of name: Micropterus--small fin; salmoides--troutlike,
in gameness and in quality as food, and often called "trout"
in the South, where the original was captured.
Other common names:
northern largemouth bass, largemouth, bigmouth bass, black bass, largemouth
black bass, green bass, line side, green trout, Oswego bass, bayou
bass, slough bass, lake bass.
U.S. Record: 22 pounds, 4 ounces, Montgomery Lake, Georgia, 1932
The largemouth bass is without question the most popular sport
fish in America. At least 5 books have been published on fly fishing
for largemouth bass.
The largemouth is the largest member of the sunfish family with light
greenish to brownish sides and a dark lateral line which tends to
break into blotches towards the tail. Often confused with smallmouth
and spotted bass, it is easily distinguishable because the upper jaw
extends beyond the rear edge of the eye. Also, its first and second
dorsal fins are almost separated by an obvious deep dip, and there
are no scales on the soft-rayed second dorsal fin or on the anal fin.
The largemouth is the classic"warm-water" species.
It flourishes in waters warmer than 80 degrees and can survive temperatures
in the mid-90's.Though the largemouth tolerates turbid water, it
favors lakes with clear water, sandy shallows and abundant rooted
aquatic weeds and in streams joining good bass lakes. In studies
done in Wisconsin, the largemouth bass was encountered most frequently
in clear to slightly turbid water at depths up to 1.5 m, over substrates
of sand (31% frequency), gravel (20%), mud (20%), silt (9%), rubble
(7%), boulders (6%), day (4%), and detritus (3%). In short, the
largemouth bass occurs mostly in shallow areas with sparse to dense
vegetation--the same type of habitat that produces bluegills.
find it: The largemouth bass original range was east of the
Rocky Mountains from southern Quebec and Ontario
through the Great Lakes and the Mississippi Valley to the Gulf of
Mexico, and from northeastern Mexico to Florida and the Carolinas.
Interestingly, was not reported in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan
or lakes on the south shore of Lake Superior. Its present world
distribution includes North America, Central America, South America,
Africa, Europe, Guam, Hawaii, Japan, Lebanon, New Zealand, and the
Habits: The diet of bass changes with its size. Smaller bass
feed on insects, crayfish, and small fishes. Adult bass will eat
whatever is available, including fish, crayfish, crabs, frogs, salamanders,
snakes, mice, turtles and even birds. They lie in wait in the cover
of weeds and ambush prey as it swims by. During the day, largemouth
bass cruise above aquatic plants at depths of 1-3 m, or lie under
lily pads or in the shade of overhanging trees, piers, or brush.
In the evening, largemouths tend to move into shallow water. Largemouth
bass forage most actively during twilight, dusk, and darkness during
summer. Surface or underwater flies work well. Laboratory experiments
have shown that the largemouth bass is able to distinguish colors
quite readily. It prefers red, which it is able to distinguish easily
from all other colors except violet. Colors have been worked into
a wide assortment of flies.
Reproduction characteristics of largemouth bass are quite similar
to the other sunfishes. Pre-spawn commences as water temperatures
near 60 degrees and bass migrate from deep water and actively forage.
Towards the end of the pre-spawn every bass in a body of water will
be in the shallows and foraging. The male fans out a dish-shaped
nest with its tail. With water temperature bettween 63 and 68 degrees
the females deposit their eggs on the roots of submerged plants
or grass over rocky or mud bottoms. Water depth over nests is usually
1.5 to 3 feet. After spawning, the female moves off into
deep water and the male guards the nest. During this time, the male
strikes savagely at intruders but does not eat. It may even carry
intruders and objects from the nest but then ejects them. They are
particularly vulnerable to angling mainly because they protect the
territory from all intruders, including flies, lures and even natural
Age and growth: As with the other sunfishes,
growth varies with the length of the growing season. That is, when
the water falls below a certain temperature (some studies indicate
40 degrees), largemouth bass become very sluggish, with reduced
metabolism and slowing of growth. As an indication of water temperature
influence, in a relatively cold northern Wisconsin lake, it takes
5-6 years to grow a 14 inch largemouth bass, while 400 miles further
south on the Mississippi, the same size might be attained in only
2-3 years. Largemouth bass have been observed as old as 16 years.
black bass, Florida bass, Florida (or southern) largemouth,
green bass, bigmouth, bucketmouth, linesides, Oswego bass and green
Features: This sub-species of largemouth bass is a Florida native
and pure northern largemouth are not found in Florida.
