Smallmouth Bass Fish

smallmouth bass

The Smallmouth bass fish is one of the most popular freshwater game fish in North America, and it’s no wonder why. They have a reputation for being an aggressive fighter on light tackle, but they are also known to take lures quite well. It’s hard not to be impressed by the power these small fish display with their acrobatic jumps and high-speed runs.”

They are also known as smallie, smallmouth, or smallies for short. They’re great to catch because they put up a fight and are available year-round!

They can be found in many different types of water, but they prefer streams and rivers that have a rocky bottoms. They live in both cold and warm water but tend to stay in the deeper parts of a river or stream.

Origin and descriptions

smallmouth bass

Smallmouth bass fish are olive-green to brown in color with a dark stripe that runs along their sides from head to tail. They have small, black eyes and fins, and their underparts are sometimes white.

The smallmouth’s most distinguishing characteristic is the presence of two dorsal fins – one at the base of the spine and another just in front of the tail. It also has six or seven dark, vertical bars that run from its back to its belly – these are more pronounced on young bass and fade as they age.

The average length is 12 inches but fish over 20 pounds have been caught. The world record for this species is 22 pounds, two ounces which were caught in Oneida Lake in New York.

Smallmouth bass fish are native to the eastern United States but have been seen throughout the country and in many other countries as well. They are a popular sport fish because they are strong fighters, can be caught on a wide variety of baits, and taste good when eaten.

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Smallmouth bass fish identification

The Smallmouth bass fish is a member of the sunfish family. It has dark, irregular vertical bars on its sides and yellowish coloring around its gills. The dorsal fin is spiny while the anal fins have white leading edges. They can grow to be between three and six pounds with lengths from two feet to four feet being typical for the species.

Smallmouth bass fish live in large rivers and streams as well as reservoirs, lakes, and ponds. They thrive in climates with warm summers and cool winters where they can find underwater structures such as sunken logs or rocky areas to hide from predators during the winter months. The Smallmouth bass fish is a solitary fish that enjoys its own company unless it is breeding season. At this time, they become more social and form schools with other Smallmouth bass fish to find mating partners.

Species profile

smallmouth bass

Smallmouth bass fish are members of the sunfish family and one of two species in the genus Micropterus, which is Greek for “small fin”. The other member in this group is largemouth bass.

Smallmouth bass fish was first described by French zoologist Valerien to Cuvier in 1829 as Pseudorasbora microps.

They are native to the Nearctic, ranging from Nova Scotia westward to Manitoba and southward down the Mississippi Valley through Louisiana.

They prefer clear waters including those that flow through limestone beds. They also tend to aggregate in areas where there is a constant current and gravel or rocky substrate.

Smallmouth bass fish scientific name

The scientific name of the Smallmouth bass fish is Micropterus dolomieu

Smallmouth bass fish habitat

Smallmouth bass fish prefer clear waters including those that flow through limestone beds. They also tend to aggregate in areas where there is a constant current and gravel or rocky substrate.

They are usually found in cool, clean streams and rivers, but can also be found in lakes, reservoirs, and ponds.

In the summer, they will move to the shallows to feed, preferring the rocky bottoms near shore. They are bottom feeders and will eat almost anything they can fit in their mouth including insects, crayfish, worms, frogs, and salamanders.

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How big can Smallmouth bass fish get?

Smallmouth bass fish can get up to about 22 inches in length and weigh up to about six pounds.

Tank size

A tank of at least 30 gallons is good for one medium-sized Smallmouth bass fish. However, if you want to house several in a group, it will need to be much larger than that such as 55-gallon tanks or more.

Tank setup

A tank for Smallmouth bass fish should have a sandy or gravel substrate and some rocks or driftwood to provide hiding places. The water should be cool (68-72 degrees F) and clean with a moderate to strong current.

They will do best if you can mimic their natural habitat as closely as possible, so try to include a filter that provides both gentle and powerful water flow.

Smallmouth bass fish are cold-water fish, so the temperature should be kept in the 68-72 degree F range. They also prefer hard, basic water with a pH of about seven or eight.

Tank mates for Smallmouth bass fish

Ideally, you’ll want to choose tank mates that will occupy different levels of the water column so that your fish has plenty of places to hide. Other fish that are similar in size and temperament to Smallmouth bass fish make good choices, such as bluegill and redbreast sunfish.

