SCIENTIFIC NAME: Ambloplites ariommus

CHARACTERISTICS: The shadow bass, locally known as goggle-eye, was regarded as a subspecies of the rock bass until Cashner and Suttkus (1977) gave it full species status. Members of this species have from 36 to 42 lateral line scales. The dorsal fin has 11 spines and 11 or 12 rays; the anal fin has six to seven spines and 10 or 11 rays. The cheek has five to six rows of scales. The mouth is large, with the upper jaw extending to about the middle of the eye. Shadow bass in Alabama are usually olive to light brown, and their sides are frequently marked with two to four dark brown vertical bands and blotches. Vertical fins are clear to light yellow with black and gray mottling. The iris of the eye is red or reddish orange.

ADULT SIZE: 6 to 8 in (152 to 203 mm). Alabama has no state angling record for this species. The minimum weight limit is one pound.

DISTRIBUTION: Shadow bass have been collected in most drainages south of the Tennessee River. The lack of records from the Blackwater and Chattahoochee rivers in south Alabama is probably due to insufficient sampling of preferred habitats. Cashner (1979) includes records from both river systems in Florida. The apparent absence of shadow bass in Black Belt streams is probably the result of low streamflow and undesirable water-quality conditions during the late summer.

HABITAT AND BIOLOGY: The preferred habitat of this species includes weedbeds, undercut banks, and brush piles of medium to large slow-moving streams and rivers. Both members of the genus appear to be intolerant of increased siltation and degraded water quality. Food items include aquatic insects, crayfishes, and an occasional small fish. Our sampling efforts indicate that spawning occurs in late March and early April. Small individuals less than 2 inches (50 mm) long tend to congregate in aquatic vegetation; large individuals are solitary. Carlander (1977) reports a maximum life span of 12 to 13 years.

REMARKS: Shadow bass are excellent but often overlooked game fish because they prefer flowing streams and rivers over reservoirs. They are particularly exciting to catch with ultralight spinning gear or a fly rod.

ORIGINAL DESCRIPTION: Viosca described the shadow bass in 1936.

Ambloplites means blunt armature.
Ariommus means big-eyed.

The copyrighted information above is from Fishes of Alabama and the Mobile Basin.