The Florida largemouth, like its northern cousin, generally has light
greenish to brownish sides with a dark lateral line which tends to
break into blotches towards the tail. It is distinguished from the
smallmouth and spotted bass due to the fact that the upper jaw extends
beyond the rear edge of the eye. Also, its first and second dorsal
fins are almost separated by an obvious deep dip, and there are no
scales on the soft-rayed second dorsal fin or on the anal fin. The
Florida largemouth has more scales along the lateral line (69-73)
to the northern largemouth's (59-65 scales) and Florida largemouth
grow to trophy size more readily than northern largemouth in warm
Originally, the Florida largemouth was found only in peninsular
Florida, but they have been stocked in several other states including
Texas and California. Pure northern largemouth bass are not found
in Florida. Genetic intergrades between the subspecies, however,
occur throughout north Florida and probably in other states where
both species are not present..
Prefers clear, nonflowing waters with aquatic vegetation where food
and cover are available. They occupy brackish to freshwater habitats,
including upper estuaries, rivers, lakes, reservoirs and ponds.
Also, they can tolerate a wide range of water clarities and bottom
types, prefer water temperatures from 65 to 85 degrees, and are
usually found at depths less than 20 feet.
Habits: Spawning occurs from December through May, but usually
in February and March when water temperatures reach 58 to 65 degrees
and continues as temperatures rise into the 70s. Bass prefer to
build nests in hard-bottom areas along shallow shorelines or in
protected areas such as canals and coves. After spawning is completed,
usually five to 10 days, the male guards the nest and eggs and later
the young attacking anything that approaches the nest. The female
bass stays near the nest or may swim a short distance and remain
listless for up to a day.
The diet of bass changes with its size. h. Fingerling bass feed
on insects, crayfish, and small fishes. Adult bass will eat whatever
is available, including fish, crayfish, crabs, frogs, salamanders,
snakes, mice, turtles and even birds.
Age and Growth:
Growth rates are highly variable with differences attributed mainly
to their food supply and length of growing season. Female bass live
longer than males and are much more likely to reach trophy size.
Males seldom exceed 16 inches, while females frequently surpass
22 inches. At five years females may be twice the weight of males.
One-year old bass average about 7 inches and grow to an adult size
of 10 inches in about 1.5-2.5 years. The oldest recorded Florida
bass was 16 year of age. Generally, 10 pound trophy bass are about
10 years old.
Definition of name: Micropterus--small fin; dolomieui---after
M. Dolomieu, a French mineralogist and friend of Lacepede, for whom
dolomite was named.
Other common names: northern smallmouth bass, smallmouth
black bass, smallmouth, bronzeback, Oswego bass, black bass, yellow
bass, brown bass, green bass, redeyed bass, redeye, white or mountain
features: Back and head brown, or yellow-brown, or olive
to green; sides lighter; belly light yellow to white. Most scales
on sides with bronze reflections. Vertical bars faint, 9-16
(generally more numerous and prominent in young), not fused
into a lateral band. Usually 3 dark streaks on each side of
head, radiating back- ward from snout and eye; dark opercle
spot about size of pupil of eye. Eye usually red or orange.
Fins lightly pigmented, caudal fin in adults with darker edge;
in young, caudal fin strikingly marked with yellow at base,
pronounced dark crescent band through middle, and a whitish
edge. Breeding male darkens to blackish on back and sides; breeding
female has intensified colors.
|U.S. Record: 11 pound, 15
ounces, Dale Hollow Lake, Kentucky, 1955
Originally the smallmouth bass was native to the Mississipi
river basin, from Northern Minnesota to Ohio and south to Tennesee
and Oklahoma. Interestingly, the smallmouth was not native to
the Boundary Waters or Maine, where they have gained legendary
status. The smallmouth bass has been extensively introduced
in American waters, in the waters of most European countries,
and in the waters of Guam, Hawaii, Hong Kong, Japan, and Vietnam.
smallmouth bass preferred habit varies. In northern locations,
it is primarily an inhabitant of lakes and streams, but southward
it is more common in swift, clear streams and rivers than in
lakes. It prefers cool, flowing streams, and large, clear lakes
over rocky and sandy bottoms. In southern areas, they are common
to abundant in smaller tributary streams during spawning in
late spring and are taken occasionally in the Mssissippi. Lakes
over 20 ft deep, with rooted aquatic vegetation and clean, gravel
shores provide the optimum habitat. In Lake Michigan, the smallmouth
bass is confined to shoal waters of protected bays. It commonly
avoids sluggish or muddy water. Where studies have been done,
the smallmouth bass was encountered most frequently in clear
to slightly turbid, shallow water, over substrates of sand (27%
frequency), gravel (23%), rubble (15%), boulders (14%). In lakes,
the smallmouth bass seeks out rock ledges and rocky bottoms,
but may also be found along weedy shorelines. It also often
occurs in streams containing trout, but typically inhabits the
warmer water sections below trout water. Many streams hold trout
in the headwaters and grade into smallmouth bass near the mouth.
