Rudd fish, its habitats, characteristics, fishing methods and techniques.
Native to Europe, this species originally was introduced into New York and recently has spread throughout the southeast as a bait minnow. Rudds are similar in appearance and behavior to the golden shiner. Adults inhabit lakes, rivers, marshlands, canals and ponds where there is very little current. Omnivorous, feed on invertebrates (including insect larvae and adults) and plants. Although adults actively feed on macrophytes present in abundance in the environment, they are not an effective species for the biological clearing of weeds. Colorless or pale yellow eggs are found attached to vegetation in shallow water.
A combination of understanding the fish and the techniques used to catch them will help you to hook more fish to the end of your line. Better knowing and understanding of the fish that you are trying to catch will make you a more successful angler, whether you are fishing for trout on a river or surfing on the beach or trolling on the open water.
Rudd, Scardinius erythrophthalmus, also known as red tail shiners,
Красноперка in Russian, widely spread in Europe and middle Asia in the basins of the North, Baltic, Black, Caspian (from Emba, Ural and Volga to the rivers of the southern coast) and Aral seas.
The Rudd is a medium-sized fish typically attaining about 30 cm and 0.8 kg, with a maximum size of about 45 cm and 2 kg. The body is deep and moderately compressed with an arched back and a scaled keel between the pelvic fins and anus. The lateral line is complete with 37-43 scales and distinctly curved downward anteriorly. The snout is blunt and the mouth is large, terminal, and oblique. The eyes are laterally positioned. The cranium profile is convex to straight, becoming slightly concave in some larger specimens. Gill rakers on the outer arch range in number 10-13. Pharyngeal teeth are strongly serrated and borne on a stout arch. The dental formula is typically 3,5-5,3. The peritoneum is silvery and the intestine is S-shaped. The dorsal-fin origin is markedly posterior to the pelvic-fin insertion. The dorsal fin is slightly falcate and has 8-10 dorsal soft rays. The anal fin is moderately falcate and has 9-13 soft rays. The caudal fin is moderately forked, with the lower lobe slightly longer than the upper.
Coloration of non-nuptial adult Rudd is silvery with yellow-lime sheen on the upper sides grading to brassy on the back. Pigmentation on the back varies depending on the color of the habitat substrate. Fish from pale substrates often lack the distinctive broad middorsal stripe and have a dorsum that is silvery, brassy, or with lime sheen. The dorsal surface of the head is straw-olive in color. The cheeks and opercles are silver. All the fins are reddish and the ventral fins are brilliant blood red. The median fins as having a rose-orange wash and the paired fins as rose-orange (especially in the leading rays). The iris of the eye is golden with a red fleck above. The Rudd also has a golden color morph that is sometimes used as an ornamental pond fish.
In nuptial males, the venter is silver and the sides are brassy progressing to bright translucent orange along the midback. The back and upper sides are olive-black anterior and posterior to the dorsal fin. The dorsal surface of head is translucent orange. Cheeks and opercles are brassy-orange. The lips are orange and the iris is orange dorsally. The distal 2/3 of the dorsal fin is bright red, and the basal third is paler with oliveblack along the rays. The anal and caudal fins are bright red with distinct pale margins. Paired fins are red except the posterior 3-5 rays, which are pale. The coloration of mature females is similar to males, but more subdued.
Nuptial males develop fine tubercles on the head and body. Two small (76 and 81 mm) sexually mature males reared in the laboratory exhibited fine, densely spaced tubercles on the head, anterior part of the body, and rays of pectoral, dorsal, and anal fins. Tubercles have not been reported in females. In both sexes, the urogenital opening is presenting just posterior to the anus and is located in a fleshy pit. The female urogenital opening is about twice the size of the male opening and is ringed with fleshy protuberances.
