Know your fish - common uk fish breeds infographic

One of the most fantastic aspects of fishing in the UK is the abundance of different breeds to be found along our waterways! To ensure you can tell your next carp from your roach, at The Insurance Emporium, we’ve put together this illustrated guide to common UK freshwater fish breeds!


Pike are fierce freshwater predators! Larger types even manage to catch and eat small mammals and wildfowl! Nearly always caught using dead bait, you’ll also need really strong tackle because pike can grow quite large. They’re common to canals, reservoirs and rivers across the UK.

Looks: large head and eyes, razor sharp teeth, olive and cream coloured scales.

British record catch: 46lb 13oz

Lifespan: up to 25 years

Common Carp

Not actually a native to our waters! The common carp was introduced during the middle ages, when they were particularly popular as a food source in monasteries. They’re omnivorous, but are particularly fond of freshwater mussels, eating them in their entirety, shell and all!

Looks: large, rounded body, grey/bronze colour, barbels (whiskers) around mouth.

British record catch: 68lb 1oz

Lifespan: 25-30 years


Very common in UK freshwater, roach were the most popular fish targeted by coarse anglers in the UK, losing out only recently to carp. They are able to breed with other species of fish such as bream and rudd, so anglers need to watch out that their star catch doesn’t turn out to be a hybrid!

Looks: silver with grey-brown fins, small upturned mouth, rounded body.

British record catch: 4lb 4oz

Lifespan: 8-14 years

Common Bream

Bream can be found in most canals throughout England, although they prefer the deeper sections. A shoaling breed, they tend to be found in large groups, meaning anglers can catch many in quick succession once a shoal has been found! Smaller bream are often referred to as skimmers.  

Looks: deep body with high back and flat sides, dark brown or grey colour.

British record catch: 22lb 11oz

Lifespan: 15-20 years

Three-Spined Stickleback

This little tiddler, the three-spined stickleback is actually an aggressive predator! They feed off invertebrates, tadpoles and smaller fish. Being so small, they’re unlikely to be a top priority for any serious angler, but they’re one of the most common fish to be found in UK freshwater. You’re likely to come across them whilst pond dipping!

Looks: small! Brown back with silvery sides and belly, three sharp spines on its back.

British record catch: 4 dms

Lifespan: 3-5 years

This is just a small selection of the fish out there in our freshwater network, but they’re ones that can be easier to spot! If you’re planning your next angling adventure, you might want to consider protecting your equipment with fishing insurance. At The Insurance Emporium, we offer three different Fishing Insurance policy types, with a range of Optional Benefits to choose from, such as Gadgets and Mobile Phones. We also offer up to 30% discount*. Cast a line down to The Insurance Emporium today to learn more! 

* The 30% discount is made up of 25% Introductory Discount plus 5% Over 60’s Discount (if appropriate). The Introductory Discount is available for the first 12 premium payments on lunar and calendar monthly policies or one premium payment on annual policies.

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