During their first year, largemouth bass grow 4 to 6 inches (10 to 15 cm), 8 to 12 inches (20 to 30 cm) in two years, and 16 inches (40 cm) in three years. They're usually green with dark blotches on either side of the middle. Undersides range from light green to almost white. The dorsal fin is nearly divided with nine spines on the anterior part and 12 to 13 soft rays on the posterior part. There's a lot of space between their upper jaw and their eyelids.
Life of Largemouth Bass
The largest predator in the aquatic ecosystem is the largemouth bass. The fry eat mostly zooplankton and insect larvae. When they're about two inches long, they start hunting. Fish and large invertebrates like crayfish are the only food they eat as adults. Smaller bass are preyed upon by bigger fish.
In Texas, spawning starts when the water gets to 60°F. It can happen as early as February or as late as May, depending on where you live. Nests are built by males in two to eight feet of water. Largemouth bass prefer quieter, more vegetated water than other black bass, but will nest on anything other than soft mud, including submerged logs. In Guadalupe bass, once the female lays eggs (2,000 to 43,000), the male chases her away and guards them. It takes five to ten days for the fry to hatch. After hatching, fry stay in a group or "school" near the nest under the male's watch. Average lifespan is 16 years.
Largemouth bass are usually solitary when they're adults, but they congregate in schools when they're young. Sometimes several bass will gather in a small area, but they don't interact. To catch their prey, largemouth bass hide among plants, roots, and limbs.
Where to find the Largemouth Bass
In addition to logs, rock ledges, vegetation, and man-made structures, largemouth bass seek protective cover. While they prefer clear, quiet water, they'll survive in a variety of places.
Originally, largemouth bass lived in most of what is now the United States east of the Rockies, including many rivers and lakes in Texas, and in southeastern Canada and northeastern Mexico. Because of its popularity as a game fish, it's been introduced all over the world, including Mexico and Central and South America. You can find Largemouth Bass by fishing at O C Fisher Reservoir.
There are two kinds of largemouth bass in Texas: the native Micropterus salmoides salmoides and the Florida largemouth bass, Micropterus salmoides floridanus. Texas' biggest fish is the largemouth bass. A survey asked anglers to name the fish they prefer to catch in freshwater in Texas, and largemouth bass won three to one over striped bass, four to one over white bass, nearly five to one over channel catfish, and nearly ten to one over flathead catfish. Texas has hundreds of bass fishing clubs devoted to conservation and fishing because of the strong interest in largemouth bass fishing. Each year, bass fishing contributes a lot to the Texas economy, and largemouth bass are highly prized as food. Because of its popularity, it's been introduced into a lot of places where it didn't used to be. Almost all aquatic species are threatened by pollution and drought, including largemouth bass.
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