What Ontario Fish Has Red Around the Eye and Maybe a Trout Shape?

This June while walking along Sixteen Mile Creek in Oakville, I stopped to watch a Snapping Turtle edge ashore perhaps to lay her eggs. While I stood quietly by the river, a flash of fins shooting past downstream made me look after a fast-moving fish. It stopped at a somewhat deeper spot in the clear river. It had a noticeable red spot where the eye was and I didn’t know what type of fish it was although it was shaped vaguely like a trout.

Photo of Small-mouthed Bass Sixteen Mile Creek on NaturalCrooksDotCom

What Trout Like Fish Has a Red Eye and Lives In Sixteen Mile Creek, Bronte Creek or the Credit River?

Because the water was so clear when I saw the fish, I was able to take some fuzzy photos. When I looked at them at home on the computer, I realized that the fish’s eye itself was not red, it was the scales or skin around the eye that was orange or red.

Photo of Small-mouthed Bass Eye Ring at Sixteen Mile Creek on NaturalCrooksDotCom

The fish was very simply coloured and it had a normal mouth. It was not, for example, a White Sucker. I’d seen lots of them spawning in Sheridan Creek at the Rattray Marsh. The lower jaw and lip seemed to push further forward than the upper jaw and lip.

Photo of Fish Face Eye Orange Scales on NaturalCrooksDotCom

I tried to find my fish using Google without success. I did find the same question asked by someone else to the anglers of the Credit River! They suggested that it might be a Rock Bass. I’ve seen many Rock Bass though and this didn’t look much like them.

One of the Family’s Fishermen Rescued Me

Photo of Small-mouthed Bass Face at Sixteen Mile Creek on NaturalCrooksDotCom

Fortunately, we have several fishermen in the family. (Or fishers, although to me those are large brown weasel-type animals.) I asked one to take a look at my photos and see if they could recognize my fish.

I received an immediate reply: It’s a Small-mouthed Bass.

I had thought till then that they liked weedy lake water but apparently I have them mixed up with Large-mouthed bass. Small-mouthed bass are fine with fast moving, clear water.

When I looked at other photos of Small-mouthed bass I found several that showed the same red-orange colouring around the eyes.

So I added a new fish to my list of things seen on my rambles. Now if I could just figure out what the sculpin-y looking one with the orange and brown spots was….

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