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The common dace (Leuciscus leuciscus), the dace or Eurasian dace /ˈds/, is a fresh- or brackish-water fish belonging to the family Cyprinidae. It is an inhabitant of the rivers and streams of Europe north of the Alps as well as in Northern Asia. It is abundant in much of its range, and has also spread to Ireland where it is used as a bait fish. It will grow to a maximum length of 40 cm (1 ft 4 in), a maximum weight of 1 kg (2.2 lb), and may live for up to 16 years.

Common dace
Leuciscus leuciscus.jpg
Leuciscus leuciscus drawing.jpg
Scientific classification edit
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Actinopterygii
Order: Cypriniformes
Family: Cyprinidae
Subfamily: Leuciscinae
Genus: Leuciscus
L. leuciscus
Binomial name
Leuciscus leuciscus

The common dace natively lives in a temperate climate and prefers water with a 6.0 to 8.0 pH and an ideal temperature range of 4 to 22 °C (39–72 °F). It prefers clear streams flowing over a gravelly bottom, and deep, still water, keeping close to the bottom in winter, but disporting itself near the surface in the sunshine of summer. It is preyed upon by the larger predaceous fishes of fresh waters, and owing to its silvery appearance is a favourite bait in pike angling. Its flesh is wholesome and is sometimes caught for food, but is not held in much esteem. While typically a freshwater fish, the dace enters brackish waters in the eastern Baltic Sea.

The dace is an exceedingly prolific, lively, active fish of gregarious habits, depositing its pale, yellow eggs in the spring at the roots of aquatic plants or in the gravelly beds of the shallow, flowing streams it frequents. It poses a risk as a potential pest in some areas. In appearance it closely resembles the roach in both size and shape, with the head and back of a dusky blue color and the sides of a shining silvery aspect, with numerous dark lines running along the course of the scales. The ventral and anal fins are white, tinged with pale red, and the dorsal, pectoral and caudal tipped with black. The dace feeds on worms, insects, insect-larvae, snails, and also vegetable matter, albeit rarely.

In the United States, the name of dace is also applied to members of other genera of the family; the horned dace is a well-known species.

Fishing for DaceEdit

The most popular method for fishing for Dace is using a light float fishing setup. Typically bites from this fish occur when a bait is falling through the water levels. The Dace is not a particularly fussy eater and will take most baits including bread flake / bread punch, a small garden worm or bloodworm. Maggots and casters are the most popular baits to fish for Dace, and these are typically combined with hemp seed which is used as a loose feed, fed in to the swim to get the fish biting.

Dace are known to respond to dry flies, particularly in the summer months.

See alsoEdit


  • Freyhof, J. (2011). "Leuciscus leuciscus". The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. IUCN. 2011: e.T11887A97808936. doi:10.2305/IUCN.UK.2008.RLTS.T11887A3312583.en. Retrieved 13 January 2018.
  • "Leuciscus leuciscus". Integrated Taxonomic Information System. Retrieved 4 October 2004.
  • Froese, Rainer, and Daniel Pauly, eds. (2004). Leuciscus leuciscus in FishBase. September 2004 version.
  •   This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainChisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Dace". Encyclopædia Britannica (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press.

External linksEdit