A member of the Hiodontidae family of mooneye, the goldeye is one of Canada’s most celebrated freshwater ﬁsh, from an epicurean viewpoint. Although often called a herring or a shad, it is neither. The goldeye provides good sport for light-tackle anglers, but it is not pursued in many parts of its range.
IdentificationThe goldeye is a small ﬁsh whose compressed body is deep in proportion to its length and is covered with large, loose scales. Dark blue to blue green over the back, it is silvery on the sides, tapering to white on the belly. It has a small head and a short, bluntly rounded snout with a small terminal mouth containing many sharp teeth on the jaws and the tongue.
The color of its eyes and the position of its anal ﬁn distinguish it from the mooneye. The irises of the large eyes are gold and reﬂect light. The goldeye’s dorsal ﬁn begins opposite or behind its anal ﬁn (the mooneye’s begins before the anal fin). The goldeye can be distinguished from the gizzard shad by the absence of a dorsal ﬁn ray projection.