Largemouth Bass - Micropterus salmoides
The largemouth bass is the largest and most widely acclaimed gamefish in the sunfish family. Largemouth are true warmwater fish, thriving in temperatures up to 90 F in their native southeastern U.S. The largemouth bass may be the most widely introduced species in North America and are now found virtually all across the continent as well as east and west of the Divide in Montana. Another spring spawning nest-builder, the largemouth bass prefers habitat that is very warm, such as weedy ponds or sloughs. They are seldom found in rivers or in waters deeper than 20 feet. An aggressive and opportunistic surface-feeder, largemouth bass are primarily fish-eaters. They also will eat nearly any other water-borne animal on occasion. The Montana record largemouth bass is a little over 8 pounds, but the world record is 22 pounds. Largemouth bass do well in many marginal trout ponds but are subject to winterkill and often need to be restocked.
Length of the longest dorsal spine at least twice the length of the shortest dosal spine at notch. Young have a bicolored tail, the rear being darker than the front.
Summary of Observations Submitted for Montana
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(Observations spanning multiple months or years are excluded from time charts)
Clear mud-bottomed lakes and stream backwaters. Seeks areas with comparatively warm summer water temperatures and ample aquatic vegetation.
Adults feed mostly on fishes. Minnows and suckers are the most frequent foods. Frogs and aquatic insects are also eaten. Young first feed on plankton.
Grows slowly in Montana because of cold water temperatures.
Sexually mature in 3-5 years. Spawns May-mid July. Eggs and fry cannot tolerate temperatures below 50 degrees F. Usually spawns at 62-65 degrees F. among emergent vegetation in quiet bays.
- Additional ReferencesLegend: View Online Publication
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- Evenson, E.J. 1978. The dietary effects of Rana catesbeiana on Micropterus salmoides. M.S. Thesis. University of Nebraska at Lincoln. 24 pp.
- Kirk, W.L. 1964. The nutritional value of bullfrog tadpoles (Rana catesbeiana) as forage for the largemouth bass (Micropterus salmoides). M.S. Thesis, Southern Illinois University. 29p.
- Lewis, W.M., G.E. Gunning, E. Lyles and W.L. Bridges. 1961. Food choice of largemouth bass as a function of availability and vulnerability of food items. Transactions of the American Fisheries Society 90: 277-280.
- Waage, Bruce C., 1987, Western Energy Company Rosebud Mine, Colstrip, Montana: Annual Wildlife Monitoring Report, 1987 Field Season. December 1987.
- Waage, Bruce C., 1988, Western Energy Company Rosebud Mine, Colstrip, Montana: Annual Wildlife Monitoring Report, 1988 Field Season. December 1988.
- Waage, Bruce C., 1989, Western Energy Company Rosebud Mine, Colstrip, Montana: Annual Wildlife Monitoring Report, 1989 Field Season. December 1989.
- Waage, Bruce C., compiler., 1984, Western Energy Company Rosebud Mine, Rosebud County, Montana: Annual Wildlife Monitoring Report, 1983 Field Season. June 1984.
- Waage, Bruce C., compiler., 1986, Western Energy Company Rosebud Mine, Rosebud County, Montana: Annual Wildlife Monitoring Report, 1985 Field Season. December 1986.
- Waage, Bruce C., compiler., 1986, Western Energy Company Rosebud Mine, Rosebud County, Montana: Annual Wildlife Monitoring Report, 1986 Field Season. December 1986.
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