Largemouth Bass

Largemouth Bass (Micropterus salmoides)

Largemouth bass is a species of freshwater fish in the sunfish family. They are native to the eastern and central United States, southeastern Canada and northern Mexico. Largemouth are the largest of the black bass species, reaching a maximum recorded overall length of 29.5 in (75 cm) and a maximum unofficial weight of 25 pounds 1 ounce (11.4 kg). Female largemouth are normally larger than the males. Largemouth bass are an olive-green to greenish gray colour, with a series of dark, sometimes black, blotches forming a jagged horizontal stripe along their sides. The average lifespan of a largemouth is 10 to 16 years.

Largemouth consume smaller fish such as bluegill, minnows, shad, worms, snails, crayfish, frogs, snakes,salamanders, bats, turtle hatchlings and even small water birds and mammals. Under overhead cover, such as overhanging banks, brush, or submerged structure, such as weedbeds, points, humps, ridges, and drop-offs, the largemouth bass uses its senses of hearing, sight, vibration, and smell to attack and seize its prey.

Largemouth bass usually begin spawning when they are about a year old. Spawning takes place in the spring when the water temperature first holds steady above 60˚F. In the northern United States and Canada, this usually occurs anywhere from late April until early July. Males create nests by moving debris from the bottom of the body of water using their tails. Bass prefer sand, muck, or gravel bottoms, but will also use rocky and weedy bottoms where there is cover for their nest, such as roots or twigs. Bass will usually spawn twice per spring, with some spawning three or four times. Depending on the water temperature, the male will stay with the nest until the infant bass are ready to swim out on their own, which can be about two more weeks after they hatch.

Largemouth are known for their fight, with the fish often becoming airborne during their fight to throw the hook. Anglers most often fish for largemouth bass with spinner baits such as Blue Fox Super Vibrax or Mepps Aglia, soft plastic tube baits or swimbaits such as the Berkley Power Swimmer and Storm GT360 Searchbait, crankbaits such as Storm Wiggle Wart, Bomber 7A & Rapala DT6 , topwater baits such as Hula-Poppers or Jitterbugs, and live bait, such as worms and minnows. Fly fishing for largemouth bass is effective using both topwater and worm imitations tied with natural or synthetic materials.

At Slippery Winds Wilderness Lodge, all six of our lakes hold largemouth bass. Two of our guests’ favourite largemouth lakes are our portage lakes – Bluffpoint and Crossroute. Largemouth average in the 15 to 19 inch range with largemouth up to 22 inches caught and released by our guests.

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