Species profiles

11 posts / 0 new
Last post
Susquehannock's picture
Species profiles

I've been looking at the species profiles in the minnow/carp family, and I see that some of them are kind of short. I'm thinking primarily of goldfish and fallfish, because I know some stuff about those two and their both enough fun to have some tactics on there. Maybe if we gather information here, I can type profiles and message them to Andy and Corey, or maybe they want to just do it themselves? I don't know. Anyway, here's what I do know about goldfish.

-Goldfish normally eat small subsurface insects and crustaceans, but will occasionally munch on corn or peas. 

-Goldfish prefer stillwater without to many predators and with healthy insect and plant populations, but can survive in other habitats.

-Goldfish are VERY light buyers, so small baits, small hooks, and sensitive rigs are all necessary.

-Goldfish will feed year-round and bite well through the ice.

-Goldfish almost always feed on or near the bottom.


-Fallfish are most common in small to medium sized coolwater streams and rivers with lots of rocks.

-Fallfish will eat everything from minnows to crayfish to insects (above or below the surface) to baby fallfish to carrion. 

-Fallfish love inline spinners, worms, mealworms, jigs, and a wide variety of other baits, but the best thing I've found for really monstrous ones is a chunk of hotdog sprinkled with garlic powder. 

-Really young fallfish lack the characteristic black-rimmed scales and look more like a member of the shiner family.

-Fallfish rise readily to flies and look strikingly similar to trout in the water.

Please add whatever other information you have. I'm not exactly an expert, so I'm sure I missed something important.

andy's picture
Who's Got More Goldfish and Fallfish Tips?

Great idea susquehannock!  Let's update the species pages for them.  Folks, please post any photos or tactics or observations you may have.  I don't have really any experience with either one.

Outdoors4life's picture

My experience has been mostly sight fishing goldfish. 


Small hook under a small float bread ball just under the surface

Throwing just a couple breadballs get them primed for feeding


It is all perspective!

Acer Home Inspections

Corey's picture

I will take whatever updates folks put into this thread and integrate them into the species pages.


Anyone who has goldfish and/or fallfish wisdom and photos should share the,m in this thread!

drawer.bli's picture
Pictures goldfish

drawer.bli's picture
Pictures fallfish

philaroman's picture
just off the top of my head,

just off the top of my head, w/out any double-checking or research


FALLFISH: psychotically voracious omnivores; the most predatory cyprinids I've encountered (albeit, I've never had a go at pikeminnows);  they harass the shit out of me when I target carp in some faster cooler streams...  I try to make the doughballs bigger than their heads, which only slows 'em down -- they just wear the bait down, until the biggest specimen in the group can fit it in its mouth; no need for special tactics -- you can catch 'em w/ a shoelace, a safety pin, and a booger...  on the other hand, I find the biggest adults especially attractive -- so, MORE PHOTOS PLEASE!!!  [BTW, it's actually the "meat end" of the scales that becomes darker & more exposed as the fish grows, creating a "black-rimmed scale" appearance]


GOLDFISH & its brethren, Crucian & Prussian Carp (some small isolated populations in N. America): hybridize readily w/ each other & their close cousin, Common Carp; so easily, in fact, that the hybrids are reproductively viable (if you catch a smallish, extra broad-bodied carp w/ stunted/absent barbells, it's probably a hybrid)...  otherwise, everything Susquehannock said, except "Goldfish normally eat small subsurface insects and crustaceans, but will occasionally munch on corn or peas" sounds misleading -- they are VERY veggie-oriented, but being small-mouthed, careful feeders, all but the bigger/hungrier specimen may shy away from the SIZE of peas & regular corn; if you give them tiny shoepeg white corn, or soft starch-based dough/paste, they'll go nuts for it

P.E.T.A. sucks!!!  Plants are living things, too -- they're just easier to catch!

drawer.bli's picture
Goldfish: My experience with

Goldfish: My experience with them is that they feed all throughout the water column. They're pretty voracious, unless they're heavily pressured. What I usually do is chum the water with a mixture of canned sweet corn and oats to get them feeding. On a small, thin-wire hook I put a single kernel of corn or some oats, and sometimes some bread, although where I fish bread often times attracts sunfish too easily. I place my hook under a small float to place the bait in the middle of the water column, where I can see the goldfish swimming. Often times they'll take interest as the unweighted bait is floating down, and as it settles still, they'll nibble at it a few times, then completely engulf the bait. They will feed off the bottom as well, as I've caught a few on corn on the bottom, but I vastly prefer sight-fishing, and it seems like they don't feed much on the bottom unless there is a large concentration of food there, like chum. Their terminal mouths seem more suited to feeding more in the middle of the water column, anyway. From what I've observed is that they cruise around, feeding opportunistically. 


Fallfish: Fallish are aggressive feeders and not very hard the catch, once you find them. They hang around rocky areas with good current in rivers. I have never seen one in a smaller creek, unlike its brother the creek chub. In some areas like isolated pools, the smaller specimens will stack up. They feed on a variety of fish, insects, crustaceans, and other creatures. Fallfish are not picky fish at all. I have caught them on dry flies when there is a hatch going on, which is probably my favorite technique. You can observe them coming up and sucking up the insects flailing at the surface. Drifting small jigs tipped with worms works well as well, and so does casting small lures like spinners and crankbaits. Fallfish are efficient predators and will have no problem chasing lures. However, the most sure-fire way to catch them, in my experience, is to drift a mealworm or piece of crawler in the current, with just enough weight for it to sink a little bit. The weight doesn't really matter, as they will often grab it as the bait skims near the surface, but also so when the bait is nearer the bottom. It really depends on the situation. Larger fallfish do taste pretty good, but they are exceptionally bony. To target large specimens, baits like crayfish and whole crawlers work well.

Matt Miller
Matt Miller's picture
Prussian Carp

Since Philaroman mentions Prussian carp, there was a story in the Boise newspaper today, where the fishing editor caught one in the Snake River, at least he identified it as this species.


I have never heard of anyone targeting this species but maybe it is more common in other states?

Moose439's picture

That's really cool Matt. I haven't seen any pics of Prussian carp before and USGS doesn't have any records of them in the US either.  https://nas.er.usgs.gov/queries/CollectionInfo.aspx?SpeciesID=2924 they found a few in Canada but there aren't any known established populations yet. Let us know if you hear anything else.

philaroman's picture
who knows what's out there?

I'm sure it takes quite a while, before something is reported, debated, confirmed, debated some more, then finally added to the USGS Species List of Nonindigenous Fish : https://nas.er.usgs.gov/queries/SpeciesList.aspx?Group=Fishes


the 3 Carassius species:

C. carassius -- Crucian Carp (reported around Chicago, way back; allegedly died out)

C. gibelio -- Prussian Carp (reported in Canada, recently)

C. auratus -- goldfish (abundant)

if encountered by N. American anglers, would probably all be identified as "not carp -- therefore, goldfish"

the ray/scale counters on this Forum are the minority that might look closer & give USGS an early heads-up

P.E.T.A. sucks!!!  Plants are living things, too -- they're just easier to catch!