Other fish would include other sunfish such as pumpkinseeds; trout such as browns, rainbows, and brookies; catfish such as channel cats and bullheads; and bass such as largemouths, and spotted basses.

Life cycle

Smallmouth bass fish spawn in the springtime when the water temperature reaches around 55 degrees Fahrenheit. The males build nests by fanning out a depression in the gravel on the bottom of a stream or river with their tails. They then attract a female to the nest and release their sperm. The females will lay up to 2000 eggs and then leave the nest.

The babies will hatch in around three days and be on their own after that, but they’ll need to hide from predators such as trout and other basses until they’re big enough to venture out into open water. Around two weeks later, the fry should become free-swimming and able to fend for themselves. When they’re between three and four inches long, smallmouths are old enough to start being caught by anglers.

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In the wild, a full-grown smallmouth bass fish will live up to six or seven years, but in a tank that’s only two feet deep, they’ll probably only live for five years at most before outgrowing their environment.

Are they aggressive or peaceful?

Smallmouth bass fish are extremely aggressive and will eat just about anything that they can fit into their mouth. They’re known to feed on crayfish, worms, frogs, fish eggs, other small fish, and even their own young.

Smallmouth bass fish care

smallmouth bass

Smallmouth bass fish are not the easiest fish to care for and will require a tank with plenty of hiding places. They need clean, well-oxygenated water and should be fed a diet that consists mostly of live or frozen foods.

What do Smallmouth bass fish eat?

Smallmouth bass fish are carnivores. They eat fish, crayfish, frogs, and other wildlife that live in the same habitat as them. However, they will also feed on smaller fish that become trapped or injured in their territory.

In addition, you can supplement their diet with live foods such as earthworms, bloodworms, and crickets. You can also give them frozen foods such as brine shrimp, daphnia, and plankton.

Water conditions for Smallmouth bass fish

Smallmouth bass fish prefer water that is slightly acidic, between pH levels of five and seven. The ideal temperature range for a smallmouth’s tank would be from 60 to 68 degrees Fahrenheit. While they can survive in temperatures as high as 80 or 90 degrees, warmer waters will affect their immune system and make them less able to fight off disease.

Smallmouth bass fish will thrive in a tank that is well-oxygenated and has a good filtration system. Weekly water changes of 25 to 30 percent are recommended to keep the water conditions healthy for your smallmouths.

Breeding Smallmouth bass fish

smallmouth bass

Smallmouth bass fish can be bred in captivity, but it’s not an easy process. The fish will need a tank that is at least 30 gallons and has plenty of places for the male to build his nest and the female to lay her eggs.

The water temperature should be around 55 degrees Fahrenheit, and the pH level should be between five and seven. The water should also be well-oxygenated and have a good filtration system.

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The male smallmouth bass fish will build his nest by fanning out a depression in the gravel on the bottom of the tank with his tail. He will then attract a female to the nest. The females will then lay their eggs in the nest and the male will fertilize them.

The eggs will hatch within two to four days, and the parents will then take care of them until they are able to fend for themselves. The fry can be fed a diet of brine shrimp, daphnia, and plankton.


A typical lifespan for a wild-caught smallmouth is between eight and ten years. However, they can live up to fifteen or twenty years in captivity if properly cared for.

Parasites and diseases

Smallmouth bass fish are very resilient and can survive in a wide range of habitats. However, they may develop parasites or become sick if the tank conditions aren’t right.

They can contract Hexamita (also called hole-in-the head disease) which is caused by an infestation with intestinal flagellates. The disease causes lesions to form on the head and body of the fish.

Smallmouth bass fish can also get ich (white spot disease) which is a parasitic infection that can be fatal if not treated. Ich appears as small white spots on the body of the fish.

Both Hexamita and ich can be treated with medications available from pet stores.


Smallmouth bass fish have many predators in the wild, including larger fish, birds, and mammals. In a tank setting, the main predators of Smallmouth bass fish are other fish. Make sure to stock your tank with fish that are of the same size or larger than your smallmouths to avoid them becoming prey.

Do they make good pets?

Yes. Smallmouth bass fish can make excellent pets if they are properly cared for. They are hardy fish that can thrive in a wide range of water conditions.


If you’re looking for an interesting and hardy fish to add to your tank, consider Smallmouth bass fish. These fascinating fish come from a wide range of habitats and can survive in a variety of water conditions. With the right care, they can make excellent pets.