habits: In the spring (Late May to early July) smallmouth
bass disperse to their spawning areas in gravelly shallows
of lakes or large or gentle eddies in streams. In reviewing
water temperatures related to smallmouth bass spawning and
nest building, reports are variable. Although commonly reported
as spawning at water temperatures of 62-64 degrees, smallmouths
have been found spawning at 53 degrees in some waters and
as high has 75 degrees in others.The male builds the nest.
The female lays 2,000 to 10,000 eggs and then heads for deep
water. The male remains on the nest two weeks or more, guarding
eggs and fry. In rivers, both fish move up larger streams,
eventually reaching small tributaries where the actual spawning
occurs.Re-nesting is quite common for smallmouth, particularly
when early nests are destroyed by natural events such as a
Habits: Smallmouths are opportunistic predators, eating
whatever live prey is available. The bulk of their diet consists
of insects, crayfish, and other fish, but they will occasionally
eat tadpoles and frogs. Early morning and evening are their
most active feeding times. In the larger cool, clear interior
streams the smallmouth bass is the dominant predator, feeding
mostly on fish, crustaceans and larger aquatic and terrestrial
insects. In some waters, food habit studies have revealed
that forage fish were present in 40 percent of the stomach
samples, crayfish in 30 percent and insects in 20 percent.
Where crayfish are abundant, they frequently comprise over
two-thirds of the food. By the time fingerling smallmouth
bass are 1 1/2 inches in length, insects and small fish comprise
the bulk of the diet.
means small fin and is a rather unfortunate misnomer
arising from an injured type specimen that made it appear
that the posterior rays of the soft dorsal fin formed
a small separate fin, treculi refers to Trecul the French
compatriot of Vaillant and Bocourt. Trecul actually
caught the specimen.
Black Bass, Guadalupe Spotted Bass
Record: 3 pounds 11 ounces
Features: Guadalupe bass have a greenish body with
10-12 dark bars along the side (similar to a smallmouth
bass). The Guadalupe bass is generally green in color
and may be distinguished from similar species found in
Texas in that it doesnt have vertical bars like
smallmouth bass, its jaw doesnt extend beyond
the eyes as in largemouth bass, and coloration extends
much lower on the body than in spotted bass. Looks like
a spotted bass but has 10-12 diamond shaped bars along
the side. The scales above the anal fin have spots which
blur together to form stripes.
The Guadalupe bass is found only in Texas and has
been named the official state fish. It is endemic to
the Northern and eastern Edwards Plateau including headwaters
of the San Antonio River, the Guadalupe River above
Gonzales, the Colorado River north of Austin, and portions
of the Brazos River drainage. Relatively small populations
can also be found outside of the Edwards Plateau, primarily
in the lower Colorado River, and introduced populations
exist in the Nueces River system.
Typically, Guadalupe bass are found in flowing water,
whereas, largemouth bass are found in quiet water. Gravel
riffles, runs, and flowing pools on creeks and small
to medium rivers
Behavior: Very young fish, and older adults tend
to include more invertebrates in their diet than do
largemouth bass. Juveniles and younger adults tend to
include more fish in their diets than do largemouth
Behavior: When: Spring or summer, Preferred Water
Temperature: 60-65 °F , The male builds a gravel
nest in flowing water . After the female lays up to
9,000 eggs, she is chased away and the male stands guard
over the eggs until they are hatched.Guadalupe bass
may spawn a second time in the summer.Both males and
females become sexually mature when they are 1 year
old. Guadalupe bass spawning begins as early as March
and continues through May and June. A secondary spawn
is possible in late summer or early fall. Like all other
black bass Guadalupe bass build gravel nests for spawning,
preferably in shallow water. Similar to spotted bass
and smallmouth bass, males tend to build nests in areas
with higher flow rates than largemouth bass. When a
male has successfully attracted a female to the nest
she may lay 400 to over 9,000 eggs. The female is then
chased away and the male stands guard over the incubating