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What Fish Species Are There In The UK?

What Fish Species Are There In The UK?

We all have fond memories of going to the coast with our grandparents, or heading to the river to get crayfish with your mates. Maybe a few beers, too. But when you’re against the end of the world, there’s no leisure to this – only survival. So, it’s essential you know what to do and

We all have fond memories of going to the coast with our grandparents, or heading to the river to get crayfish with your mates. Maybe a few beers, too.

But when you’re against the end of the world, there’s no leisure to this – only survival. So, it’s essential you know what to do and what to buy when Morrisons is closed, because the fishmonger certainly won’t be there to help you.

The UK’s fish species can generally be categorised into flatfish, roundfish, and others. There are also rare exceptions, like sharks and dolphins, but these tend to have swam in from their usual locations in hotter climates, so they’re hardly worth the mention.

Be prepared to wade through waters you typically wouldn’t expect to, and to use unconventional materials as bait.

In this post, we’ll provide you with a breakdown of fish species found throughout the UK, in freshwater and seawater, including some information about how to catch them, what they look like, and where you can generally expect to find them.


These are the types of fish you’d typically find amusing, however they’re generally considered luxury fish, with many of our international friends choosing these over other freshly caught seafood.

Quite often, rays or skates are considered to be in this family, but they don’t share the same DNA as the ones mentioned below. Find some more species here.


These are left-eyed – meaning, when faced ‘head on,’ both eyes are on the left side of its head. People often mistake this for the turbot due to its colour – brown on top, with a pinker shade mixed with white on the bottom. However, it’s more oval than its lookalike.

These are some of the largest flatfish readily available, with some weighing up to 4.5kg – and your best method of catching them is by using small bits of fish, like mackerel. Small portions of shellfish can be used too, like prawns.

Brill can be caught throughout the year, although they tend to be more common in the later half, through June onwards. You’ll find them in places on the south and west of the UK.


One of the most commonly eaten fish in the UK, the plaice is a medium sized fish that usually comes in at around 1kg. Because of their size, this right-eyed fish contains a lot of meat – and with an extinction rating of ‘Least Concern,’ there’s no need to feel guilty about tucking in.

It’s shaped like an oval, almost diamond-like, and is mostly brown with orange spots and white on its underside. To catch plaice, you can take a similar approach to the brill, with small shellfish like prawns or cockles or bits of crab.

Your best window of opportunity to catch them is in the middle months, from April to October. They do tend to be in medium-depth water, so you may have to venture out a little bit to find success.


These are the other end of the physical spectrum to flatfish, and make up the majority of creatures that swim the bodies and waterways of the UK. They have a spine, and a round cross section that ends in a tail.

Imagine the typical fish you’d draw as a child, and you’re practically bang on. Below are some of the more extreme types of roundfish, including one of the largest, and unfortunately one of the ugliest.

Because there’s so many located around the UK, we recommend getting to grips with what you’ll find, and where, right here.


Ah, yes – the fish and chip shop classic and one of the most notable UK fish species, which fortunately is absolutely massive. When SHTF, you’ve basically struck gold if you can manage to catch one of these. Due to its large size, however, you may have some trouble, especially if you’ve fashioned a fishing rod yourself instead of buying a proper one

But nonetheless, they’re large, delicious, and can be caught with pretty much any object that can be attached to your line – whether that’s other fish, worms, even just random materials found lying around.

Although mostly found in the colder months, they’re present in Scotland throughout the majority of the year. Unfortunately, this is a deep sea dweller so tricky to catch if you don’t have a boat – but they’re worth the trouble.


These can grow massive, although the average weighs approximately 9kg. It’s clear when you’ve found one, thanks to its flat head with what looks like an underbite, and rows of large, strong teeth.

Because of their size, they like to go for larger bits of bait, and whole fish are generally favourable. Catch our unfortunate-looking friend in the warmer months – and head here for more information.

Other Types

There is, of course, a range of other sea creatures you can catch around the UK whether in fresh river water or from the sea. From delicious mussels and scallops to eels favoured by true Cockneys, there really is a huge number of species out there for you to enjoy, thanks to our glorious land being an island.

Not only are you benefitted if a virus spreads around the world, but you also get a large seafood menu, too. One thing that’s also worth noting is fish live everywhere, from the freezing waters of northern Scotland to small rock pools at the beach, and even the warmer southern waters located around Devon and Somerset.



Do your grandad proud by putting those hard-earned fishing skills to the test with one of the many UK fish species. Whether you’re catching giant monkfish in the summer, or going pike fishing in the wintery canals, you will have to apply the same patience and belief across the board.

It can be a challenging activity at the best of times, and it’s definitely something worth looking up before you participate – fortunately, this guide is here to help. But we haven’t even scratched the surface of what you can catch.


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