Bottom feeder: White Bream (Blicca bjoerkna)

White Bream (Blicca bjoerkna) - Credit Emőke Dénes on Wikimedia Commons -

The White Bream (Blicca bjoerkna) is a freshwater fish often confused with the Common Bream due to its many similar morphological characteristics.

The White Bream is typically regarded as a smaller freshwater bream, usually at most 30 centimetres (about 12 inches) in length. It shares the same geographical range as the Common Bream, except for Ireland, and exhibits similar behaviour to its distant cousin.

White Bream (Blicca bjoerkna) - Credit Viridiflavus on Wikimedia Commons
White Bream (Blicca bjoerkna) – Credit Viridiflavus on Wikimedia Commons

What is a White Bream?

The White Bream (Blicca bjoerkna) is a freshwater fish from the Cyprinidae family. It is widely distributed in Europe, Asia, and North America. The Whiter Bream is a medium-sized fish, reaching up to 40 centimetres (about 15.7 inches) in length and weighing up to 1.5 kilograms (approximately 3.3 pounds).

Description of a Fish: White Bream (Blicca bjoerkna)


The White Bream (Blicca bjoerkna) has a high, laterally compressed body with a humpbacked profile, which is characteristic of Breams and becomes more pronounced with age. Its head is small relative to its body size but has a relatively large eye compared to its Common cousin. The snout is short, and its mouth is obliquely downward-oriented, a common trait among fish that feed off the bottom. The mouth is protractile (extending forward) and lacks barbels, surrounded by thick lips.

The White Bream is characterised by a long anal fin with 22 to 26 rays, although shorter than that of the freshwater bream (26 to 30 rays). The dorsal fin is short and tall, and the caudal fin is deeply forked. The White Bream has a silver colouration on its sides and belly, with a dark grey-green or olive back. The pelvic, pectoral, and anal fins have an orange-red colouration. This colouration can extend to the entire belly in older White Bream.

This fish has 43 to 48 large scales along its lateral line. These scales are more significant than other Breams and are covered in abundant mucus.

B. bjoerkna
Binomial Name
Blicca bjoerkna (Linnaeus, 1758)
The binomial name for the White Bream is Blicca bjoerkna, with Linnaeus being credited as the authority who first described it in 1758.

Size and Weight

The typical White Bream size is 20 to 30 cm (about 7.9 to 11.8 inches) and weighs approximately 200 grams (about 0.44 pounds). The largest specimens can reach 35 cm (about 13.8 inches).

Longevity, Lifespan of the White Bream

The lifespan of the White Bream is about ten years.

Habitat and Lifestyle of the White Bream


The distribution range of the White Bream extends throughout Central and Western Europe, including Great Britain. However, this fish is absent from Europe’s northernmost and southernmost regions. Like its Common cousin, the White Bream prefers the warm, calm waters of lakes and slow-moving rivers and canals. It is a schooling fish that primarily feeds off the bottom and is active throughout the year.

Diet of the White Bream

The White Bream uses its protractile mouth to search the bottom for food. It feeds on small crustaceans, molluscs, various larvae, gammarids, and plant debris in the mud. When bottom food is scarce, the Bream may rise into the water column for multiple foods.


The White Bream spawns between May and July, when water temperatures reach 18°C (about 64°F). This fish spawns along vegetated or submerged root-lined shores, sometimes on shallow gravel beds. The female lays 20,000 to 60,000 eggs, which develop 4 to 6 days after fertilisation. Hybridisation is possible between the White Bream and Roaches or Rudds.

Interest of the White Bream as a Fish for Anglers

The White Bream is caught using pole fishing techniques, but its small size makes it less popular among anglers, who prefer its larger cousin. However, it is a resilient live bait appreciated by Zander, Pike, and other predators. Moreover, all culinary recipes suitable for the Common Bream also apply to the White Bream.

Common name for the White Bream (Blicca bjoerkna)

White Bream is also known as Silver Bream.
Most popular common names for the White Bream are Brème bordelière (french), Blicke (german), Blicca (italian), Brema blanca (spanish), Kolblei (dutch) and Krąp (polish).

Fishing Techniques for the White Bream

The White Bream is caught using shorter distances than those used for detecting the Common Bream. A Roach or Rudd fishing spot is often “invaded” by “small Breams.” These fish prefer vegetable and sweet baits.

Conservation Status of the White Bream

The White Bream is listed as “LC” (Least Concern) on the IUCN Red List, corresponding to a species with a low risk of extinction.

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