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  1. Brad Babylon, Recreational Angler
  2. Westminster
  3. Total Reports: 11
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Posted on May 8, 2013 | Permalink

What Are These Black Spots?

Type: Freshwater
Region: Central
Location: Liberty Reservoir

Good afternoon. I went out to Liberty for some shoreline fishing on Saturday evening. I caught 3 SM (one at 3 lbs 5 ounces) - all on Carolina rig. I also caught one 17" LM that was covered in black spots. Picture attached. Any idea as to what this is?? Also of note was that 3 of the 4 fish we caught had part of their lips tore up?? Didn't look like it was from a hook either. Kind of strangeÖ Thanks!!

DNR Response: The lips of the bass could been torn by anglers who were culling fish as part of a tournament. It could also be something the fish dealt with when it was eating Ė maybe a spine from its prey got a little too close to the fleshy membrane around the mouth. Or it may have been snagged by a hook.

The black blotches on the bass are not uncommon in tidal waters or ponds. Folks nationwide have seen similar pigmentation of Smallmouth and Largemouth Bass from rivers and lakes. After much research on the pigmentation, it turns out the pigmentation is just that. It doesnít seem to be caused by a virus, bacteria, or other type of pathogen. Some folks suggest itís genetic, others suggest itís caused by exposure to sunlight. To be honest, no one really knows what causes it. One thing people do know, though, is that the pigmentation does not harm the fish.

We posted an article from PA Game and Fish on this subject because it came up in the recent CBF report on smallmouth from the Susquehanna River. Iím not sure where that link is, but I did find the link to the article: http://www.fish.state.pa.us/newsreleases/2012press/bass-spots.htm.

Tags: Smallmouth Bass, Largemouth Bass