Barbus barbus - Barbel

Phylum: Chordata - Class: Actinopterygii - Order: Cypriniformes - Family: Cyprinidae

Barbel shoal

Barbel have been introduced into some of the rivers of eastern Wales - notably the Wye, the Dee and the upper Severn - and they have done well there (much to the annoyance of some of the game fishery owners, who perceive barbel as competing for food and for spawning area with salmon).

The streamlined barbel can hug the river bed in fast flows while feeding on passing invertebrates. Freshwater shrimps, nymphs and caddis larvae are their staple diet, but they will also take small fishes, crayfish and swan mussels.

Barbel are long-lived fish and can grow to well over 10lb (4kg).


The British record barbel, caught at Adams Mill on the River Great Ouse in Bedfordshire in 2006, weighed 21lb 1oz.The captor was Mr Grahame King.

Excited at the prospect of flyfishing? So are we, and we're pretty sure you would find the Winding River Mystery trilogy of action-packed thrillers gripping reading too. Dead Drift, Dead Cert, and Dead End are Pat O'Reilly's latest river-and-flyfishing based novels, and now they are available in ebook format. Full details on our website here...

Buy each book for just £4.96 on Amazon...

Please Help Us: If you have found this information interesting and useful, please consider helping to keep First Nature online by making a small donation towards the web hosting and internet costs.

Any donations over and above the essential running costs will help support the conservation work of Plantlife, the Rivers Trust and charitable botanic gardens - as do author royalties and publisher proceeds from books by Pat and Sue.

© 1995 - 2024 First Nature: a not-for-profit volunteer-run resource

Please help to keep this free resource online...

Terms of use - Privacy policy - Disable cookies - Links policy