A short-term 2-week (2w) and long-term 8-week (8w) feeding trial was conducted to investigate the effects of low-starch (LS) and high-starch (HS) diets on the growth performance, metabolism and liver health of largemouth bass (Micropterus salmoides). Two isonitrogenous and isolipidic diets containing two levels of starch (LS, 9·06 %; HS, 13·56 %) were fed to largemouth bass. The results indicated that HS diet had no significant effects on specific growth rate during 2w, whereas significantly lowered specific growth rate at 8w. HS diet significantly increased hepatic glycolysis and gluconeogenesis at postprandial 24 h in 2w. The hepatosomatic index, plasma alkaline phosphatase, total bile acid (TBA) levels, and hepatic glycogen, TAG, total cholesterol, TBA, and NEFA contents were significantly increased in the HS group at 2w. Moreover, HS diet up-regulated fatty acid and TAG synthesis-related genes and down-regulated TAG hydrolysis and β-oxidation-related genes. Therefore, the glucolipid metabolism disorders resulted in metabolic liver disease induced by HS diet at 2w. However, the up-regulation of bile acid synthesis, inflammation and energy metabolism-related genes in 2w indicated that largemouth bass was still in a state of ‘self-repair’ response. Interestingly, all the metabolic parameters were returned to homoeostasis, with up-regulation of intestinal glucose uptake and transport-related genes, even hepatic histopathological analysis showed no obvious abnormality in the HS group in 8w. In conclusion, HS feed induced short-term acute metabolic disorder, but long-term metabolic adaptation to HS diet was related to repairing metabolism disorders via improving inflammatory responses, bile acid synthesis and energy metabolism. These results strongly indicated that the largemouth bass owned certain adaptability to HS diet.