Do Largemouth Bass Eat Goldfish? Candy for Largemouths

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Clear picture: Goldfish alone on white.

Largemouth bass love to eat goldfish. While they’re considered an invasive species and should stay out of public waters, goldfish occasionally make it into wild bodies of water. Their bright colors and inability to escape give largemouth bass an easy opportunity for a large meal.

Growing up, my parents would come home with a big bag of goldfish once a month. We would head out to our pond in the back, toss them in the water, and watch the bass go to work. Bass love to eat minnows, worms, giant insects, and crustaceans, but goldfish also work.

Largemouth Bass Eating Goldfish

Largemouth bass are carnivores with large appetites and aggressive behavior. Whether goldfish are tossed into a fish tank or found in a body of water, largemouth bass are attracted to them. 

If largemouth bass have never seen them before, it may take a while for the bass to give them a chance. 

Bass feed on what’s familiar, so introducing goldfish isn’t guaranteed to be a success. Bass will flock toward shad, fry, bluegill, perch, and other familiar meat sources. 

Once they get used to goldfish, they won’t hesitate to feed. It doesn’t take long for the bass to realize the opportunity and take advantage of the goldfish’s limited ability to escape. Plus, bass have great eyesight, so goldfish’s bright orange and gold colors are easy to locate. 

Bass will spend time observing goldfish for a while before they strike. 

Bass swim deep in the sea where they live.

Invasive Fish

Goldfish are considered invasive almost everywhere in the United States. They breed rapidly, eat valuable aquatic plant life, and can overrun a body of water at a fast rate. Most states have laws to prevent people from releasing pet goldfish into bodies of water. 

The goldfish population can get out of hand quickly, but bass can help diminish it. A friend recently purchased a place that had a pond stocked with goldfish. 

He wanted to change it into a bass haven, so introducing a dozen largemouth bass helped remove the goldfish population within a few weeks. 

How Largemouth Bass Eat Goldfish

Bass eat the brightly colored goldfish first. Largemouths see them as massive pieces of candy. It isn’t uncommon for largemouth bass to eat goldfish over 10 inches. Whatever they can fit in their mouths is fair game.

Bass do not abandon their ambush behaviors when hunting goldfish. Smallmouth bass roam the open water in pursuit of their food, but largemouth aren’t as brave. 

Largemouths prefer to sit near weed lines, rock piles, submerged logs, and other places that keep them safe. 

If a goldfish swims near their hiding place, largemouths try to time their strike to minimize exposure. They’ll make an aggressive dart into the open, swallow the goldfish, and return to safety.

It’s common for goldfish to avoid open water. Smaller fish flock to safety in the same places largemouth bass hide, so largemouth often don’t have to work too hard for a meal. 

The goldfish with a more tame appearance survive longer than colorful goldfish. Some goldfish have a tan/grey complexion. Bass don’t pay as much attention to them but will eventually eat them. 

Goldfish aren’t challenging for largemouth bass to catch. If a bass can see a goldfish, they can catch it.

Close-up of Big Bass near a lake & trees.

Fishing for Bass with Goldfish and Goldfish Representations

If you’re fishing public water, be careful using live goldfish. If it escapes your hook, it is likely to breed and start an infestation. You’re better off using minnows that are natural in the water you’re fishing. 

But goldfish lures are great alternatives. Rapala makes a phenomenal segmented goldfish lure. It creates a lot of action, and the bright orange attracts all nearby fish. 

Goldfish lures are always worth a try, even if you aren’t sure they live in your fishing water. The color alone attracts aggressive predators like largemouth bass. 


Largemouth bass are territorial and don’t need much convincing to feed. When they get a taste of goldfish, they continue to pursue them as long as they’re nearby. You’ll find that bass struggle to avoid goldfish during feeding.

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