Largemouth Bass From the Michigan DNR:
The largemouth bass lives in shallow water habitats, among reeds, waterlilies and other vegetation. It shares these habitats with muskies, northern pike, yellow perch and bullheads. Largemouth bass are adapted to warm waters of 80-82 degree F, and are seldom found deeper than 20 feet. They prefer clear waters with no noticeable current and do not tolerate excessive turbidity and siltation. In winter they dwell on or near the lake bottom, but stay fairly active throughout the season.
Like the smallmouth bass, they spawn in late spring or early summer. The male constructs a nest on rocky or gravelly bottoms, although occasionally the eggs are deposited on leaves and rootlets of submerged vegetation. The eggs, which are smaller than those of the smallmouth bass, hatch in three to four days. The fry rise up out of the nest in five to eight days and form a tight school. This school feeds over the nest and later the nursery area while the male stands guard. The school breaks up about a month after hatching when the fry are about one inch long. Largemouth bass eat minnows, carp, and practically any other available fish species including their own. Young largemouth fall prey to yellow perch, walleyes, northern pike, and muskies. Both largemouth and smallmouth bass are parasitized by the bass tapeworm, black spot and yellow grub. None are harmful to humans in cooked fish.
Identifying characteristics: (Native Fish) Two dorsal fins with a deep notch between spinous and soft-rayed portions, body longer than deep, upper jaw extends beyond rear of eye, dark lateral streak.
Largemouth Bass in Texas
Largemouth bass grow 4 to 6 inches (10 to 15 cm) during their first year, 8 to 12 inches (20 to 30 cm) in two years, 16 inches (40 cm) in three years. They are usually green with dark blotches that form a horizontal stripe along the middle of the fish on either side. The underside ranges in color from light green to almost white. They have a nearly divided dorsal fin with the anterior portion containing nine spines and the posterior portion containing 12 to 13 soft rays. Their upper jaw reaches far beyond the rear margin of the eye.
Except for humans, adult largemouth bass are the top predators in the aquatic ecosystem. Fry feed primarily on zooplankton and insect larvae. At about two inches in length they become active predators. Adults feed almost exclusively on other fish and large invertebrates such as crayfish. Larger fish prey upon smaller bass.
In Texas spawning begins in the spring when water temperatures reach about 60°F. This could occur as early as February or as late as May, depending one where one is in the state. Males build the nests in two to eight feet of water. Largemouth bass prefer to nest in quieter, more vegetated water than other black bass, but will use any substrate besides soft mud, including submerged logs. As in Guadalupe bass, once the female has laid eggs in the nest (2,000 to 43,000) she is chased away by the male who then guards the precious eggs. The young, called fry, hatch in five to ten days. Fry remain in a group or "school" near the nest and under the male's watch for several days after hatching. Their lifespan is on average 16 years.
Immature largemouth bass may tend to congregate in schools, but adults are usually solitary. Sometimes several bass will gather in a very small area, but they do not interact. Largemouth bass hide among plants, roots or limbs to strike their prey.
Largemouth bass seek protective cover such as logs, rock ledges, vegetation, and man-made structures. They prefer clear quiet water, but will survive quite well in a variety of habitats.
Two subspecies of largemouth bass exist in Texas: the native Micropterus salmoides salmoides and the Florida largemouth bass, Micropterus salmoides floridanus, which has been introduced into many Texas lakes. The largemouth bass is by far the most sought-after fish in Texas. When anglers were asked to "name the fish you prefer to catch in freshwater in Texas", they chose largemouth bass 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 and white crappie. Because of the strong interest in largemouth bass fishing, there are hundreds of bass angling clubs in Texas devoted to fishing and conservation. Bass fishing adds greatly to the Texas economy each year and largemouth bass are highly prized for their value as food. Because of the species' popularity, it has been introduced into many waters in which it did not originally occur. As with nearly all aquatic species, pollution and drought are the biggest threats to the largemouth bass population.