Flavobacterium columnare (FC) has caused worldwide fish columnaris disease with high mortality and great economic losses in cultured fish, including Topmouth culter (Culter alburnus). However, the knowledge about the host factors involved in FC infection is little known. In this study, the transcriptomic profiles of the head kidney from Topmouth culter with or without FC infection were obtained using HiSeq™ 2500 (Illumina). Totally 79,641 unigenes with high quality were obtained. Among them, 4037 differently expressed genes, including 1217 up-regulated and 2820 down-regulated genes, were identified and enriched using databases of Gene Ontology (GO) and Kyoto Encyclopedia of Genes and Genomes (KEGG). The differently expressed genes were mainly associated with pathways such as immune response, carbohydrate metabolism, amino acid metabolism, and lipid metabolism. Since phagocytosis is a central mechanism of innate immune response by host cells to defense against infectious agents, genes related to the phagosome pathway were scrutinized and 9 differently expressed phagosome-related genes were identified including 3 up-regulated and 6 down-regulated genes. Five of them were further validated by quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction (qRT-PCR). This transcriptomic analysis of host genes in response to FC infection provides data towards understanding the infection mechanisms and will shed a new light on the prevention of columnaris.