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Rock Bass

Rock BassScientific Name

Ambloplites rupestris

Other Common Names

Redeye, google eye, rock sunfish


Short, robust body and fairly large mouth. Lower jaw protrudes slightly. Back is olive-green with sides tarnished gold or brassy colored. Each scale has a dark central spot. Large spots on its lower body forms a striped-like appearance. Has a discernable dark outline on its anal fin. Has wide vertical blotches on its sides and a dark spot on its cheek. Average 6 to 8 inches, but will reach 12 to 14 inches and 11/2 to 2 lbs. Checks with obvious sacles.

Best Fishing

Rivers: Roanoke, New, Jackson, Maury, James, Bullpasture, Calfpasture, Buffalo, North Fork Shenandoah and Clinch. Lakes: Smith Mountain Lake, Moomaw.

Fishing Techniques

Voracious feeders that readily strike spinners, jigs, small crankbaits and flies. Favored live baits include minnows, crayfish, nightcrawlers, mayfly nymphs and hellgrammites.

Feeding Habits

Crayfish, aquatic and terrestrial insects and small fish.


Has a preference for clear flowing streams with rocks and boulders, limestone ledges and logs. Also survives in impoundments formed on the rivers they inhabit.

Spawning Habits

Spawns in May or June when water temperatures reach 60° to 70°F. Male forms a bed in the gravel, often using an abandoned nests of other sunfish. Eggs adhere to the gravel and hatched young are guarded by the male until they are free-swimming.