The largemouth bass (Micropterus salmoides) is a popular sport fish. It is native to Ohio and can be found in every county in the state.
Largemouth bass have a very large mouth that extends beyond the rear edge of the eye when it is closed. This characteristic distinguishes it from the smallmouth and spotted bass where the back of the mouth does not extend passed the eye. Young largemouth bass do not have an orange tail like juvenile smallmouth and spotted bass. The largemouth also has a black stripe that extends down the side of the body. This sport fish belongs to the Centrachidae (sunfishes) family, and is also called black bass, bigmouth bass, and bucket mouth. It is typically 15-18 inches and 1-5 pounds, but can reach up to 26 inches and 13 pounds in Ohio.
Largemouth bass usually spawn between mid-April and mid-June. Nests are constructed by the male in one to six feet of water. The female lays between 2,000 and 20,000 eggs in several different nests; one nest can contain eggs from several females. The male guards the eggs until they have hatched. Young largemouth feed on microscopic animals until they reach one inch in length. At this time, they begin eating freshwater shrimp, midge larvae, and other small animals.
Habitat & Behavior
Largemouth bass can adapt to many environments but prefer relatively clear non-flowing waters with some aquatic vegetation. They are found in nearly every lake, reservoir, and pond in Ohio. However, in flowing streams and rivers largemouth bass are typically out numbered by smallmouth bass and in southern Ohio spotted bass. Its diet typically consists of frogs, crayfish, large insects, and other fish.