Spotted Bass Vs. Largemouth Bass – Foundry Outdoors
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Spotted Bass Vs. Largemouth Bass

Spotted bass and largemouth bass are very similar in many ways, from looks to behavior. It can be difficult for anglers to tell the difference between the two species. In this post, we will take a look at both the similarities and differences between these two closely related species. 

Range and Habitat

Spotted Bass

The spotted bass has a much smaller range compared to the largemouth bass, and they inhabit the gulf coast region from Texas to Florida. They also have populations in the Ohio River basin and Mississippi River basin. 

The spotted bass has also been introduced artificially to other states like North Carolina and Virginia, and has even been introduced to South Africa, where it exists in smaller isolated bodies of water and are considered an invasive species that cause serious issues for the local fish species. 

Spotted bass are typically found in the same bodies of water as largemouth bass, but prefer faster moving water like that of a river or stream, and can be found in deeper water than largemouth bass are typically found in, which can be up to 30 feet in depth. 

Like largemouth bass, you can find the spotted bass around vegetation, riprap, rocky areas, and timber. 

Native spotted bass range in yellow

 

Largemouth Bass 

Largemouth bass are one of the most widespread species in the United States, and can be found in every state in the Continental U.S. as well as the southern areas of Canada. 

The have also been introduced to many other areas of the planet, like Japan, Europe, Central America, and Africa. In Japan they have become a very popular sportfish, while in most areas where they have been introduced they have been very detrimental to the local wildlife as a invasive species, even being blamed for the extinction of the Atitlan grebe in Guatemala, which was declared extinct 1990. 

Largemouth bass can be found at varying depths, but tend to stay relatively shallow, where they live and hunt around aquatic vegetation, timber and brush, docks, piers, rocky areas, and riprap. 

 

Largemouth bass are either native or have been introduced to all states in the Continental U.S.

Species Identification 

Dorsal Fin 

The easiest ways to tell the difference between a spotted and largemouth bass is to look at the dorsal fin. The spotted bass has connected fins on their back, and the spiny section is more rounded than that of a largemouth. 

Largemouth bass have two separate fins on their backs, and while it looks the same at first glance when comparing the fins of a largemouth to a spotted bass, you will see a separation of the two on a largemouth while the spotted bass has a connection to create one large fin. 

 

Coloration

The coloration is another key indicator that will allow anglers to easily identify which species they are handling. 

Spotted bass have a very dark and prominent blotchy line of markings that run across the lateral line. While largemouth bass have markings that run the lateral line, they are not nearly as prominent and are faint in appearance.

The lower scales of the spotted bass have rows dark spots on them, this is very contrasting when compared to the clean lower scales on a largemouth bass. 

The spotted bass also has dark blotchy markings above the lateral line leading up to the back. These markings are also very prominent when compared to a largemouth bass.  

Source: Researchgate

Conclusion

If you are fishing in areas that both species inhabit, looking for these clear and tell tale differences between the spotted and largemouth bass will help you to determine which species you have caught, and the more you observe these species side by side the easier identification will be. 





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