Largemouth Bass

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  • Largemouth Bass : (Micropterus salmoides)

    Description
    Native to the St. Lawrence and Great Lakes, Hudson bay and the Mississippi River basin: Atlantic drainages from North Carolina to Florida. Introduced into Arizona in 1897. Very large mouth with upper jaw bone of adults extending beyond rear margin of eye. Dark olive-green on the back with green sides shading to white belly. Dark horizontal band on each side. Coloration is darker and more distinct in clearer water and can pale greatly in highly turbid conditions. Deep notch in dorsal fin. Soft dorsal fin usually has 12 to 13 rays. Largemouth bass are actually members of the sunfish family, not the true bass family (stripers and white bass). Length: 10 to 28 inches. Weight: 8 ounces to over 16 pounds.

    Location and Habitat
    Found in most bodies of water statewide except for cool high elevation lakes. A warm water fish that prefers clear water with structure and cover. Generally, bass move to deep water during the day and return to the shallows to feed at night.


    Reproduction

    Spawning takes place from February to June. The spawn is triggered when water temperatures reach 60-62 F. Largemouths typically build nests, although they will spawn without a nest. Both the nest and the fry are defended by the male. The young move inshore to feed.


    Food
    Bass are carnivorous, eating anything that moves. Their main diet is fish, such as, sunfish and shad. They will also take crayfish and aquatic insects when other foods are hard to find.

    Angling
    Largemouth bass are the second most popular fish in Arizona. They are caught on a variety of baits, both natural and artificial. Depending on the time of the year, bass can be caught in shallow water with a surface lure or deep with jigs or plastic worms. An angler should think structure when bass fishing. Bass concentrate around submerged trees, aquatic vegetation and underwater drop-offs.

    Table Quality
    The meat is mild tasting, white, flaky, firm and good tasting.

    Information from The Arizona Game and Fish Department.

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