Alburnus alburnus

Current British record: 4oz (1998) D Flack, River Lark, Cambridgeshire


This species has a lengthy body and a pointed head with a small mouth, their bottom lip protrudes similar to the Rudd, identifying it as a surface feeder. The Bleak boasts a shiny silver colour and a long anal fin. The Bleak’s back is darker in colour and its fins are pointed and have no specific colour.


These fish are very small and are known for their speed, with an average weight of 1 to 2 ounces this is not a fish that will break a sweat when reeling in. The UK record is just over 4 ounces. It may be small but it’s a great achievement.


The average length for an adult Bleak ranges between three to six inches from tip to tail.


The Bleak lead a relatively short life compared to other fish, its average age ranges between 3 to 6 years.


Bleak thrive in lower UK rivers where the water runs at a slower pace. You will find Bleak in the upper parts of the water as this favours their feeding style of eating from the surface. It is only when the water temperature drops that a Bleak will take itself to the lower regions of its environment.


Bleak are designed for speed and work in large shoals to hunt their food. Bleak work together in river junctions where the food double with both intakes. Their hunger for food along with their mass in numbers is perfect for any match angler who wants a large quality in a short amount of time.


When shoaling together Bleak will eat anything that passes its nose. Bleak have a natural diet of fleas, insects, midges and water daphnia! If you’re out to catch a bag of Bleak then a small hook with a maggot of two will keep you going for a long time. If you catch one then chances are in your favour of catching another, Bleak will usually be caught on the drop! Whether your floating or just free lining your will not fail when they are about.


These guys mature fast compared to other fish. They will be on top form between the ages of one to three years.


Bleak tend to choose the months of April to June as their optimum time of year to spawn. This can change slightly if the waters are not around 15 degrees. Females will lay around 5,000 eggs per ounce of weight. The eggs will attach themselves to plants and gravel and once hatched they will be half the adult size within a year.

Other info

Bleak have paper thin scales and will fall off with east if man handled, Take care with these fish as their scares are there for a reason.


All information is from a variety of sources, if you think we have missed something? Email with your update.

See you on the bank.

The Fishing UK Team!