Largemouth Bass

Largemouth Bass
Micropterus salmoides


Key Distinguishing Markings:

  • Largemouth Bass can be recognized by the lower jaw which extends past the back edge of the eye.
  • It is dark green above with silvery sides and belly.
  • A dark stripe runs across its body.

Size:

  • Largemouth Bass has been known to reach a weight of over 20 pounds.

Distribution:

  • Orginally, Great Lake and Mississippi River basins; the species is now found throughout North America and the world.
  • Largemouth Bass is found in all waters of Maryland from freshwater to brackish (a mix of fresh and saltwater) waters.

Habitat:

  • Largemouth Bass is found in all waters of Maryland from freshwater to brackish
    (a mix of fresh and saltwater) waters.
  • They like large, slow moving rivers or streams with soft bottoms.
  • They especially like clear water.

Food Preference:

  • Greedy carnivores (meat eating), Largemouth Bass feasts on minnows, perch, sunfish, gizzard shad, small mammals, insects, frogs and occasionally snakes.
  • Adult fish feed near water plants or other structures in shallow waters.

Spawning:

  • Largemouth Bass spawns as early as March or as late as June, depending on water temperature.
  • The males build saucer shaped nests 20 - 30 inches in diameter.
  • The male guards the nest and eggs from all intruders, until the fish hatch.
  • Largemouth Bass may live for 13 years.

Fishing Tips:

  • These fish are an extremely popular sport fish.
  • They are excellent fighters when caught on light spinning tackle.
  • Good baits for catching largemouth bass include live minnows, night crawlers, and a variety of artificial lures.
  • Popular methods of fishing are fly-fishing, bait casting, or bottom fishing.
  • For current recreational size and creel limits, see Maryland's updated regulation page.

Fun Fact:

  • This species is considered the most popular sportfish in the United States.
  • Largemouth Bass fishing tournaments have become very popular in recent years.

Family: Centrarchidae (Sunfishes)

Order: Perciformes (perch-likes)

Class: Actinopterygii (ray-finned fishes)

For information concerning largemouth bass and their management, please contact Mary Groves at 301-888-2423 or Joseph W Love at 410-260-8257.

Illustration Courtesy of Duanne Rivers, USFWS


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