The huchen reaches about 1.5 m (4 ft 11 in) in length and more than 50 kg (110 lb) in weight. The average length is about 60 to 120 centimetres (24 to 47 in). The huchen has a slender body that is nearly round in cross-section. On the reddish brown back are several dark patches in an X or crescent shape. Smaller fish feed on the larvae of water insects or on insects dropped into the water; the larger individuals are predators of other species of fish and other small vertebrates such as mice crossing rivers.
The largest huchen catch on modern record weighed 34.8 kg (77 lb), caught in February 1985 in Spittal an der Drau in Austria, although older records report weights in excess of 60 kg (130 lb).
This permanent freshwater salmonid spawns in April, once water reaches a temperature of 6 to 9 °C (43 to 48 °F). For spawning, the huchen migrates up the river, where females excavate depressions in the gravel into which they deposit their eggs, then a male releases a cloud of sperm and the female then covers the eggs with sand. Larvae hatch 30 to 35 days after fertilization.
There is a considerable commercial effort to produce huchen fry to reintroduce the species into the wild. This requires catching the adults just before spawning and keeping them in special tanks. Fry are released in appropriate places once they have reached 4 to 10 cm (1.6 to 3.9 in).