Large Mouth Bass

Micropterus Salmoides

Related Species

Other species of the genus Micropterus (i.e.small mouth bass, rock bass, spotted bass, redeye bass).

AKA

Black bass, Oswego bass, green bass, green trout, Florida bass, Florida (or southern) largemouth, northern largemouth.

Coloration

Olive to dark green in color, with greenish-yellow sides.

Field Marks

Horizontal Stripe down side of body.

Habitat

Largemouth bass seek protective cover such as logs, rock ledges, vegetation, and man-made structures. They prefer clear quiet water, but will survive quite well in a variety of habitats.

Feeding Habits

The bass ranks very highly in the aquatic food chain. A bass 10 inchs or longer has very few enemies and will eat almost anything it can swallow. Because of the bass’s large mouth and flexible stomach it can eat prey nearly half its own length.

Comments

The largemouth can be distinguished from most similar species by the fact that its mouth extends at least to, and often beyond the rear edge of the eyes.

WI Record

11 lbs, 3 oz.  10/12/1940 Lake Ripley, Jefferson County.

Scientific Name

Micropterus means “small fin”; salmoides means “trout-like” in gameness and food.

Distribution

The largemouth bass occurs in all three drainage basins in Wisconsin (Lake Michigan, Mississippi River, and Lake Superior); it is least widespread in the driftless area of southwestern Wisconsin. Wisconsin is near the northern limit of distribution, and it has been suggested that its presence in the state, especially in the northern counties, resulted from introductions.

Spawning

The spawning of largemouth bass in Wisconsin occurs from late April to early July. The selection of nest sites begin when water temperatures reach 60º F, and eggs are laid when the water temperatures are at 62 – 65º F. The male largemouth bass usually selects a sand or gravel bottom upon which to build a nest; however, the fish will also nest on soft bottoms, where they are able to expose such hard objects as roots, twigs, and snail shells on which to deposit the eggs. Territorial defense against intruders is practiced by the largemouth bass as it is by other sunfishes.

Angling

Largemouth bass will bite on almost anything. They can be caught on minnows, worms, or other live bait, plus poppers or streamers presented with a fly rod, or plugs thrown from a casting or spinning rod. Because the bass is usually associated with weeds, a weedless bait will often be necessary. Best fishing times are early morning and evening during the warm months. Bass like warm water and warm weather. Few bite in the winter.