The Rudd is distinguished from native North American cyprinids by two characteristics. The Rudd has a scaled midventral keel and a 3,5-5,3 pharyngeal tooth formula. The blood-red color of the pelvic and anal fins in specimens about >40 mm may have diagnostic utility. The Rudd is most similar in appearance to the Golden Shiner, the only native North American cyprinid having a midventral keel. However, the keel of the Golden Shiner is scaleless, whereas the keel of the Rudd is crossed with scales. In Rudd X Golden Shiner hybrids the keel is partially scaled. In both species the fins may be brightly colored; however, the fins of adult Golden Shiners are typically orange or reddish-orange, whereas those of Rudd are generally blood red. If there is any question of identity, the pharyngeal arches should be examined. The pharyngeal teeth of Rudd are in two rows (3,5-5,3); those of the Golden Shiner are in a single row (0,5-5,0). Newly hatched larvae possess adhesive organs on the head and anterior trunk. Adhesive organs have not been observed in the Golden Shiner The Rudd has been reported to hybridize with a number of Old World cyprinids, including Goldfish, Common Carp, and Tench. There is one report of Rudd and Northern Pike hybridization. The Rudd has also been artificially hybridized with Golden Shiner.
Habitat and Habits
The Rudd occurs in a variety of freshwater habitats, including subalpine oligotrophic lakes, lowland lakes, reservoirs, ponds, large rivers, oxbows, small streams, thermal springs, and in some areas, it enters brackish water. The species occupies sites that range in elevation from sea level to 1,829 m. The Rudd’s tolerance of a variety of habitats has likely contributed to its wide distribution. In streams and rivers, it usually occurs in long, slow pools and backwaters. In ponds, lakes and reservoirs, it is usually found in the littoral zone. The species is commonly associated vegetation that serves both as cover and a principal component of the diet. The Rudd is able to tolerate low levels of salinity and is known to naturally enter brackish water. Individuals have also been captured in the northern Baltic Sea at a salinity of 7 ppt.
The Rudd has a diverse diet. Rudd first began to feed unicellular algae and some phytoplankton. At approximately 10 mm the fish shifted their diet to cladocerans and copepods. Other items in the diet included larvae and pupae of chironomids, flies, and springtails, as well as a variety of small terrestrial insects. Adult Rudd (2+ years) are omnivorous, feeding mainly on aquatic vegetation as well as surface and aerial insects, snails, crustaceans, diatoms, and occasionally fish eggs, copepods, ostracods, amphipods, and occasionally small fishes.
Age at maturity varies with geographic latitude. Males may be sexually mature from 1-4 years and females from 2-5 years. Spawning occurs in late spring and summer when water temperatures are above 16 °C. The Rudd may be a portional spawner, producing two batches of eggs in a spawning season; the first batch being larger than the second. 80,000-232,000 eggs per female per kg of body mass.
In preparation for spawning, mature males appear at the breeding sites first. Females are present 6-8 days later, although actual spawning reportedly does not occur for another 2-3 weeks. Large numbers of fish are involved in the spawning activities, with local aggregations near dense submerged vegetation. The adhesive eggs are shed on vegetation, usually along the shoreline, on rocky substrata close to the banks of a reservoir. The Rudd is also known to join in the spawning shoals of other cyprinids.
Rudd eggs are demersal and adhesive, and newly fertilized eggs are translucent pale yellow to opaque gray-green. Developmental rates vary widely with temperature. Incubation time ranged from 4-5 days at 17.5-21.5 °C to 19-20 days at 10.5-11.5 °C. Larvae are about 4.5-5.9 mm at hatching.
The most favoured method is float fishing on the drop. A small waggler fished with little or no weight on the main line which should be about 1m in length. Maggot, castor or bread either punched or a small flake allowed to sink slowly through the water, with loose fed samples of the same, will tempt the Rudd to feed. One method that can be exceptional is punched bread used with a bread and water loose feed. The bread should be allowed to soak in water until it literally becomes a sloppy mix. Mash the bread into small particles and then drain off the excess water. Fed loosely with punched bread on the hook it will tempt even the most reluctant fish.
Essentially the Rudd is a shy feeder, therefore tackle should be kept light and every effort must be made not to spook the shoal once one of it's members have been caught. A hooked fish needs to be guided away from the shoal quickly. This can be done by lowering the rod level to the bank after striking and at the same time draw the rod backwards reeling in any loose line.