Fishes of Bangladesh

The following fishes are the most targeted species by anglers in Bangladesh. Among them rohu and catla are the most desirable. Beside these, wallago attu or boal fish is widely caught countrywide.

Rui/ Rohu

Rui/ Rohu

Bengali name: রুই

Common English: Rohu

Scientific name: Labeo rohita

Rohi or Rohu (Labeo rohita, Bengali: রুই) is a fish of the carp family Cyprinidae, found commonly in rivers and freshwater lakes in and around South Asia and South-East Asia. It is a herbivore. It is treated as a delicacy in Bangladesh, Nepal and the Indian states of Orissa, Assam, West Bengal, Bihar, and Uttar Pradesh. It is called rahu in Nepali.In Hindi it is called rehu (rawas is the Indian Salmon, which is quite different). It is called rohi in Oriya, rui in Bengali, rou in Assamese and Sylheti, rohu itself in Malayalam, and is reared in Kerala. It is popular in Thailand, Bangladesh, northern India, and Pakistan. It is a non-oily/white fish. During the early stages of its lifecycle, it eats mainly zooplankton, but as it grows, it eats more and more phytoplankton, and as a juvenile or adult is a herbivorous column feeder, eating mainly phytoplankton and submerged vegetation. It has modified, thin hair-like gill rakers, suggesting that it feeds by sieving the water.

This is one of the most targeted game fishes in Bangladesh among anglers. This fish is known locally as ‘the king of fishes’. Found in freshwater bodies, rarely in brackish water; some common habitats are- ponds, ditch, canals, beels, floodplains, haors, baors (oxbow lakes), rivers, lake etc. Niche is middle layer of water body. this fish as bottom feeder fish. Feed on both natural and supplementary feeds. This fish feed on plant matters including decaying vegetation and also well habituated in taking rice bran, wheat bran, mustard oil cake and other supplementary feed under aquaculture system. Naturally breeds in flowing water bodies, especially in rivers, and floodplains during the rainy season. Breeding time recorded between July and September from Chalan Beel (Bangladesh). Bhuiyan (1964) reported breeding time of this fish is in the month between July and August and described this fish as a prolific breeder.

This fish can grow up to 1 meter in length and can weigh up to 25 kg. It is a very strong fish and a perfect game fish to test the limit of your tackles.


Catla/ Indian Carp

Bengali: কাতল

English: Indian Carp

Scientific name: Catla catla

Catla is the only member of the genus Gibelion, of the carp family Cyprinidae. It is a fish with a large protruding lower jaw. It is commonly found in rivers and freshwater lakes in Bangladesh, India, Nepal, Myanmar, and Pakistan. Body short and deep, somewhat laterally compressed, its depth more than head length; head very large, its depth exceeding half the head length; body with conspicuously large cycloid scales, head devoid of scales; snout bluntly rounded; eyes large and visible from underside of the head; mouth wide and upturned with prominent protruding lower jaw; upper lip absent, lower lip very thick; no barbels; lower jaw with a movable articulation at symphysis, without a prominent process; gill rakers long and fine. This fish is the main target of most anglers in Bangladesh. It can weigh more than 50 pounds. It is a very strong fish and can give an exhausting fight.

Mrigel/ Mrigal

Mrigel/ Mrigal carp

Bengali name: মৃগেল/ মিরকা

Common English: Mrigal carp

Scientific name: Cirrhinus cirrhosus

Native to large rivers in the Indian subcontinent. Inhabits fast flowing streams and rivers. Can tolerate high levels of salinity. Feeds on plankton, but also grazes on algae. Spawning occurs in marginal areas of the water body with a depth of 50-100 cm over a sand or clay substrate. Can grow 1 meter in length and weigh up to 25 kg. A very active fish with enormous strength.


Kalibaus/ Orange-fin labeo

Bengali: কালবাউস

English: Orange-fin labeo, Karnataka labeo

Scientific Name: Labeo calbasu

The species occurs throughout Bangladesh, India, Nepal, Myanmar, Pakistan, Thailand and Southern China. Inhabits in rivers, rivers, lakes, beels, and ponds; in slow-moving waters of rivers and it is essentially a bottom feeder that feeds on plants, filamentous algae, and diatoms. Can weigh up to 5-6 kg. Very strong fish to give a great fight.


