Biochemical markers, specifically enzymes of the first phase of xenobiotic transformation - cytochrome P450 and ethoxyresorufin-O-deethylase (EROD) - were used to determine the quantities of persistent organic pollutants (POPs) in fish muscle (PCB, HCB, HCH, OCS, DDT). Eight rivers were monitored (Orlice, Chrudimka, Cidlina, Jizera, Vltava, Ohře and Bílina; and the River Blanice was used as a control). The indicator species selected was the chub (Leuciscus cephalus L.). There were no significant differences in cytochrome P450 content between the locations monitored. The highest concentration of cytochrome P450 in fish liver was in the Vltava (0.241 nmol mg-1 protein), and the lowest was in the Orlice (0.120 nmol mg-1 protein). Analysis of EROD activity showed a significant difference between the Blanice and the Vltava (P< 0.05), and also between the Orlice and the Vltava (P< 0.01), the Orlice and the Bílina (P< 0.01), and the Orlice and the Ohře (P< 0.05). The highest EROD activity in fish liver was in the Vltava (576.4 pmol min-1 mg-1 protein), and the lowest was in the Orlice (63.05 pmol min-1 mg-1 protein). In individual locations, results of chemical monitoring and values of biochemical markers were compared. A significant correlation (P< 0.05) was found between biochemical markers and OCS, and PCB. Among the tributaries studied those that contaminated the Elbe most were the Vltava and the Bílina. These tributaries should not be considered the main sources of industrial contamination of the River Elbe, because the most important contamination sources were along the river Elbe itself.