Micropterus salmoides

Other Common names: trout, bigmouth bass, green trout, lunker

Preferred Habitat: Largemouth bass can be found in slow moving coastal streams, pools of large rivers, natural lakes and all sizes of man-made impoundments. Largemouth bass prefer warm, moderately clear water that has no noticeable current.

Range: statewide in all warm water habitats

Common Size: 10-24 inches, 1- 8 pounds.

Food Habits: Newly hatched bass feed on water fleas, switching first to insects and then to larval and juvenile fish as they grow. Adult largemouth bass primarily consume other fish. In a large impoundment, the major prey species are threadfin and gizzard shad, while in small impoundments bluegill will predominate in the diet. Basically, the largemouth bass will consume any organism that opportunity will allow.

Spawning: Spawning begins as early as March and continues through June, while water temperatures range between 65-75° F. The male largemouth bass constructs a saucer-shaped nest depression in water two to ten feet deep. One or more females will deposit 5,000 to 150,000 eggs over the nest while the male fertilizes them. The eggs are guarded and fanned by the male until they hatch in 3 to 4 days. The male continues to guard the fry until they are dispersed several weeks after hatching.

Miscellaneous: The largemouth bass is the most important freshwater sport fish in North Carolina. More time and money are spent in the pursuit of this fish by anglers than any other species. In addition to being an important sport fish, the largemouth bass is an essential part of the ecological balance of fish populations. In farm ponds where they are stocked with bluegill and redear sunfish, largemouth bass are responsible for controlling the bream population through predation. In large impoundments, they serve a similar but different function in preying on shad populations. The largemouth bass is the most important predator in most of North Carolina’s fish populations. Largemouth bass handle catch and release as good or better than any other commonly angled freshwater fish. Using recommended catch and release methods, over 96% of released bass can be expected to survive.