Two types of black bass are often caught by North American anglers. Among the most popular freshwater fish in North America, the largemouth bass and smallmouth bass look similar but have considerably different lifestyles.
Largemouth Bass Facts
Adult largemouth weigh up to 20 pounds and can live up to 15 years.
The native range of largemouth bass is the largest of all black bass species. It has been widely introduced beyond its historical limits and is now found in most of the USA.
Largemouth bass are most abundant in shallow, weedy lakes. They are also found in farm ponds, mill ponds, and other small bodies of water.
Largemouth also live in tidal rivers and creeks and can tolerate brackish water more than some other freshwater species.
Largemouth bass virus (LMBV) is a serious problem in some lakes and reservoirs. Outbreaks of the disease in an impoundment often reduce bass populations significantly.
Other names for the species include large mouth, bucket mouth, green bass, black bass, river bass.
Smallmouth Bass Facts
Smallmouth bass weigh as much as 6 pounds. They have been known to live as long as 15 years, although fish over 7 years of age are considered uncommon.
Smallmouth bass are found in clear, cool lakes, rivers, and streams. They prefer large lakes over 100 acres in size and deeper than 30 feet rather than shallow ponds.
Smallmouth bass feed primarily on crayfish and small fish. As adults grow larger, crayfish and small fish make up an even larger part of their diet.
Bass in lakes tend to be more abundant and faster growing than those living in rivers and streams.
Individuals in warmer, southern reservoirs tend to grow faster, but have shorter lifespans than fish from cooler lakes and streams.
In flowing streams, smallmouth tend to be found in deep pools and around rocks. In some streams, adults may occupy a specific pool for the entire warm season.
Smallmouth bass have been introduced into several northern lakes outside their historical range. In northern lakes, the introduction of non-native smallmouth bass has had negative impacts on native species including, brook trout, rainbow trout, Atlantic salmon, and other fish.
Members of this species are known to seek shade in warm weather and also move into deeper, cooler water during summer.