Largemouth bass

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Largemouth bass
Largemouth bass fish underwater animal in natural habitat micropterus salmoides.jpg
Scientific classification Red Pencil Icon.png
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Actinopterygii
Order: Perciformes
Family: Centrarchidae
Genus: Micropterus
M. salmoides
Binomial name
Micropterus salmoides
(Lacépède, 1802) [2]
Synonyms [2]
  • Labrus salmoidesLacepède, 1802
  • Aplites salmoides(Lacepède, 1802)
  • Grystes salmoides(Lacepède, 1802)
  • Huro salmoides(Lacepède, 1802)
  • Huro nigricans Cuvier, 1828
  • Grystes nigricans(Cuvier, 1828)
  • Perca nigricans(Cuvier, 1828)
  • Grystes megastoma Garlick, 1857

The largemouth bass (Micropterus salmoides) is a carnivorous freshwater gamefish in the Centrarchidae (sunfish) family, a species of black bass native to the eastern and central United States, southeastern Canada and northern Mexico, but widely introduced elsewhere. [2] It is known by a variety of regional names, such as the widemouth bass, bigmouth bass, black bass, bucketmouth, largies, Potter's fish, Florida bass, Florida largemouth, green bass, bucketmouth bass, Green trout, gilsdorf bass, Oswego bass, LMB, and southern largemouth and northern largemouth. [3] The largemouth bass is the state fish of Georgia [4] and Mississippi, [5] and the state freshwater fish of Florida [6] and Alabama. [7] [8]



The largemouth bass is an olive-green to greenish gray fish, marked by a series of dark, sometimes black, blotches forming a jagged horizontal stripe along each flank. [9] The upper jaw (maxilla) of a largemouth bass extends beyond the rear margin of the orbit. [10] The largemouth is the largest of the black basses, reaching a maximum recorded overall length of 29.5 in (75 cm) [11] and a maximum unofficial weight of 25 pounds 1 ounce (11.4 kg). [11] Sexual dimorphism is found, with the female larger than the male. [12] Average lifespan in the wild is 10 to 16 years. [13]


The juvenile largemouth bass consumes mostly small bait fish, scuds, water fleas, [14] copepods, [15] small shrimp, and insects. Adults consume smaller fish (bluegill, banded killifish, minnows), shad, worms, snails, crawfish (crayfish), frogs, snakes, salamanders, bats [16] and even small water birds, mammals, turtle hatchlings, and alligator hatchlings. [17] In larger lakes and reservoirs, adult bass occupy deeper water than younger fish, and shift to a diet consisting almost entirely of smaller fish like shad, yellow perch, ciscoes, suckers, shiners, other cyprinids, [18] freshwater silversides, [19] and sunfish. It also consumes younger members of larger fish species, such as catfish, trout, walleye, white bass, striped bass, and even smaller black bass. Prey items can be as large as 50% of the bass's body length or larger. [20]

Studies of prey utilization by largemouths show that in weedy waters, bass grow more slowly due to difficulty in acquiring prey. Less weed cover allows bass to more easily find and catch prey, but this consists of more open-water baitfish. With little or no cover, bass can devastate the prey population and starve or be stunted. Fisheries managers must consider these factors when designing regulations for specific bodies of water. Under overhead cover, such as overhanging banks, brush, or submerged structure, such as weedbeds, points, humps, ridges, and drop-offs, the largemouth bass uses its senses of hearing, sight, vibration, and smell to attack and seize its prey. Adult largemouth are generally apex predators within their habitat, but they are preyed upon by many animals while young, [21] including great blue herons, larger bass, northern pike, walleye, muskellunge, yellow perch, channel catfish, northern water snakes, crappie, common carp, and American eels. [22] Multiple species of kingfishers and bitterns feed on this bass, as well. Both the young and adult largemouths are targeted by the bald eagle. [23]

Notably in the Great Lakes Region, Micropterus salmoides along with many other species of native fish have been known to prey upon the invasive round goby (Neogobius melanostomus). Remains of said fish have been found inside the stomachs of largemouth bass consistently. This feeding habit may impact the ecosystem positively, but more research must be conducted to verify this. Note that it is illegal to use or possess live Neogobius melanostomus as bait in the Great Lakes Region. [24]


Side view of a living largemouth bass Largemouth-bass-20170129-cropped.jpg
Side view of a living largemouth bass

