Species: M. dolomieu
This fish belongs to freshwater species that
belongs to sunfish family The other name for the fish are black
bass, smallmouth, bronzeback, brown bass, brownie, smallie,
redeye; achigan à petite bouche; kokuchibasu and schwarzbarsch.
Small mouth bass is popular game fish which is found in northern
part of the world including Canada and the United States.
They are strong scrappy fishes and have tendency to jump to try
and free them from the hook and hence are sought after by the
anglers for their fighting spirit.
The fish is hardy fish and has ability to make home any water it
is introduced and is generally considered to brave and strong
fish. They like to assert themselves when introduced to foreign
environment and are very adaptable.
From culinary perspective, the fishes are not as popular as
other fishes like walleye. Unlike largemouth bass though, the
meat on the fish is flaky and has slightly nutty flavor. They
are tender and can pan seared. The fish meat is low in oil
content. This makes the fish palatable and fit for human
It was a French naturalist Bernard Germain de Lacépède who
scientifically named small mouth bass as Micropterus dolomieui
in 1802. The word “Micropterus” in Greek stands for “small fin,”
and is a reference to the damaged fin that was found on the
originally-identified specimen. The word “dolomieui” is named
after friend of Lacépède's , a French geologist Déodat de
One of the oldest records for smallmouth bass fish catching has
been held by David Hayes on a sunny afternoon in July of 1955.
The fish was over 8 pounds and is considered to be biggest catch
Smallmouth bass are either brown, golden, brownish green,
brownish yellow or olive green in appearance. The underside of
the belly is white to yellow and there are faint bars on the
body of the fish. They usually have red or orange colored eyes.
The tail is broad and slightly forked. The pelvic fins are
situated near the front of the body below the pectoral fins.
There is a single spine which is found on each pelvic fin and in
the front on the anal fin. The dorsal fins are both merged
When they are young smallmouth the vertical bars or rows of
spots on the sides are more distinct than on the adult
counterpart. The tail fin is often found to be orange at the
base with black and white outer edge.
They are distinguished from largemouth by the size of their jaw
bone. Unlike the large mouth, their mouth only extends to middle
of the eyes.
The fish is widely distributed from St. Lawrence and Great Lakes
to Hudson Bay (Red River), and Mississippi River basins
It is also seen from southern Quebec to North Dakota and in
south from northern Alabama to eastern Oklahoma; from Atlantic
and Gulf slope drainages to central Texas.
It is mostly found in northern part of the
The fish prefers calm and clear water and likes to stay hidden
in sandy graveled bottom and rocks. They like places where there
is plenty of shade like deep pools surrounded by vegetation. Or
they stay in deep clear lake water and reservoir
They are highly adaptable and can make use of weed beds and
vegetation near rocks but have tendency to avoid murky water.
The fishes like to live in colder part of water if the
temperature and avoid bright sunshine. The ideal temperature
that they prefer is between 66 and 72 F.
They are not great travelers and prefer to stay in the same pool
all year round. When the temperature fall, they become sedentary
and like to live around dark, rocky areas. Though they are found
swimming in currents, small mouth bass has tendency to avoid
current. They like gentle flowing but deep water area.
Smallmouth bass spawn like to spawn mostly from the middle of
May through the end of June, especially when water temperature
is around 60° F.
The male of the species selects and builds the nest with sweep
of his tail. It is often created on gravel bottom next to
boulder or rock. They are ferocious protector of their nest and
defend the nest from others.
Only a female ready to spawn can approach the nest. Her
appearance during spawning season changes as the dark mottling
on her body becomes more noticeable than the background color.
This is one of the way in which she communicates to the male
that she is ready to spawn.
The spawning consists of both the male and female lying next to
each other in the nest and releasing sperm and egg at same time.
This act is repeated every 30 seconds up to 2 hours when the
female leaves and male is left behind to protect the nest.
the species can spawn with more than one partner in a single
Depending on her size, a female can lay eggs in number of 2,000
Even after hatching the young ones live in the nest. The male
continues to protect the young ones till they are ready to swim
out of the nest.
When they are in larval stage, Smallmouth bass eat copepods,
waterfleas, and other small zooplankton (small floating
animals). As they grow bigger they add aquatic insect larvae and
some small fish to their diet.
But once they grow, around two third of their diet comes from
crayfish. It is mostly due to geographic proximity as both the
fishes prefer same kind of environment.
The other food materials for the smallmouth bass are adult and
immature insects, and tadpoles.
Their diet is seasonal and can vary according to availability of
food. During cold month they eat sparingly but as the water
temperature increases they feed more. They peak when the
temperature around 78 degree.
Age & Growth Both the species of Smallmouth bass grow at the same
rate and this makes them different from most freshwater fishes.
The ones that live in lake and reservoir reach larger size than
one in streams. Smallmouth bass staying in southern water grow
faster than northern counterpart.
Smallmouth bass are not shy and they will
usually take a good lure or live bait.
Liking the cooler waters is where the smallmouth bass is going
to be found. Canada is known for its fishing of the fish and its
success for anglers when fishing for the bass. The good news is
that many anglers now rather than taking them home to the dinner
table are practicing catch and release. This is good for the
Without catch and release the fish would almost certainly be
overfished and additional regulations would go into place.