Mohashoul/ Golden Mahseer

Bengali: মহাশোল

English name: Golden mahseer

Scientific name: Tor putitora

Mohashouls (also widely known as mahseer in India and Nepal) inhabit both rivers and lakes, ascending to rapid streams with rocky bottoms for breeding. Like other types of carps, they are omnivorous, eating not only algae, crustaceans, insects, frogs, and other fish, but also fruits that fall from trees overhead. The first species from this group were scientifically described by Francis Buchanan-Hamilton in 1822 and first mentioned as an angling challenge by the Oriental Sporting Magazine in 1833, soon becoming a favorite quarry of British anglers living in India. The golden mahseer or mohashoul has been known to reach 2.75 m (9 ft) in length and 54 kg (118 lb) in weight, although specimens of this size are rarely seen nowadays. In addition to being caught for sport, mahseer is also part of commercial fishing and ornamental or aquarium fish. In Bangladesh, this fish is about to go extinct because of habitat change due to the change of river flow. Still can be found in streams of Sylhet, Sunamgonj, Mymensingh, and Netrokona alongside the Bangladesh-Indian borders. IUCN has already declared it as an endangered species.


a 100 kg Baghair, caught from a tributary of the Padma near Bogra District in March 2011.

Bengali: বাগাইর/বাঘাইর

Native English: Dwarf goonch

Scientific Name: Bagarius bagarius

Inhabits rapid and rocky pools of large and medium-sized rivers. Feeds on insects, small fishes, frogs and shrimps. Predatory and also omnivorous fish. Breeds in rivers prior to the beginning of the annual flood season. Can be grown more than 200 pounds with an untold amount of strength. Inhabits in all the major rivers of Bangladesh. It has some stories of man-eating habit. This fish has been declared as endangered by United Nations because of the habitat change due to pollution.


Ayr/ Aor


Ayr aka Giant River Catfish

Bengali: আইড়

Common English Name: Giant river-catfish

Scientific Name: Sperata aor
Other known names: Long-whiskered catfish (English); Ayre (আইর) and Aor (আওর) (Bangladesh); Aar, Aar-tengara, guji, Kanti, Gaga-tengra, Daryai-tengara, Alli, Addi, seengala.

Habitat: Bottom living fish. Commonly found in freshwater and brackish water. Some common habitats are rivers, khals, canals, beels, ponds, lakes, ditches, inundated fields, reservoirs etc. Very common in Bangladesh. Can be more than 1.5 meters in length. Vulnerable in Bangladesh due to habitat loss because of excessive industrial pollution.



Boal/ Wallago attu

Bengali name: বোয়াল

Common English: Wallago Attu

A species of catfish in the family Siluridae, or “sheatfishes”. The fish is commonly known by its genus name, wallago. Found in large rivers and lakes, it can reach 2.4 m (8 feet) total length. This south Asian fish is found from India, Bangladesh, Pakistan to Vietnam and Indonesia, and is also reported from Afghanistan. Its common to find huge frogs and fishes inside its stomach when cutting for cooking. It has been claimed that in some areas of Thailand the natives fear the species because of its believed habit of eating small ducks, dogs, and small children. It is a common target fish among the native anglers of Bangladesh. This fish has no known enemy and feeds on almost anything. Aggressiveness, strength, and ferociousness have made this fish one of the best target fish to extreme anglers. From mid-September to mid-July is the best time for boal fishing.



Chital/ Clown Knifefish

Bengali: চিতল

English: Clown Knifefish

Scientific name: Chitala chitala

Found in Bangladesh and other countries in Southeast Asia. They are also considered delicacies in Bangladesh especially due to their immense size. They can grow up to 6 feet and weigh up to 25 kg. Inhabits freshwater rivers, lakes, beels, nullahs in the plains, reservoirs, canals, and ponds. Feeds on aquatic insects, mollusks, shrimps and small fishes. Lays eggs usually on stake or stump of wood, male fans them with tail, keeps them aerated and silt-free, guards them against small catfish and other predators; complete give-away to fishermen; female not observed at egg posts; moderately important food fish in Bangladesh and South-East Asia. Spawns once a year from May to August. According to IUCN the conservation status of Chital fish is considered as ‘Near Threatened’. Anglers have a great spine breaking fight if a medium sized chital is hooked. It is called one of the most prominent game-fishes of Bangladesh.