Ruffe (Gymnocephalus cernuus)
00lb 05ozs 04dms (0.148 kg) 1980 – private lake in Cumbria
When fishing some rivers, canals and even stillwaters you may well catch a fish which closely resembles the perch but has spotted flanks instead of stripes. This little, almost prehistoric looking fish is the Ruffe which is a member of the perch family.
Ruffe are extremely resilient and hardy fish and will feed in conditions and temperature when most other fish are lying dormant. Often you will get a bite from a Ruffe when nothing else is feeding at all.
Ruffe are predominantly bottom feeders but unlike the perch rarely grow to more than 15-16 cm in length. They are an extremely bony fish and as such are not the first choice prey for most predators.
In Scotland their resilience and feeding habits have brought have made them extremely unpopular on Salmon rivers where they are often blamed for eating the eggs and ova of salmonid species.
Many people believe that the Ruffe was introduced to Scotland by anglers who transported them from England to use as bait for pike.
It is however more likely that they were transported to Scotland as eggs trapped in freshwater ballast collected from English rivers by cargo ships and barges making the return trip to Scotland empty, or fry accidently introduced along with other species.
Fishing for Ruffe
Ruffe can be caught on any method but have a preference for worms and maggots fished hard on the bottom. For this reason feeder or ledger tactics are often the most productive