature age.

The Chub's Vital Statistics

  • Average weight: 2lb - 3lb (1kg - 1.4kg)
  • Average length: between 25cm and 50cm
  • Specimen weight: anything over 5lb
  • Life-span: 10-12 years or more
  • Current UK record: 9lbs 5 ounces (River Lea in Essex)

Rivers with big chub include:


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