- Micropterus, from the Greek, "small fin"
- salmoides, from the Latin, salmo, "trout"; hence "trout-like"
- Common name from large mouth, the line of which extends back past the eye.
- Other common names include: Bigmouth Bass, Bigmouth Trout, Black
Bass, Bucketmouth Bass, Green Bass, Green Trout, Hawg, Hog, Lineside, Lake
Bass, Openmouth Bass, Oswego Bass, Slough Bass, Welshman
- Kingdom Animalia
- Phylum Chordata, animals with a spinal chord
- Subphylum Vertebrata, animals with a backbone
- Superclass Osteichthyes, bony fishes
- Class Actinopterygii, ray-finned and spiny rayed fishes
- Subclass Neopterygii
- Infraclass Teleostei
- Superorder Acanthopterygii,
- Order Perciformes, perch-like fishes
- Suborder Percoidei
- Family Centrarchidae, sunfish
- Genus Micropterus, black bass, largemouth
- A rather slender, streamlined sunfish, with a very large mouth and an appetite
- Length commonly to 16"
- the northern strain of largemouth seldom exceeds 10lbs
- the southern subspecies (M. salmoides floridanus) is much larger
- dark green on top
- silvery green to yellow green flanks
- belly white to yellowish
- dark, irregular stripe along side
- eye usually gold
- spiny and soft portions of the dorsal fin are separated by a deep notch.
- upper and lower jaws extend past the gold-colored eye
- Lifespan to 13 years.
- Largemouth bass can be recognized by the lower jaw which extends past the
back edge of the eye.
- Distinguished from its smallmouth cousin by:
- its proportionately large mouth; upper jaw extends beyond the eye
- spiny first dorsal fin nearly separate from soft-rayed second fin
- Great Lakes south to the Carolina coast and Gulf of Mexico
- Lakes and streams throughout Minnesota. Most abundant in small to
medium-size hard-water lakes of central, south central, west central, and
northwestern regions. Least common in the lakes of the Lake Superior drainage
and the streams draining the southeastern hills.
- The Boundary Waters are at, or beyond, the northern edge of its natural
range. Most, if not all, may be introduced to these lakes.
- Though tolerant of turbid water, it favors lakes with clear water, sandy
shallows, and abundant rooted aquatic weeds; also slow moving rivers or
streams with soft bottoms. Many species of pondweeds, water lilies, coontail,
elodea, cattails, and bulrushes provide excellent cover.
- A "warm-water" species, it flourishes in waters warmer than 80º F.
and can survive temperatures into the mid-90's.
- In still water, nearly always near vegetation or other underwater structure.
As the water continues to warm after the spawn, spend much of their time
in the shelter of thick cover or deeper water.
- Minnows, Yellow Perch (Perca flavescens),
sunfish, frogs, crayfish, aquatic insects, and any small living animal
or bird hapless enough to fall in the water. (Sorta like a northern
- Feeds largely by sight, but also uses smell and the ability to feel vibration
through the lateral line, a sense organ that runs longitudinally down their
sides. Experiments have demonstrated its ability to locate and capture
minnows by vibration alone.
- Small sac fry feed on microscopic crustaceans, supplemented with insects
and insect larvae as fish grows. Usually start foraging on fish when
- During summer, they typically feed near water plants in shallow waters
at evening and early morning.
- U.S. Record: 22 lbs, 4 oz, from Montgomery Lake, Georgia, 1932
- Minnesota Record: 8lbs, 13oz, from Tetonka Lake (LeSueur County).
- Extremely popular sport fish.
- Spawns early May into June, in 2'-6' of water over firm sand, mud, or gravel,
when the water temperature is 63 º to 68 º F.
- Male usually fans out a 20"-30" diameter, saucer-shaped nest with its tail
prior to spawning, but sometimes they will spawn with very little nest
- Female lays 2,000 to 7,000 eggs per pound of body weight, deposited on
roots of submerged plants or grass. Eggs hatch in 3 -6 days, depending
upon water temperature.
- After spawning, female moves off to deep water; male guards the nest until
the eggs hatch and mature into a swarm of black fry. During this time,
the male strikes savagely at intruding fish (or lures) but does not eat.
When fry reach an inch in length, they leave the nest. Male resumes feeding
and may eat any young bass he encounters.
- Largely because of the male's care in building and guarding nest, many
fry survive, and a few adult bass can quickly populate new waters. There
appears no correlation between number of spawning bass and subsequent number
of young. Success of the spawn depends entirely on good spawning areas
and stable weather. (A severe cold front, for example, may cause the male
to desert the nest. Then the eggs or fry can be eaten by other fish.)
- Both sexes usually reach sexual maturity in third year; faster growing
bass can mature in second year. Male builds guarding the nest and eggs
from all intruders, until hatching.
- Interestingly enough, the generic name for our freshwater bass, Micropterus,
meaning "small fin", is a misnomer. The speciman from which the genus
was named had a damaged fin which gave the appearance of a small fin behind
the dorsal. This characteristic, needless to say, is not shared by
the other members of the genus. Ah, taxonomy is such an exacting
Last updated on 13 November 1999