Grass Carp vs Chub | UK Freshwater Fish Identification

While we are always happy with anything that puts a decent bend in the rod sometimes, we want to target different species. Grass carp and Chub often get confused as they can look pretty similar. However, you can easily tell the difference between grass carp and Chub if you know what to look for. Today we are going to explain these differences to make fish identification easy.

Grass carp look different to Chub in several ways. The most easily identifiable feature is that Chub have a red anal fin, whereas grass chub have brown fins. The dorsal fin of a grass carp is also rounded to the rear, whereas a chub has an angular fin. Chub also have a more rounded face, whereas grass carp are pointier.


Is Chub a Carp?

While they are very easily identifiable given the above differences, it can get confusing, as Chub are actually part of the carp family. The Latin name for this family is Cyprinidae. While it does include Chub, it also includes roach, and indeed goldfish! Who bears little similarity to the type of fish we are used to catching when we say ‘carp’.

How Do You Identify a Chub?

Chub can grow fairly sizeable up to around 9lbs. However, 2-4lbs is the usual average. Chub are a relatively broad fish with uniform scales that are green/brown in colour. Their fins are different in colour. The tail fin is either black or brown, and the fins on a chubs underside have a red tinge.

Chub have fairly large mouths (larger than grass carp) and a rounded face.

The dorsal fin on a chub is relatively angular towards the rear and is normally a pale green or grey colour.

How Do You Identify a Grass Carp?

Grass carp are part of the same family as Chub (Cyprinidae). Grass carp have a cylindrical body with a slightly pointed face. They are a dark yellow to brown colour with fins that are uniform in colour and closely match that of their bodies.

Grass carp have a relatively point face and a smaller mouth, with the top lip in line with their eyes.

The UK grass carp record was 53lb, over 5 times the biggest chub ever caught. That’s pretty hard to mistake!

Grass Carp Vs Chub | Easy Differences Sheet



Grass Carp


Anal Fin ColourBlack or brownRed
Dorsal Spines83
ColourYellowy BrownGreenish Brown
Dorsal ShapeRounded to rearAngular to Rear
Tail ColorPaleDark
Face ShapePointedRounded
Largest caught in the UK53lbs9.2lbs



Can You Catch Carp and Chub in The Same Way?

Considering they are of the same family, the behaviour of grass carp vs Chub is actually very different.

Chub are quite predatory and are very carnivorous. Their usual diet consists of freshwater shrimp, worms, grubs, and bugs. They will also eat smaller fish such as minnows and dace. Bigger Chub have even been known to eat ducklings and frogs!

As a result, aside from using static baits, you can also try fishing for Chub with a lure, although catching them this way isn’t the most effective.

Grass carp behave similarly to other carp species. While they will occasionally eat living creatures like slugs, bugs and worms, they tend to be much more herbivorous. One of their favourite foods is underwater reeds. Hence the name.



While they may look a little similar, when it comes to grass carp vs Chub, there are actually quite a few differences if you know where to look. Fin colour and face shape aside, they actually behave pretty differently. When you consider the size grass carp can grow to compared to Chub, it should be obvious that they are very different fish!