• Flint River Eco Study

Bass, Largemouth or Smallmouth??

Credit: Tyler Lancaster (Largemouth) Credit: Mike Gnatkowski (Smallmouth)

When fishing here in Michigan you have a chance of pulling in a species of bass, but to a untrained eye these bass can look pretty similar. So let us go over the helpful indicators to properly identify the bass. A great indicator is of course the mouth! A largemouth's mouth extends below and beyond the eyes in adults (can be smaller in juveniles!). A smallmouth's mouth will extend to just below the eye and maybe slightly beyond.

Another helpful indicator are the markings on the scales. Looking at our largemouth bass you can see darker green scales moving horizontally across the body. When we look at our smallmouth you can see darker scales moving vertically down the body, but some individuals may not show this pattern very well a better indicator are the three green diagonal stripes on its face.

Reference: Smith, G. R., & Damstra, E. S. (2010). Smallmouth Bass. Largmouth Bass In Guide to great lakes fishes (pp. 89-91). essay, Michigan Sea Grant.

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