largemouth bass-micropterus salmoides

Largemouth Bass

Largemouth Bass (Micropterus salmoides)
The largemouth bass is one of the most important freshwater gamefish in the United Stated. It is a member of the sunfish family – a species of black bass native to North America. They are able to thrive in a wide range of habitats and their average lifespan is approximately 16 years. They are similar in appearance to the smallmouth bass, but can be distinguished by their longer upper jaw, which when closed extends beyond the eye.

Habitat

The largemouth bass is native only to North America, with its original range spanning the eastern half of the United States and southern Ontario and Quebec in Canada. Due to their extensive stocking and adaptable nature, largemouth bass are now found in abundance throughout the Appalachian and Ozark Ranges, most of the northeastern U.S. and eastern Canada. These fish inhabit lakes, reservoirs, ponds and medium to large rivers. They can also thrive in creeks, ditches, canals and sloughs.

Size & Appearance

The largemouth bass is an olive-green fish marked by a series of dark splotches forming a jagged horizontal stripe along each of its sides. They are the largest of the black basses, with the largest recorded overall length reaching 29.5 inches!

Diet

Adult largemouth bass consume smaller fish, snails, crawfish, frogs, snakes, salamanders, bats and even small water birds, mammals and baby alligators. In larger waters, where these fish occupy deeper waters, their diets shift almost entirely to smaller fish such as shad, yellow perch, ciscoes, shiners and sunfish. Younger largemouth bass diets consist of small baitfish, scuds, small shrimp and insects.

Angling

Largemouth bass are very sought after by anglers due to the exciting fight they put up when hooked. They often jump out of the water while trying to free themselves. Most commonly, anglers use lures such as plastic works, jigs, crankbaits and spinnerbaits to attract these fish. When aiming for trophy fish, it is common for anglers to use live, large golden shiners, night crawlers, minnows, frogs or crawfish.

Fun Facts

  • The largemouth bass is known by a variety of names including brown bass, widemouth bass, bigmouth bass, black bass, bucketmouth, Potter’s fish, Florida bass, Florida largemouth, green bass, green trout, gilsdorf bass, linesides, Oswego bass, southern largemouth, and northern largemouth.
  • The largemouth bass is the state fish of Alabama, Georgia, Mississippi, Florida (state freshwater fish) and Tennessee (official sport fish).
  • Largemouth bass do not migrate seasonally or to breed.
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