Latin name

Micropterus dolomieui, Micropterus dolomieui dolomieui, Micropterus dolomieui velox

Other names

Black bass, smallmouth, bronzeback, brown bass, brownie, smallie, redeye; French: achigan à petite bouche; German: schwarzbarsch; Japanese: kokuchibasu.


The smallmouth bass has a strong, slightly laterally compressed and elongated body, a protruding lower jaw, red eyes, and a broad and slightly forked tail. The pelvic fins are located in front of the body below the pectoral fins. There is one spike on each pelvic fin and on the front of the anal fin. The two dorsal fins are connected or notched. The anterior fin is barbed and the second fin has a single spike followed by soft rays. The color of the fish varies from brown, golden brown, olive to green on the back, becoming lighter to golden on the sides and white on the belly. Young fish have more distinct vertical stripes or rows of spots on their flanks, and the caudal fin, or tail, is orange at the base, then black and then white on the outer edges. Smallmouth bass are easily distinguished from largemouth by their clearly connected dorsal fins, scales at the base of the second part of the dorsal fin with soft rays, and an upper jawbone that extends only to the middle of the eye. The coloration is also distinctive, usually more brown in the smallmouth and more greenish in the largemouth.


Smallmouth bass is endemic only to North America, and its original range extended from the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence River drainage in Canada south to northern Georgia, west to eastern Oklahoma, and north to Minnesota. It has since spread widely within that range and beyond, through southern Canada west to British Columbia and east to the Seaside Islands, west to the Pacific Coast states, and into the southwestern United States. It has also been introduced to Hawaii, Asia, Europe, and Africa.


Smallmouth bass prefers to clean, calm waters with gravel, gravel, or stony bottoms. They live in gentle, medium-sized streams with deep pools and plenty of shade, or in fairly deep, clear lakes and reservoirs with rocky shoals. Although they are fairly adaptable, they are rarely found in murky water, and they avoid fast currents. In a typical river, smallmouth bass predominate in the cool midsection. In still waters, smallmouth bass may inhabit lakes, reservoirs or ponds, if these bodies of water are large and deep enough, they tend to be deeper than largemouth bass as soon as the surface layer warms up in spring or early summer.


Its average lifespan is 5 to 6 years, although it can live as long as 15 years. Most small bass caught by anglers weigh between 1 and 11⁄2 pounds and range in length from 9 to 13 inches. Fish weighing more than 3 pounds are considered large. The largest known smallmouth bass is the Tennessee record, an 11-pound, 15-ounce fish caught in Dale Hollow Lake in 1955. The Neosho subspecies, which is more slender, is found in the Neosho River and tributaries of the Arkansas River in Missouri, Kansas, Arkansas, and Oklahoma.

Life history and Behavior

Smallmouth bass spawn in the spring (or early summer in most northern water bodies) when water temperatures range from 60° to 65 °F. The male builds a nest in the water at depths ranging from 1 to 12 feet, depending on conditions. The nest site is most often on a gravel or rocky bottom, but in lakes it may also be on a sandy bottom, and is usually under the protection of a log or boulder. Older bass prefers the rocky, shallow areas of lakes and rivers and retreat to deeper areas when water temperatures rise. They seek shelter and avoid light and generally do not inhabit the dense, weedy or wooded areas that largemouth bass prefer. They hide in deep water, behind rocks and boulders, around underwater debris and crevices, preferring water temperatures of 66° to 72 °F.

Food and feeding habits

These highly carnivorous and predatory fish will eat anything they can get their hands on, but they have a clear preference for crustaceans and small fish. In lakes these are small perch, panfish, perch, and a variety of minnows the size of a finger. In rivers, they are minnows, crayfish, hellgrammites, nymph larvae and leeches.


No information

Phylum Chordata
Class Actinopterygii
Squad Perciformes
Family Centrarchidae
Genus Micropterus
Species M. dolomieu
Conservation status Least Concern
Habitat Pelagic
Life span, years 15
Maximum body weight, kg 5.4
Maximum length, cm 69
Sailing speed, m/s No information
Threat to people Edible
Way of eating Predator

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Bass, Smallmouth: Northern Smallmouth Bass, Neosho Smallmouth Bass

Tags: Bass, Smallmouth: Northern Smallmouth Bass, Neosho Smallmouth Bass