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What is a Goldeye?

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  • Written By: Anna T.
  • Edited By: Melissa Wiley
  • Last Modified Date: 26 November 2016
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The goldeye species of fish belongs to the Mooneye family of fishes. They may grow to be as long as 16 inches (40 cm), but most do not exceed 12 inches (30 cm). Goldeye fish usually have iridescent, silver-colored bodies that may appear to have a mixture of other colors when a closer look is taken. Some of these fish have bluish-green and white colors on their bellies in addition to the silver. This fish gets its name from the color of its eyes, which are a bright gold.

Goldeye fish are typically found distributed from the southeastern United States to as far north as Canada. They normally prefer to inhabit freshwater areas such as streams and lakes that are very icy and cold. Goldeyes do not usually fare well in warm water, and they will seek out cold water if temperatures in a given area start to warm up. They are also not likely to be found in rapids or any type of water that is fast moving and tend to stay near slower moving water.

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These fish are typically nocturnal in nature and come out at night to do most of their foraging for food. Goldeyes will eat plants, but they generally prefer to eat other living things. Most of their diet consists of various crustaceans, small minnows, and insects. Goldeyes will usually eat most any type of fish or living creature that is smaller than they are. The great number of teeth these fish tend to have on both their jaws and tongues helps them to be more efficient at consuming their prey.

Goldeyes lay around 12,000 eggs every year, and in most cases these eggs take only about two weeks to hatch. The young goldeye fish typically stays close to its mother for two or three months before leaving for good. In its first year of life, a baby goldeye fish will grow to be roughly 7 or 8 inches long (18 to 20 cm) and normally reaches maturity by the age of two.

Historically, most people did not eat goldeye fish because the texture of the meat was considered too soft and unappetizing. It wasn't until the late 1800s that many people began to eat this type of fish instead of feeding the ones they caught to their pets. It became a popular choice for food when people began to serve it smoked. Many people consider it a very tasty type of fish when it is served this way. Goldeye is considered a gourmet dish in Canada by the majority of people who like it.

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