Largemouth bass usually reach sexual maturity and begin spawning when they are about a year old. [25] Spawning takes place in the spring season when the water temperature first holds steady above 60˚F. In the northern region of the United States and Canada, this usually occurs anywhere from late April until early July. In the southern states, where the largest and healthiest specimens typically inhabit, this process can begin in March and is usually over by June. [26] Males create nests by moving debris from the bottom of the body of water using their tails. These nests are usually about twice the length of the males, although this can vary. [25] Bass prefer sand, muck, or gravel bottoms, but will also use rocky and weedy bottoms where there is cover for their nest, such as roots or twigs. [27] After finishing the nest, the males swim near the nest looking for a female to mate with. After one is found, the two bass swim around the nest together, turning their bodies so that the eggs and sperm that are being released will come in contact on the way down to the nest. Bass will usually spawn twice per spring, with some spawning three or four times, although this is not as common. The male will then guard the nest until the eggs hatch, which can take about 2 to 4 days in the southern U.S and Northern Mexico, and slightly longer in the northern part of its Native Range. Finally, depending on the water temperature, the male will stay with the nest until the infant bass are ready to swim out on their own, which can be about two more weeks after they hatch. After this, the male, female, and newborns will switch to more of a summer mode, in which they then focus more on feeding. [25]


A Largemouth bass caught by an angler Caught largemouth bass.jpg
A Largemouth bass caught by an angler
Largemouth bass caught in central New Jersey, June 2nd, 2020 (released) PB-LMB.jpg
Largemouth bass caught in central New Jersey, June 2nd, 2020 (released)

Largemouth bass are keenly sought after by anglers and are noted for the excitement of their 'fight', meaning how vigorously the fish resists being hauled into the boat or onto shore after being hooked. The fish will often become airborne in their effort to throw the hook, but many say that their cousin species, the smallmouth bass, is even more aggressive. [28] Anglers most often fish for largemouth bass with lures such as Spinnerbait, plastic worms (and other plastic baits), jigs, crankbaits, and live bait, such as worms and minnows. A recent trend is the use of large swimbaits to target trophy bass that often forage on juvenile rainbow trout in California. Fly fishing for largemouth bass may be done using both topwater and worm imitations tied with natural or synthetic materials. Other live baits, such as frogs or crawfish, can also be productive. In fact, large golden shiners are a popular live bait used to catch trophy bass, especially when they are sluggish in the heat of summer or in the cold of winter. [29] Largemouth bass usually hang around big patches of weeds and other shallow water cover. These fish are very capable of surviving in a wide variety of climates and waters. They are perhaps, one of the World's most tolerant freshwater fish.

The world record largemouth according to the IGFA is shared by Manabu Kurita and George W. Perry. Kurita's bass was caught from Lake Biwa in Japan on July 2, 2009, and weighed 10.12 kg (22 lbs 4 oz.) Perry's bass was caught on June 2, 1932, from Montgomery Lake in Georgia and weighed 10.09 kg (22 lbs 4 oz.) This record is shared because the IGFA states a new record must beat the old record by at least 2 ounces. [30]

Strong cultural pressure among largemouth bass anglers encourages the practice of catch and release, especially the larger specimens, mainly because larger specimens are usually breeding females that contribute heavily to future sport fishing stocks. Largemouth bass respond well to catch and release, with a very high survival rate after release, especially if the fish is handled with care and is loosely hooked in the side or top of the mouth.[ citation needed ] However, if the fish swallows the hook, survival odds greatly decrease. [ citation needed ] Largemouth bass have a white, slightly mushy meat, lower quality than that of the smallmouth bass, bluegill, yellow perch, crappie or walleye. Small largemouth, of 10–14 inches, can contain higher quality meat, especially during the spring.[ citation needed ]

Given largemouth bass' prevalence across North America and their accessibility to the everyday angler, largemouth bass are often viewed as an introductory fish. Fishing for largemouth bass can help beginner anglers transition away from traditional "worm on a hook" angling towards fishing with artificial lures and strategies. It is often the case that recreational fishermen become "addicted to fishing" shortly after they make largemouth bass their target species. The cultural implications of largemouth bass are quite significant, as there are even competitions and tournaments specifically targeting largemouth bass in North America.

