How to Catch Roach in Winter

Looking for tips on how to catch roach in winter? Grab a cuppa and settle down as we run through some great fish catching methods!

how to catch roach in winter

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What is a Roach?

Roach or Rutilus rutilus (scientific name) is slim-bodied with a grey-blue back.

The flanks are a bright silver, and with the exception of its anal fin, roach have orange fins, but these do turn more red in older specimens.

Usually found in large shoals, they have small mouths with to extending over the bottom – indicating a preference to bottom feeding.

They are closely related to Rudd and Bream, and catching one close to 2lb would be classed as a ‘specimen Roach’.

A Roach’s Diet

Roach largely feast on aquatic vegetation, small water snails, blood worms and insects.

They feed all through the year and are known to be a scavenger species.

Baits we all love such as sweetcorn, maggots and worms are highly effective, with bread flake deserving a particular mention for targeting larger Roach.

what bait to catch roach
Courtesy of the Canal & River Trust

How to catch roach in winter: Key Tips

If you want to know how to catch roach in winter, knowing seasonal patterns can really help!

During the summer months, they will mostly be up towards the surface to feed on insects, whereas in winter, they huddle up to form large shoals and dive down to deeper water.

Targeting these deeper ‘hotspots’ throughout the colder months can yield a pretty good return!

Baits such as sweetcorn and maggots, which offer lots of movement and attraction, are sure to land you a consistent stream of roach in your net.

fishing for roach in winter

Top 10 Winter Roach Fishing Tips

We’ve compiled a list of handy tips on how to catch roach in winter.

This includes bait, methods and roach location.

1. Use Groundbait When Float Fishing

roach groundbait

This method works well if you’re fishing a fishery that is busy, or is well fished.

Groundbait is used to attract  roach into your swim, with a scattering a maggots over the top will help roach stay there!

As roach usually stay in shoalsm, you can be sure your float will be dipping under regularly.

2. Use Fresh Bait

It may seem like common sense to use fresh bait when catching roach in winter, but it really does matter!

This applies mainly to maggots.

The softer and fresher the maggot, the more roach you will catch- honestly!

Whichever tackle shop you use, ask when their maggot deliveries are, and then you can weigh up when to pick up a pint or two of fresh ones.

Tip: Riddle the sawdust out and replace with maize flour. This softens the skins for an even fresher tasting bait!

fresh maggots to catch roach

3. Fishing At Range For Roach

If fishing larger venues such as reservoirs or gravel pits, trying to cast maggots at range can be a catastrophe!

There is one rig that stands out to help you chuck bait further – and that is the helicopter rig.

Just remember to clip-up the line so you can keep casting to the same spot.

Try to paint a fresh patch of bait on the bottom of the lakebed by casting a few times to this exact spot, and you’ll be bagging up roach all day long!

4. Use a Method Feeder To Target Big Roach

Method fishing is hugely popular – and it can be a great way to target bigger roach on the bottom!

Crushed hemp and a dedicated roach groundbait can really cause mayhem in your swim.

5. Use Bread In Rivers, Not Just Lakes

Its often mentioned that roach in still waters can be very picky with bait, but in rivers, they are total scavengers!

Using a combination of bread flake and liquidised crumb in a feeder is a great starting point for targting roach in your local river.

Give it a try – the results mat surprise you!

river fishing for roach

6. Spice Up Your bait

Seasoned anglers will know that spicing up baits like maggots, casters and groundbait can turn a dead swim into an active one.

I like to add turmeric to my maggots if things are quiet.

Roach love the curry-like essence and because the powder turns maggots golden, this can really draw attention to your spot!

What Baits Attract Roach in Winter?

Roach like to feed on many baits all year round.

Although you may of heard or used these baits, I’ve put together a list of baits roach like to munch.


Dark coloured dead maggots can consistently put roach in your net all day long. Casters are much easier to hook too.


Wriggly, smelly and full of flavour, roach absolutely love maggots. Try using 2 or 3 for singling out those specimen roach!


Perhaps an under-rated roach bait, maize works well for snaring larger roach in stillwaters and rivers.

Mini Boilies

10mm boilies seem like a large bait, but if you want to target bigger roach, these work just fine.


Used to attract and hold a shoal of roach in your swim, groundbait is a killer bait for both match fishing and casual coarse anglers.


Its very cheap and best used in running water, unless punched.

Hooker Pellets

Roach love fishmeal, so what better way to fish for them than attaching a soft pellet to your hair?

By reading our fishing tips, we hope you have learned something about how to catch roach in winter.

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Last update on 2022-05-23 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API