Goldeye Goldeye’s range extends from the lower Mississippi River drainages northward through central North America into extreme northwestern Canada. Canadian river drainages with Goldeye include the Churchill, Saskatchewan, Red, Winnipeg, and Nelson. They prefer large, quiet turbid rivers, marshy backwaters, and their connected lakes and reservoirs.
Goldeye are elongate bright silver colored fish with a large golden colored eye on a smallish head. The small dorsal fin sets way back, starting behind the leading edge of the larger anal fin. A flesh keel runs the length of their belly. Sharp teeth cover their tongue and jaws. Adults are typically12 to 18 inches in length and less than two pounds in weight.
Spawn occurs in March or early April, temperatures reach 50 degrees Fahrenheit. While no one has actually seen them spawn, they are believed to be broadcast spawners in swift currents, allowing the eggs to drift along until they hatch in a couple weeks.
These opportunistic carnivores frequently surface feed. Aquatic insects and small fish are primary prey, but it is known to feed on just about anything that passes by, such as worms, snails, terrestrial insects, frogs, mice, and shrews. Due to their feeding habits, they are considered a good fly-fishing species, but due to the smallish size have not gained a large following.