River, Lakes, Ponds, Estuaries
4 - 15 pounds
16" - 33"
The Tench is a popular freshwater gamefish that was introduced in the US during the 1870s from Germany specifically for game fishing. They have small, coarse, scales and are yellow-olive in hue. They have stocky body and their eyes are small. Their mouths are narrow and they have barbels in their lower jaws (like some carps). They use their barbels to search for ground-dwelling prey such as snails, and mosquito larvae, and other insects. Tench also eat plant matter such as algae.
They are hardy fish that can survive waters that are low in oxygen (that sometimes something a carp cannot even survive). They prefer warm still-waters of lakes, ponds, slow-moving rivers, and estuaries. Their habit is mostly surrounded by clay, muddy, with abundant vegetation.
The tench is pretty small. The average size of this fish is 16 inches and they can grow as long as 33 inches. The average weight is 4 ½ lbs and can get as heavy as 15 lbs. Females are generally bigger than the males. You can tell if the tench is male by their fleshy anal fins.
The tench is scattered across the U.S. from the eastern Pacific to western Atlantic oceans. They can be found in the still-waters of Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware Florida, Idaho, Washington, Oregon, and Virginia; the Chesapeake Bay.
The best time to fish some tench is from May to June where they spawn and where the waters are warm. They will aggregate to warm shallow waters where they will lay their eggs on aquatic plants. They tend to breed at temperatures of 68°-88°F. They also breed at temperatures such as 50°-60.8°F but they tend to mature and breed slower with these temperatures.
Tench is popular to fly fish in the UK, but the US is slowly catching up. Anglers who are looking for a challenge should definitely try the elusive and picky tenches.
Since tench are bottomfeeders. Look for the shallow area where it’s muddy and close to some vegetation or weeds where they most likely eat or take shelter. Also, check for some slight movements in the water. Once you’ve found your spot, set up your gear and baits. Anglers recommend putting as much bait you think you need in that part, then just wait for the fish to bite. Don’t cast your bait too close to the tench, or else you might scare the fish.
Anglers found success using a 6-foot medium action rod with a 6lb to 8lb monofilament line. Use hook sizes ranging from 8-18 depending on the size of tench that you want to catch. For bait recommendations - you can use red-colored maggots, a combination of corn and pellet feeders, or pop-ups. The best lure for tench is worms rigs since it’s one of their favorite meals.