Wild Guide

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From Missouri Conservationist: April 2019

Goggle-Eye | Ambloplites rupestris


Game fish also known as northern rock bass


  • Length: 11–17 inches
  • Weight: 1–2 pounds, 12 ounces


Northern and southwestern Ozarks

Goggle-eye are thicker-bodied than most other sunfish with a large mouth and very large eyes. They have a spiny dorsal fin with 12 spines broadly connected to a soft dorsal fin. Their color varies, but generally is dark brown to bronze above and often blotched along the sides. Goggle-eye’s distinct pattern of dark spots arranged in parallel lines along its sides differentiates it from its closest relatives, the Ozark bass and shadow bass.

Life Cycle

Goggle-eye can live seven to nine years in streams of northern Ozarks, tributaries of the middle Mississippi River, and portions of southwestern Ozarks. As they grow, they congregate around boulders, logs, and vegetation beds in deep pools. Goggle-eye are most active at dawn, dusk, and at night.


Goggle-eye prey on crayfish and aquatic insects. Terrestrial insects and small fish are also occasional

Did You Know?

This game fish was previously recognized as a single species known as rock bass. But two very close relatives — the shadow bass (Ambloplites ariommus) and Ozark bass (Ambloplites constellatus) — were recognized in Missouri. Although nearly identical in behavior, habitat, and life histories, shadow bass and Ozark bass differ from northern rock bass, and from each other, primarily by where they are found.

This Issue's Staff

Editor - Angie Daly Morfeld

Associate Editor - Larry Archer

Staff Writer - Bonnie Chasteen
Staff Writer - Heather Feeler
Staff Writer - Kristie Hilgedick
Staff Writer - Joe Jerek

Creative Director - Stephanie Thurber

Art Director - Cliff White

Designer - Les Fortenberry
Designer - Marci Porter

Photographer - Noppadol Paothong
Photographer - David Stonner

Circulation - Laura Scheuler