Invasive species

The largemouth bass has been introduced into many other regions and countries due to its popularity as a sport fish. It causes the decline, displacement or extinctions of species in its new habitat through predation and competition, [31] for example in Namibia. They are also an invasive species in the Canadian province of New Brunswick, and are on the watch list across much of the far northern US and Canada. In colder waters, these fish are often a danger to native fish fry such as salmon and trout. [32] They have also been blamed for the extinction of the Atitlan grebe, a large waterbird which once inhabited Lake Atitlan, Guatemala. [33] In 2011, researchers found that in streams and rivers in the Iberian Peninsula, juvenile largemouth bass were able to demonstrate trophic plasticity, meaning that they were able to adjust their feeding habits to obtain the necessary amount of energy needed to survive. The ability to do such, allows them to be successful as invasive species in relatively stable aquatic food webs. [34] Similarly, a study done in Japan showed that the introduction of both largemouth bass and bluegill into farm ponds have caused increases in the numbers of benthic organisms, resulting from the predation on fishes, crustaceans, and nymphal odonates by the bass. [35] The largemouth bass has been causing sharp decreases in native fish populations in Japan since 1996, especially in bitterling fish in Lake Izunuma-Uchinuma. [36]

Related Research Articles

Bass is a name shared by many species of fish. The term encompasses both freshwater and marine species, all belonging to the large order Perciformes, or perch-like fishes. The word bass comes from Middle English bars, meaning 'perch'.

<i>Micropterus</i> Genus of fishes

Micropterus is a genus of Freshwater fish in the sunfish family (Centrarchidae) of order Perciformes. The species of this genus are known as the black bass.

Spotted bass Species of fish

The spotted bass, also called spotty, or spots in various fishing communities, is a species of freshwater fish of the sunfish family (Centrarchidae) of the order Perciformes. One of the black basses, it is native to the Mississippi River basin and across the Gulf states, from central Texas through the Florida panhandle. Its native range extends into the western Mid-Atlantic states and it has been introduced into western North Carolina and Virginia. It has also been introduced to southern Africa, where it has become established in some isolated waters. It is often mistaken for the similar and more common largemouth bass.

Smallmouth bass Species of freshwater fish

The smallmouth bass is a species of freshwater fish in the sunfish family (Centrarchidae) of the order Perciformes. It is the type species of its genus. One of the black basses, it is a popular game fish sought by anglers throughout the temperate zones of North America, and has been spread by stocking—as well as illegal introductions—to many cool-water tributaries and lakes in Canada and more so introduced in the United States. The maximum recorded size is approximately 27 inches and 12 pounds. The smallmouth bass is native to the upper and middle Mississippi River basin, the Saint Lawrence River–Great Lakes system, and up into the Hudson Bay basin. The world record size was 11 lbs and 15 ounces caught in the reservoir Dale Hollow, on the Kentucky—Tennessee border. Its common names include smallmouth, bronzeback, brown bass, brownie, smallie, bronze bass, and bareback bass.

Centrarchidae Family of fishes

Centrarchidae are a family of freshwater ray-finned fish belonging to the order Perciformes. The type genus is Centrarchus. The centrarchid family comprises 38 species of fish, 34 of which are extant and includes many fish familiar to North Americans, including the rock bass, largemouth bass, bluegill, pumpkinseed, green sunfish, and crappies. All species in the family are native to only North America.

Bass fishing

Bass fishing is the activity of angling for the North American gamefish known colloquially as the black bass. There are numerous black bass species considered as gamefish in North America, including largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, spotted bass or Kentucky bass, and Guadalupe bass. Black bass are members of the sunfish family, Centrarchidae.

Bluegill Species of fish

The bluegill is a species of freshwater fish sometimes referred to as "bream", "brim", "sunny", or "copper nose". It is a member of the sunfish family Centrarchidae of the order Perciformes. It is native to North America and lives in streams, rivers, lakes, and ponds. It is commonly found east of the Rockies. It usually hides around and inside old tree stumps and other underwater structures. It can live in either deep or very shallow water, and will often move from one to the other depending on the time of day or season. Bluegills also like to find shelter among aquatic plants and in the shade of trees along banks.

Pumpkinseed Species of fish

The pumpkinseed is a North American Freshwater fish of the sunfish family (Centrarchidae) of order Perciformes. It is also referred to as pond perch, common sunfish, punkie, sunfish, sunny, and kivver.

Warmouth Species of fish

The warmouth, is a freshwater fish of the sunfish family (Centrarchidae) that is found throughout the eastern United States. Other local names include molly, redeye, goggle-eye, red-eyed bream, and strawberry perch.

Rock bass Species of freshwater fish

The rock bass, also known as the rock perch, goggle-eye, red eye, is a freshwater fish native to east-central North America. This red eyed creature is a species of freshwater fish in the sunfish family (Centrarchidae) of order Perciformes and can be distinguished from other similar species by the six spines in the anal fin.

