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Golden Shiner Golden shiners are native to the eastern half North America, ranging from Saskatchewan in the north, south to Texas. This popular bait fish has been widely introduced throughout the west.
Golden shiners prefer quiet waters, such as lakes, ponds, sloughs, and occasionally are found in the quietest parts of rivers. Clear water with heavy aquatic vegetation is best, but they are tolerant of pollution, turbidity, low oxygen levels and high water temperatures (100 degrees Fahrenheit). Goldens tend to live in large schools.
These golden hued fish are deep bodied and laterally compressed. Their fins are reddish and the dorsal fin is soft rayed. The head is small, with a small, upturned mouth. Coloration is a light greenish olive to light orange along the back, with silvery or golden sides and a whitish belly. These shiners can exceed 12 inches in length, but typically are 3-7 inches long. Golden shiners release an alarm substance if the skin is broken. Other shiners in the area detect the substance and leave.
Spawning occurs from April to July, when shiners lay sticky eggs primarily on vegetation. No parental care. Golden shiners are known to practice egg dumping. They lay their eggs in the nests of other fish, such as sunfish, largemouth bass, or bowfins.
As omnivores, shiners diet includes a wide variety of items, such as crustaceans, filamentous algae, adult and immature insects, and plankton, crustaceans, aquatic insects, and algae. Feeding can occur anywhere throughout the water column. They are primarily visual feeders.