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Montana Animal Field Guide

Montana Field Guides

Rock Bass - Ambloplites rupestris

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Exotic Species (not native to Montana)

Global Rank: G5
State Rank: SNA

Agency Status
USFWS:
USFS:
BLM:
FWP Conservation Tier: 4


 

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General Description
The rock bass is a stout little sunfish with a red eye. They were introduced in Wyoming and found their way downstream in the Tongue River drainage of southeastern Montana, which is presently their only known locale. Montana is apparently too cold for these 6-8 inch sunfish to thrive, and they are of little importance in this state although they are popular panfish elsewhere. All of the sunfishes are important forage fish for northern pike, walleye, and bass.

Diagnostic Characteristics
Body robust.

General Distribution
Montana Range


 


Summary of Observations Submitted for Montana
Number of Observations: 67

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Relative Density

Recency

 

(Records associated with a range of dates are excluded from time charts)



Migration
Studies on Tongue River showed migration movements into Otter Creek late May - early June. Probably related to spawning.

Habitat
Pools of rocky-bottomed streams; rocky shallow areas of lakes. Seeks moderately warm water. In Montana, found only in Tongue River Drainage.

Food Habits
Eats many kinds of aquatic insects, crustaceans, mollusks, and small fishes.

Ecology
Do not commonly exeed half a pound in north waters. Montana waters are marginal for this species.

Reproductive Characteristics
Sexually mature at 2 - 3 years. Spawns May - June in slow current over gravel bed. Eggs and fry defended vigorously.

References
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Citation for data on this website:
Rock Bass — Ambloplites rupestris.  Montana Field Guide.  Montana Natural Heritage Program and Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks.  Retrieved on July 28, 2014, from http://FieldGuide.mt.gov/detail_AFCQB06040.aspx
 
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