Largemouth Bass

Common Name: Largemouth Bass.

Scientific Name: Micropterus Salmoides.

What to look for?  The Largemouth Bass is generally olive-green with dark blotches that form a prominent horizontal stripe along the middle of the fish on either side. The sides are a light green in color and the belly is almost white. The underside of the head is also whitest. They have a nearly divided dorsal fin with the anterior portion containing approximately nine spines and the posterior portion containing about a dozen soft rays. One characteristic that distinguishes the Largemouth Bass from the Smallmouth Bass is an upper jaw that extends beyond the posterior edge of their eye.

Where can they be found at Carillon Stonegate Pond? Largemouth Bass are in Carillon Stonegate Pond. You may see those fishing in our ponds catch a Largemouth Bass (and quickly release back into the pond). They may be seen leaping out of the pond to catch an insect.

How big are they? The Largemouth Bass averages 16 inches in length. They typically weigh from one (1) to three (3) pounds – are you hearing something else from your fisherman!

How else do they behave? Adult Largemouth Bass are usually solitary and do not interact with each other. On the other hand, juvenile Largemouth Bass are more social, forming schools with similarly-sized fish. They typically swim at about three (3) miles per hour but may reach swimming speeds of up to ten (10) or more miles per hour. Largemouth Bass depend heavily on their sight and hearing to locate their prey and feed.

What’s for dinner? Adult Largemouth Bass feed on fish, crayfish and frogs. Young Largemouth Bass will feed on crustaceans, insects, and small fish.

Where do they take up residence? The Largemouth Bass is native to much of eastern North America. It has a broad range as far north as Quebec, Canada, and as far south as northern Mexico. Largemouth Bass prefer clear, vegetated lakes, ponds, creeks, and rivers.

When and where do they breed and nest? Largemouth Bass spawn in the spring. The males prepare the nest. Upon completion, the females come and lay more their eggs. The male Largemouth Bass then chases the female away, externally fertilizes them and protects the nest. The young, called fry, will hatch in five to ten days, and remain in the nest for protection. When the fry reaches a couple inches in length, they will begin to feed on insect larvae and smaller fishes. Their lifespan is on average 16 years.

What are their predators? Adult Largemouth Bass have few predators. Young Largemouth Bass, on the other hand, have many. They are targeted by northern pike, walleye, muskellunge, yellow perch, channel catfish, and common carp. Multiple birds feed on Largemouth Bass, including Great Blue Herons, kingfishers, and bitterns. And we have seen the Bald Eagle and Osprey hunting at Carillon Stonegate Pond.

What is their conservation status? There is no concern. Largemouth Bass are listed as a species of "Least Concern" on the IUCN Red List. They have no special status on the CITES (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora) appendices and the United States Endangered Species Act list. No major threats are known to this species.

Where do they migrate? No. While Largemouth Bass – like most freshwater fish – do not migrate nor hibernate, they will live deeper within the lake or pond.

Interesting Facts About Largemouth Bass:

  • Largemouth Bass are a top predator and considered a keystone species in the ecosystem, where they exert top-down control of the food chain.

  • Largemouth Bass are one of the top recreational fish species in the United States.

  • The Largemouth Bass is the state fish of Georgia and Mississippi, official freshwater fish of Alabama and Florida, and the official sport fish of Tennessee.

  • While a five (5) pound Largemouth Bass is considered large to most anglers, the world record weighed in at over 22 pounds.

For more information on Largemouth Bass and sources of information used in this blog (these are the several of the sources that I am using to learn as I blog), please visit U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, University of Florida Museum of Natural History, Texas Parks & Wildlife, University of Michigan Animal Diversity Web and the American Expedition.

The Carillon at Stonegate community is very fortunate to have a variety of wetland, forest and prairie environments conducive to a variety of birds and other wildlife, insects and plants. Our community and the Kane County Forest Preserve do an exceptional job in maintaining this natural environment – both for the benefit of the birds and wildlife and for our residents to enjoy.

 

Take a hike and see what you can find – and identify!