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Largemouth Bass (Micropterus salmoides)

Largemouth Bass

Other Common Names

Black bass, bigmouth

Identification

Basically dark greenish above fading to a whitish belly, but variable depending on the water it lives in. Shows a series of dark blotches that form a dark horizontal band along its midline to its tail. Named because of its big mouth. Upper jaw extends well beyond the eye. Dorsal fin deeply notched. Average weight is 2 to 4 lbs., with up to 10 lbs. occurring in some waters.

Best Fishing

Lakes: Anna, Gaston, Buggs Island, Chickahominy, Chesdin, Smith Mountain, Prince, Briery Creek, Western Branch and Flannagan. Rivers: Chickahominy (below Walkers Dam) and James (below the fall line).

Fishing Techniques

Fly, medium spincasting, spinning or baitcasting rods and reels can all be used. Plastic worms and other plastic imitations, crankbaits, spinner baits, surface lures, jigs and other lures imitating minnows, crayfish, frogs, salamanders and nightcrawlers. For flyrodders, streamer flies, bucktails and large poppers. Live bait includes small bluegills, minnows of many kinds, crayfish, nightcrawlers, frogs, etc.

Feeding Habits

An opportunistic feeder, it eats other fish, frogs, crayfish, tadpoles, aquatic and terrestrial insects, small rodents, snakes and ducklings.

Habitat

Native to southeastern Virginia, but introduced statewide. Inhabits warm, shallow lakes, ponds and slow-moving streams, with plenty of submerged vegetation, brush, stumps and logs, usually in depths of less than 20 ft. Prefers temperatures of 68° to 78° F. In reservoirs it orients to drop-offs, ledges, underwater islands, sunken timber, boat houses, docks and bridges.

Spawning Habits

Spawns late April to early June as water warms to between 62° and 78°F. Males fan out a saucer-shaped nest along a protected shoreline area of gravel, sand or mud. Following spawning, females leave nests and males remain to guard eggs and fry.