Characteristics - color varies from dark blue to blue-green on the back with the sides silvery and the belly white, iris of the eye is typically yellow to gold and there is an adipose eyelid present, teeth are present on both jaws
Foods - nocturnal feeder on insects, crustaceans, mollusks, fish, frogs and small animals.
Expert's Tip - this fish frequently forages on the surface in shallow water at night.
Other names --Winnipeg goldeye,
The goldeye inhabits most larger streams in southern Manitoba. It is not found in large numbers in mid western Manitoba eg lake Manitoba/Winnipegosis. However it is caught in streams/rivers in the upper reaches of Lake Winnipeg. A commercial fishery is in place for these fish and a considerable number are harvested in the province. Smoked, the goldeye is a true delicacy. Their cousin the mooneye also inhabit many of the same waters. The mooneye does not have the golden colored eye but a darker iris. The mooneye in Manitoba seem to become active (for angling purposes) a little later than the goldeye.
The goldeye has a deep, flattened body with a fleshy keel on the belly, but the scales are not serrated as in herrings. The body color ranges from dark blue to blue-green on the back with the sides silvery and the belly white. The iris of the eye is typically yellow to gold and there is an adipose eyelid present. The head is blunt and rounded with a large oblique mouth. Teeth are present in both jaws, roof of the mouth and on the tongue. There are 15 to 17 gill rakers on the lower limb of the first arch. Scales are cycloid with a complete lateral line containing 57 to 62 scales. The dorsal fin has 9 or 10 rays, and the anal fin has 29 to 34. The anal fin is sickle-shaped in mature males and concave in females.
The goldeye is a widely scattered fish species that prefers a variety of environments. You'll find them in as diverse environments as quiet backwaters of larger streams and muddy shallows of larger lakes. Goldeyes are quite tolerant of clay turbidity, but not of industrial pollutants. In the Red river you find them along current edges preying upon shiners and other invertebrates. In th springs they'll set up just below the locks at Lockport. Angling for this species is straight forward. A bobber stop, slip float, smaller hook (although many believe it doesn't have to be that small as it avoids fish being hooked too deeply) and some split shot if your fishing current, part of worm or shiner. If you watch your sonar you'll get any idea of where fish are at in the water column. Setting your bobber stop at that level and or experimenting to get to the right level is the key to consistent action. The fish spawn from May to July at 50 to 55 degrees F. Not much is know about goldeye reproduction in Lake Winnipeg and its major rivers. Mature goldeyes move up tributary streams where spawning activity is random on gravel or firm bottom, usually in turbid water. The females deposit from 6,000 to 25,000 eggs that are .02 inch in diameter and semi-buoyant. Goldeye attain up to 7 inches in the first year of life and reach l2 inches at maturity. Maximum size is about 14 to 16 inches.
Goldeye are for a large part nocturnal feeders. This does not mean that they won't feed throughout the day, especially in turbid waters. The reason they like to feed at night is related to their eye structure/make-up.The rods-only sight sensors in their eyes is very effective for seeing and foraging in the darkness of turbid water and at night. The fish are opportunistic foragers, consuming nearly any organism encountered from insects, crustaceans, mollusks, and fish to frogs. The fish frequently forage on the surface in shallow water. One little trick to locating them with the rig previously described to to move its depth intermittently. As the fishing season progresses in the Red river for example you'll have to go a bit deeper to contact fish with increased regularity. At the beginning of the season however fish are near to the surface. Some of the largest goldeye caught in the province come out of the Saskatchewan river and the adjoining Carrot river (near the Pas). The Red produces some good sized fish but not with consistency of the Saskatchewan and Carrot rivers. In general the Winnipeg river seems to cycle through big goldeye years and not so big goldeye years. Hit it right though and you're in for a lot of fun!
Goldeye are a true delicacy when smoked. Lake Winnipeg goldeye are a world renowned treat. Cat fishermen know their value when tempting the Red's world famous channel cats to bite. It isn't uncommon to go through a personal limit of ten goldeye through the course of a catfishing session! Finally it should be said that this one species despite its lack of size makes up for itself in its voracious "bite" and non-stop action.... if you get into them that is!