Rock Bass

The Rock Bass, Red eye, Goggle-eye or Sometimes Called the Rock Perch

Rock Bass

Identifying the Rock Bass

This aggressive species is very common throughout much of the US and Canada. They have an easily identifiable appearance similar looking to a small mouth bass, only usually significantly smaller and a more roundish in shape. The rock bass has a fairly large mouth in comparison to a bluegill, that they use to aggressively eat many types of foods. These fish have the ability to change color in order to match their habitat and their mottled coloration can vary quite drastically from one another.

Food Items

These fish commonly eat the following foods:

  • Insects
  • Crawdads
  • Small bait fish and minnows
Rock Bass caught on a fly

This rock bass ate a large streamer fly casted under a dock.

Catching These Fish

Catching rock bass is not difficult by any stretch of the imagination. They are not typically targeted by most anglers, but are usually welcomed surprises during bluegill or crappie fishing. They can easily be caught on any bluegill lures and baits such as nightcrawlers or minnows.

Bass fisherman will also regularly catch the rock bass on accident, as it prefers to live in the lot of the same type of habitats. Due to the overly aggressive nature of these fish, they will often be caught on surprisingly large lures such as spinnerbaits and plastic worms.

Locations to Catch Rock Bass

These fish enjoy spending time around rocky shorelines and among dense weeds. They are most commonly found near shallow water structure such as docks, submerged timber and bridge pilings. I have personally had great success catching these fish in culverts and gaps in seawalls, they seem to pop out only for an instant to grab a lure or bait. The thick muscly shape of these fish give them the ability to be strong fighters when they are hooked. I can think of many occasions where I actually thought I had a nice smallmouth bass hooked, and it turned out to be a big rock bass.

Are Rock Bass Good To Eat?

I have found rock bass to be decent to eat, although I wouldn’t consider them as good as bluegill. If you deep fry them it is hard to tell the difference between other panfish. These fish tend to taste better in the early spring before the summer heat. I don’t usually keep any fish aside from 1-2 times a year and 99% of the time I will release all of my rock bass caught.


They are fun to catch and their aggressive attitude puts them in a class of their own. Next time you have a tough time catching crappie or bluegill, don’t overlook the feisty rock bass they can be a worthy adversary.



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