Where have all the Gudgeon gone ?


Well-known member
I had a gudgeon yesterday and I suddenly realised it was the first I'd had for goodness knows how long.Now I dont fish the places I used to in the same way quite as often as I used to but I'm still trotting maggot/caster/punch often enough to get the odd pongo now and then.

And ruffe...used to catch loads of them.Haven't had one for years.

Is it just modern tactics ?

Fin the Fish

Active member
One of the smallish streams near where I live absolutely teems with fish life of very many species. Since I started fishing there around 10 years ago I've noticed a real decline in gudgeon numbers and size, not to say there arent still a lot in there but im sure its a lot less and they always seem to be tiddlers!

Edit: Tiddlers compared to the size of gudgeon I used to get from there, some of them even went over 6"!

Gary Dolman

Well-known member
I used to fish the Trent in the 60,s 70,s & 80,s, and there used to be loads of monster gudgeon, you know the ones that look like a small wineglass.

I remember Kevin Ashurst winning matches with up to 20 lbs of the blighters, on the pole. They were infected with a tapeworm I think called pomporchrynis Laevis (spelling suspect), but as the trent got cleaner & more species came along numbers diminished. It may have just have been a natural cycle, but it could also have been competition for food.

I fish a local commercial where the bottom of the lake must be paved with gudgeon, and they are quite ambitious in their choice of food, and I have caught them on really large lumps of meat, and big hooks. There are no predators in the water, not even perch as the River Authority will not sanction stocking as the complex drains into the RiverFal catchment area.

There are plenty in the exeter canal, and Rivers Exe & Culme that I fish, but no where near as many or as large as the trent back then.

Bryan Baron 2

Well-known member
think the increase in perch numbers on the Leeds to Liverpool have led to ther downfall there and the Barbel must bemunching through them on the ribble.

Use to spend many a evening fishing the lock flows for them with a small rod am=nd a bucket.

I now satisfy myself with there larger cousins.


Well-known member
Surely the decline of the pongo cant just be down to predation ? There must be other factors at work ?

Sensas used to do a gudgeon groundbait & I'm pretty sure there was a liquid gudgeon attractor too. Stretches of the GUC I used to match fish had 5lb of "bull" pongo on every peg [not 40 to the pound jobs like I had yesterday] and they were a very handy Plan B.

And happened to bleak ?

Bryan Baron 2

Well-known member
Don't know about bleak as they have never been on the ribble to my knowledge.

Dont underestimate predation. Plenty of prey predators grow in number and size. Prey slowly disappears and the predators then decline. Prey increases. Cycle of life.

Dont forget was not long a ago that we had the perch desease.

Though there are other factors i am sure.


Well-known member
Clearly Cakey is gutted ./forum/smilies/smile_smiley.gif

Not convinced the predator argument can account for all of it..My local river has never been overblessed with predators and it still isnt.....but it was full of gudgeon,bleak,ruffe and they just aren't there anymore.The dace & roach have crashed too and I cant blame all of this on cormorant.Crayfish are not [yet] a problem.

Same on the bits of the GUC I used to fish.Now largely fish and angler free.


must admit that when Im perching I can normally find a gudge or two

Ray Daywalker Clarke

Well-known member
I think it is down to the water being to clear now days, the rivers always had a bit of colour and the fish stocks were high, not now. I am sure that all the cleaning of our rivers has taken its toll, fish not breeding, a slow build up of chemicals over the years.

Just my thought's, but I know one thing for fact, the river's aren't what they used to be, and thats not all down to predator's,don't think the Barbel and Carp help much either.


Well-known member
Predation is certainly part of it with barbel now widespread and carp not uncommon in a river which 20 years ago I doubt was seriously worth fishing specifically for either species other than in one or two very well known spots.What bothers me is that a lot of rivers seem to be going the same way...full of lumps with nothing behind them.There are distinct & obvious year classes among the barbel...probably signifying good spawning years & water quality/conditions years back but you dont catch little anything.The barbel are as likely to be over 10lb as under and the chub average 4lb when it used to be full of 2-3 pounders.Are these things beating up & eating all my gudgeon ?

I fear that a crash is inevitable and the river will return to what it was like when I was a boy.Any chub a rarity and small pockets of good sized but very old fish clearly going back.

I never did like ruffe but I do miss the gudgepig.