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Tench - Tinca tinca

Aquatic Invasive Species
Non-native Species
Not Documented

Global Rank: G5
State Rank: SNA
(see State Rank Reason below)

Agency Status


External Links

State Rank Reason (see State Rank above)
A conservation status rank is not applicable because this species is not a suitable target for conservation activities as a result of being exotic or introduced.
General Description
The tench is a large minnow species that looks like a cross between a smallmouth bass and a carp. This species was imported into North America from Germany by the U.S. Fish Commission in 1877 apparently for use as a food and sport fish (Baird 1879). This species has been caught on light angling tackle on lakes in the panhandle of Idaho (D. Stagliano, pers. comm.).

Diagnostic Characteristics
A large bodied, olive to brown colored fish with a barbel in the corner of its mouth and thick caudal peduncle. Total length to about 84 cm (35 inches) long while average length ~40 cm (16 inches).

Range Comments
Native Species Range: Most of Europe, including the British Isles, and parts of western Asia (Berg 1949).

Montana Range: Currently not known to occur in any waterbody in Montana.

Introduced Range Comments:
The tench has been documented as occurring in 38 states. Baughman (1947) indicated that this species was established in California, Colorado, Idaho, Washington, and apparently Oregon; he also quoted information of previously breeding populations in Maryland. In a more recent work, Page and Burr (1991) considered it established in California, Colorado, Connecticut, and Washington, and possibly Delaware, Maryland, and New York. Courtenay et al. (1991) believed it to be established in California, Colorado, Connecticut, Idaho, and Washington.

For maps and other distributional information on non-native species see:
Nonindigenous Aquatic Species Database from the U.S. Geological Survey
Invasive Species Habitat Tool (INHABIT) from the U.S. Geological Survey
Invasive Species Compendium from the Centre for Agriculture and Bioscience International (CABI)
EDDMapS Species Information EDDMapS Species Information

Not known to migrate long distances, most dispersal usually takes place when dams are breached, stock ponds flood or because of intentional releases into the nearby watersheds (Nico et al. 2017).

The species usually occurs in lakes, but is also found in large, slow rivers, ponds and canals.

Food Habits
The diet consists mainly of aquatic insect larvae and molluscs (Scott and Crossman 1973). Moyle (2002) considered it a potential competitor for food with sport fishes and native cyprinids. In their discussion of tench introduced to Africa, de Moor and Bruton (1988) noted that the species is known to stir up bottom sediments, possibly affecting water quality, but not to the extent of common carp Cyprinus carpio.

Moyle (2002) considered it a potential competitor for food with sport fishes and native cyprinids. In their discussion of tench introduced to Africa, de Moor and Bruton (1988) noted that during feeding this species is known to stir up bottom sediments, possibly affecting water quality, but not to the extent of common carp.

Reproductive Characteristics
Reproductive information has not been reviewed, but given it's traditional pond dwelling status, they likely produce eggs that adhere to aquatic vegetation or woody debris.

Preventing the spread of this fish into Montana's western waterbodies from Idaho will likely be due to diligence in making sure no live fish are transported in live wells across state lines (i.e. bucket biology).

Contact information for Aquatic Invasive Species personnel:
Montana Fish, Wildlife, and Parks Aquatic Invasive Species staff
Montana Department of Natural Resources and Conservation's Aquatic Invasive Species Grant Program
Montana Invasive Species Council (MISC)
Upper Columbia Conservation Commission (UC3)

Threats or Limiting Factors
All of the established populations of tench were in areas of predicted high suitability for this species. Interestingly, many areas where tench failed to become established or is currently extirpated (e.g., Great Lakes region) also had a moderate to high predicted suitability. DeVaney et al. (2009) attributed this potentially to negative interactions with sunfishes or unmeasured environmental factors.
There seems to be no limiting factors in the establishment of this species into Montana's waterbodies. It can withstand cold water temperatures that are found in Northern Idaho and would likely survive conditions during a Montana winter.

  • Literature Cited AboveLegend:   View Online Publication
    • Baird SF. United States Commission of Fish and Fisheries, Part V., Report of the Commissioner for 1877. Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office; 1879.
    • Baughman, J.L. 1947. The tench in America. Journal of Wildlife Management 11(3): 197-204.
    • Courtenay, W.R., Jr., D.P. Jennings, and J.D. Williams. 1991. Appendix 2: exotic fishes. 97-107 in Robins, C.R., R.M. Bailey, C.E. Bond, J.R. Brooker, E.A. Lachner, R.N. Lea, and W.B. Scott. Common and scientific names of fishes from the United States and Canada, 5th edition. American Fisheries Society Special Publication 20. American Fisheries Society, Bethesda, Maryland.
    • de Moor, I.J. and M.N. Bruton. 1988. Atlas of alien and translocated indigenous aquatic animals in southern Africa. South African National Scientific Programmes Report 144.
    • DeVaney, S.C., K.M. McNyset, J.B. Williams, A.T. Peterson, and E.O. Wiley. 2009. A tale of four 'carp': invasion potential and ecological niche modeling. PLoS ONE 4(5): e5451.
    • Moyle, P.B. 2002. Inland fishes of California. 2nd edition. University of California Press, Berkeley, CA.
    • Nico, L. , P. Fuller and M. Neilson. 2018. Tinca tinca (Linnaeus, 1758): U.S. Geological Survey, Nonindigenous Aquatic Species Database, Gainesville, FL,, Revision Date: 8/19/2015
    • Page, L.M. and B.M. Burr. 1991. A field guide to freshwater fishes. The Peterson Field Guide Series, Houghton Mifflin Co., Boston. 432 pp.
    • Scott, W.B. and E.J. Crossman. 1973. Rainbow trout, Kamloops trout, Steelhead trout Salmo gairdneri Richardson. pp. 184-191. In: Freshwater fishes of Canada. Ottawa, Canada: Fisheries Research Board of Canada, Bulletin 184. 966 p.
  • Additional ReferencesLegend:   View Online Publication
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    • Berg, L.S. 1949. Freshwater fishes of the U.S.S.R. and adjacent countries, 4th edition. Three volumes. Translated from Russian, 1962-1965, for the Smithsonian Institution and the National Science Foundation, by Israel Program for Scientific Translations, Jerusalem, Israel. Volume 1:504 pp.; volume 2:496 pp.; volume 3:510 pp.
    • Joslin, Gayle, and Heidi B. Youmans. 1999. Effects of recreation on Rocky Mountain wildlife: a review for Montana. [Montana]: Montana Chapter of the Wildlife Society.
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Tench — Tinca tinca.  Montana Field Guide.  .  Retrieved on , from