Gudgeon (Gobio gobio))

Irish Record  0.051 kilo, taken on 26.02.2022 by Terry Jackson at Portna Canal

Specimen 35grams or 1.23oz or 14 cms fork length


Gudgeon have plenty of tell-tale characteristics that define it as a river-dwelling, bottom feeding fish. The body is streamlined, with a powerful tail and long pectoral and dorsal fins. It is a pity that it only grows to a few ounces! The mouth is below the top lip, ideal for picking up aquatic larvae and foodstuff on the river-bed. The under-belly is light silver with flecks of iridescent blue running through the flanks, leading on to bronze-green back. There are two barbules, one on each side of the mouth.

Where to catch

Gudgeon are prolific throughout Ireland’s river systems, particularly the cleaner water ways. From my own experiences, the Blackwater in the North of Ireland, the Upper and Lower Bann systems and the upper reaches of the River Lagan all contain reasonably healthy numbers of this small but beautiful member of the cyprinid family.

They are almost without exception, only found in moving water systems, where they sit tight to the river bed feeding on small larvae and crustaceans. Numbers fluctuate from year to year, most likely due to local pollution. However, they can usually be found quite easily, especially if the Roach have moved out of the swim, giving the tiny Gudgeon a chance to take the hook bait.

Irish Specimen Gudgeon

Do not, for a minute think the bite indication will be in proportion to the fish! On many occasions I have lifted into a fabulous bite, only to find this “Mini-Barbel” hanging on my hook!

A whole shoal of Specimens

When to catch

Gudgeon can be caught throughout the year, including the winter “flood” months, but are more prolific through the standard coarse season of April-September.


Maggots, Caster and Pinkies are the usual bait, or a small piece of worm, although they have a particular fondness for Bloodworm, both in the feed and on the hook.

Fresh Casters

And maggots of course


It is fair to say that Gudgeon are rarely targeted as a species, but are usually caught by happy accident, and personally, are always a delight to see. Match anglers may target this species on hard waters where little else is present. As far as methods are concerned, any system that presents a bait tight to the bottom will suffice. Ledgering would be the obvious choice, or fishing the pole (short line), with hooks scaled down in size accordingly. Having said that, it always amazes me when a Gudgeon shows up on a size twelve hook and four maggots!

Enlarge Image