Black Bass Species
Fishing enthusiasts can’t help but get hooked on the black bass family, a bunch of freshwater fish known for their spunk and fight. We’re going to dive into the details of each black bass species, focusing on their distinctive features, habitats, and the specific states you’re most likely to find them in.
Kicking things off with the Largemouth Bass (Micropterus salmoides), probably the rockstar of the black bass world. These guys have a substantial body, topped with an aptly-named large mouth. They sport shades of dark green to olive, adorned with a noticeable dark strip along their side. They are true-blue North American natives and have spread their fan club to nearly all states in the U.S. These guys love lounging around tranquil, vegetation-filled lakes, ponds, and lazy rivers.
Next up is the Smallmouth Bass (Micropterus dolomieu), aka the bronzeback or brown bass. They’re a bit more streamlined than their larger cousin, and as their nicknames suggest, they rock a bronze to brown look with vertical stripes adding some zing to their sides. These fish are homebodies to clear, rocky streams and cool lakes. You can find them in states like Wisconsin, Michigan, Minnesota, Pennsylvania, and Tennessee. They’re locals to the eastern and central regions of North America.
Meet the Spotted Bass (Micropterus punctulatus), the look-alike of the Largemouth Bass, but with a twist. They’re equipped with a slightly smaller mouth and an interesting feature – a patch of rough teeth on their tongue. Their colors range from dark green to bronze, with their sides decorated with rows of dark spots, earning them their name. These fish feel right at home in rivers and reservoirs with ample rocky hideouts. You’ll spot these guys mainly in the southeastern United States, in states like Georgia, Alabama, Tennessee, and Arkansas.
The Guadalupe Bass (Micropterus treculii) takes the stage next. This unique species hails from the Guadalupe River in Texas. They’re somewhat look-alikes of the Smallmouth Bass but are a bit more compact. They have a stylish olive-green back and sides that blend into a white belly. Because they’re sort of homebodies, you’ll mostly find them in Texas, specifically in rivers and streams within the Colorado River drainage.
Introducing the Redeye Bass (Micropterus coosae), or Coosa Bass, original inhabitants of the Coosa River system, which cuts across Georgia, Alabama, and Tennessee. They have a slender frame and could be mistaken for Smallmouth Bass at a glance. But their signature look includes reddish tints around their eyes and lower fins, which gives them their name. These guys are big fans of clear, rapid streams with rocky floors.
The Alabama Bass (Micropterus henshalli) has a strong presence, primarily found in Alabama and its nearby regions. They look like the Largemouth Bass but are a tad smaller. These fish flaunt a greenish hue with a lighter belly and a dark lateral stripe. They’ve set up their homes in lakes, ponds, and rivers within the Alabama River drainage system.
The Florida Bass (Micropterus floridanus), or the Florida Largemouth Bass, is a kind of Largemouth Bass. They have many features in common with their Largemouth Bass relatives but have larger mouths and grow to more impressive sizes. Florida is their stomping ground, but they’ve made their way to other states, thanks to their popularity among fishing folks.
Shoal Bass (Micropterus cataractae) are Southeastern U.S. natives and are mostly found in the Apalachicola River system, which includes Florida, Georgia, and Alabama. They’ve got sturdy bodies with a greenish hue and dark vertical bars on their sides. They have a preference for fast-flowing, rocky streams with crystal clear water.
Lastly, we have the Suwannee Bass (Micropterus notius), another Southeastern U.S. local, particularly found in the Suwannee River basin of Florida and Georgia. They could be mistaken for the Largemouth Bass, but they stand out with a smaller mouth and more striking coloration. These fish like warm, slow-moving rivers and creeks filled with plants and woody hiding spots.
Each member of the black bass family comes with its unique charm, making fishing in different parts of the U.S. an adventure. Remember to check local fishing rules before you cast your line and enjoy the thrill of reeling in these amazing fish.