With a gaping mouth and fan-like pectoral fins, the bullhead, or miller’s thumb, lurks beneath stones and is a fearsome predator of a small stream, despite being only a few inches long.
This fish has a high tolerance to brackish water and can be found in salt marshes as well as inland streams. The male builds a nest for the young, which he defends until they are independent.
Often abundant in well-oxygenated streams and rivers, they are a favoured food of kingfishers, herons and other fish. In late spring the males develop striking red bellies before breeding.
The ‘lady of the stream’ is one of our most beautiful fish. With a sail-like dorsal edged in red and shimmering spotted flanks, the grayling is believed in some cultures to feed on gold.
A sleek silver fish that thrives between beds of water crowfoot over fast gravel runs, the dace is a close relative of the chub but has a smaller mouth and concave edges to its fins.
Having spent most of its life as a larva in the silt of the stream bed, the brook lamprey only develops into adult form to breed. The short-lived mature fish have mouth-parts but no digestive system.
The brown trout is often at its most beautiful in small streams where its delicate ink-dropped flanks glisten in the clear water. Much sought by anglers who use artificial flies to attract them.
Widespread in clear water streams with sand or gravel beds, the eel-shaped stone loach is largely nocturnal and uses three pairs of barbels that surround an underslung mouth to search for food.
In deeper, slower-moving streams, the brassy-flanked chub will grow surprisingly large. It is an unfussy eater with a large mouth and fearsome teeth that it uses to break down food.
Choose a subscription offer to suit you and benefit from generous savings on the shop price, free UK delivery and discounts off special editions and back issues.