Dace - (Leuciscus leuciscus)

Dace are a small slim silver fish with a narrow head and a grey or dark green back, they tend to grow no larger than a pound and can often be confused with juvenile chub.

To distinguish a dace from a chub it is best to check their anal fin, dace have a concave fin (curved inwards) and chub have a convex fin (rounded)


Dace reach sexual maturity within 3 years and spawn in shallow gravel bottomed water during darkness in March & April - they spawn at night in order to avoid predation. Once fertilised the eggs take up to a month to develop due to the cold climatic conditions of early spring. Once hatched the small fish will form a shoal and begin to feed on any tiny aquatic life they can find.

Natural Diet & Common Baits

Dace are not fussy when it comes to food, they will happily feed on flies, moths or any insect larvae drifting through the current.

Dace will take a variety of bait and some of the bests baits to try if aiming for them are bread, casters, maggots and worms.


Dace are very much a shoal fish and can sometimes be found in very significant numbers. They tend to inhabit the fast flows of a river as they enjoy to take up position in the main flow and grab any tasty morsel that is carried on the current.

A good place to find them is the strong currents below weir pools, or any part of the river which narrows, as this provides a faster current which dace love.

Once a shoal of dace has been located, It is always worth trotting a bait down the side of the shoal near the slacker water, as this tends to be the area where larger dace can be found, hanging back from the main shoal.

Tackle & Tips

  • A good light float rod & reel loaded with 2-3lb line is perfect for dace fishing - Although dace are not a large fish, they do provide great sport on light float fishing tackle

  • Size 18 or 20 hooks are an ideal size for dace, you should only need to go smaller if you begin to miss a lot of bites

  • A great bait to use if you see any on the banks is Elderberry, not only is it free, it's also a natural bait which dace feed upon

  • Trotting a float through the slack areas of fast water is a great way of getting a larger specimen