Suwannee bass were originally found only in the Suwannee and Ochlockonee rivers of Florida. They have since been introduced into the Santa Fe, Ichetucknee, St. Marks, Aucilla and Wacissa systems in Georgia and Florida.
While they coexist with largemouth throughout their range, unlike their cousin, they prefer rapidly flowing water along rocky shoals, although they are not restricted to such habitats.
Suwannee’s can be found in large springs and spring runs. They also tend to prefer neutral or basic waters, avoiding acidic waters.
These heavy-bodied fish seldom exceeds 12 inches. They are bright turquoise coloring on the cheeks, breast, and belly. Unlike largemouth the upper jaw does not extend beyond the eye. There is a dark blotch where the lateral line meets the caudal fin which helps identify Suwannee bass. A two-pound fish is considered large.
Spawning occurs when water temperatures reach 65 to 68 degrees, typically from February to June. Like all black bass the males build and guard the nests.
Crayfish are the primary food for Suwannee bass, but are known to take small fish too. Young fish also feed on aquatic insects and small crustaceans.
Suwannee Bass in Florida
The following is courtesy of Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission:
Appearance: A heavy-bodied black bass that seldom exceeds 12 inches long. Mature Suwannee bass have bright turquoise coloring on the cheeks, breast, and belly. The upper jaw does not extend beyond the eye, and there is only a shallow notch between the dorsal fins. A distinct dark blotch where the lateral line meets the caudal fin and scales on bases of dorsal, anal and caudal fins further identify Suwannee bass.
Habitat: Originally restricted to the Suwannee and Ochlockonee rivers, they now are in the Santa Fe, Ichetucknee, St. Marks, Aucilla and Wacissa systems. They prefer rapidly flowing water along rocky shoals.
Behavior: Spawning occurs from February to June. Crayfish are a major food item for Suwannees.