Filter by Species
Rock bass are found in many waters across the State. They are most abundant in rocky and gravelly shallow water areas in lakes and ponds, and the lower, warm reaches of streams. Rock bass are abundant in most of New York State's large rivers. Often, they occur in the same areas as smallmouth bass and compete with the bass for food. Rock bass are small to medium sized sunfish, reaching six to ten inches in length. They are brownish in color with several dark bars or blotches mottling their sides. Their bright red eyes have earned them the nickname "redeyes" among many New York State anglers.
Rock bass have similar feeding habits to other sunfish, eating mostly aquatic insects, crayfish, and small fishes. Spawning occurs from mid-May to mid-June, usually after black bass, but before other sunfish. Nests are built in a variety of bottom types, including gravel, mud, and in vegetation. Like the black basses, rock bass also keep their nests well separated.
Rock bass are popular with many New York State anglers. They generally occur in groups and readily bite live bait, small spinners, plugs, and poppers. Since rock bass are often found with smallmouth bass, bass anglers sometimes consider them a nuisance.