smallmouth bass

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In winter months, when water temperatures reach below 50ºF, the bass lie on the bottom of the lake at depths of thirty to forty feet.

At about 55ºF, the fish school together at about ten or twenty feet deep, preparing for the spring spawn. When temperatures rise to the low sixties anytime from April to June, depending on the location spawning begins.

Smallmouths feed when water temperatures are between 50°F and 80°F. In the fall, smallmouths move to depths of fifteen to twenty feet, pursuing schools of small forage fish. Smallmouths may also school together, especially in the larger lakes.Typically spawn in March-May when water temperatures reach between 59 and 64 degrees. Males build nests, usually within 150 yards of where the nest was the previous year.

Male smallmouths clear a nest of almost three feet in diameter at a depth of four to twenty feet. When the male is finished scraping away the gravelly bottom, he leads up to six females to the nest. Each female deposits her eggs in the same nest. Many of the eggs each female produces are not fertile, and the average nest contains around two thousand fertile eggs.

After the female lays her eggs, she lies on her side at the bottom of the lake. While recuperating after the spawn, some females excrete a white, creamy substance that envelops their entire body. Some old and weak fish die after the spawn, but most recover their strength after a week recuperation period.

The male guards the nest for three to ten days depending on water temperature, after which the eggs hatch and tiny black fry with bright yellow eyes emerge. The males rest for about a week, and do not feed during this recovery period.

Females reach sexual maturity at three years whereas males don’t until four years of age. It can take up to ten years for Smallmouth to reach a length of about twenty inches and a weight of five or six pounds. Some smallmouths live up to fifteen years.People in interact with smallmouth bass by catching them, when you go swimming in the lake,or sometimes in creeks or rivers.

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