Yellow perch Species of fish

The yellow perch, commonly referred to as perch, striped perch, American perch,American river perch or preacher is a freshwater perciform fish native to much of North America. The yellow perch was described in 1814 by Samuel Latham Mitchill from New York. It is closely related, and morphologically similar to the European perch ; and is sometimes considered a subspecies of its European counterpart. Other common names for yellow perch include American perch, coontail, lake perch, raccoon perch, ring-tail perch, ringed perch, and striped perch. Another nickname for the perch is the Dodd fish.

Redbreast sunfish Species of fish

The redbreast sunfish is a species of freshwater fish in the sunfish family of order Perciformes. The type species of its genus, it is native to the river systems of eastern Canada and the United States. The redbreast sunfish reaches a maximum recorded length of about 30 centimetres (12 in).

Green sunfish Species of fish

The green sunfish is a species of Freshwater fish in the sunfish family (Centrarchidae) of order Perciformes. A panfish popular with anglers, the green sunfish is also kept as an aquarium fish by hobbyists. They are usually caught by accident, while fishing for other game fish. Green sunfish can be caught with live bait such as nightcrawlers, waxworms, mealworms, and blood worms. Grocery store baits such as pieces of hot dog or corn kernels can even catch fish. Green sunfish are aggressive and will hit small lures. They can be caught with fly fishing tackle.

Longear sunfish Species of fish

The longear sunfish is a freshwater fish in the sunfish family, Centrarchidae, of order Perciformes. It is native to the area of eastern North America stretching from the Great Lakes down to northeastern Mexico. The longear sunfish reaches a maximum recorded length of about 24 cm (9.5 in), with a maximum recorded weight of 790g (1.7 lb). Most do not live beyond six years. The longear sunfish is quite colorful, with an olive to rusty-brown back, bright orange belly and blue-green bars on the sides of its head. A unique characteristic is their elongated operculum flap, giving an appearance of a "long ear".

Redear sunfish Species of fish

The redear sunfish, also known as the shellcracker, Georgia bream, cherry gill, chinquapin, improved bream, rouge ear sunfish and sun perch) is a freshwater fish in the family Centrarchidae and is native to the southeastern United States. Since it is a popular sport fish, it has been introduced to bodies of water all over North America. It is known for its diet of mollusks and snails.

Fallfish Species of fish

The fallfish is a North American freshwater fish, a chub in the family Cyprinidae. The fallfish is the largest minnow species native to Eastern North America.

Brook stickleback Species of fish

The brook stickleback is a small freshwater fish that is distributed across the US and Canada. It grows to a length of about 2 inches. It occupies the northern part of the eastern United States, as well as the southern half of Canada. Small populations are scattered throughout the Mississippi-Great Lakes basin extending to Colorado, New Mexico, Kentucky, Tennessee, etc., though some of these areas are not native to the species. This small fish inhabits clear, cool streams and lakes. They eat small invertebrates, algae, insect larvae, and occasionally their own eggs. They are also preyed upon by smallmouth bass and northern pike. Feeding time is usually dawn and sunset. The brook stickleback does have active competition mostly from minnows, but feeding times are different, along with diet. Spawning occurs in midsummer. Males secure a territory, build a nest, and mate with females. Males provide protection for the eggs, ward off predators, and usually die later in the season. This is considered an annual species. The nests are built out of aquatic grasses. Though the brook stickleback is not considered a threatened species, deforesting and changing waters are altering ecosystems of the species. Harvesting of trees around riparian environments is having a large effect of the stream ecosystem where the brook stickleback resides.

The Natchitoches National Fish Hatchery is a federal, warm water fish hatchery located in Natchitoches, Louisiana, United States. Natchitoches is involved in spawning, hatching and rearing young fish.

<i>Strophitus undulatus</i> Species of bivalve

Strophitus undulatus is a species of mussel in the Unionidae, the river mussels. It is native to eastern Canada and the eastern United States. Its common names include creeper, squawfoot, sloughfoot, and strange floater.

Fishing in Colorado has brought in a large amount of revenue for the state. In 2019 Colorado Parks and Wildlife estimated outdoor recreation contributed roughly 62 billion dollars to the state economy. Fishing was reported to be the 5th most popular outdoor activity and 110, 511 fishing and hunting combination licenses were sold. Ice fishing makes up part of this total fishing revenue and is a common annual sport for Colorado residents and out-of-state visitors. There is no legal definition of ice fishing season. Rather, people begin to ice fish once the lakes freeze over with thick enough ice. Colorado Parks and Wildlife also recommend that people always ice-fish with another person. Typically, this starts in December and ends in April for Colorado. Lakes size, depth, elevation, and seasonal weather can cause variance to the season. Once the lakes freeze over with thick enough ice, anglers go out onto the ice, drill holes through the ice, and fish for a variety of species.


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