Smallmouth Bass

SMALLMOUTH BASS RANGE IN ONTARIO

Map showing smallmouth bass range in Ontario

modified from: Mandrak and Crossman (1992)

 

 

Typical length: 25-50 centimetres (10-20 inches)

 

Typical weight: 0.45–1.58 kilograms (1.5–4 pounds)

 

Ontario record: 4.5 kilograms (9.8 pounds)

 

Similar fish: 

largemouth bass

rock bass

 

Smallmouth Bass

 

 

Key Identifying Characteristics:

 

  • Medium sized, deep bodied fish
  • Back and sides green to olive, belly is yellow to white
  • Body often has dark vertical broken bars
  • Nine to eleven dorsal fin spines
  • Shallow notch between dorsal fins
  • Upper jaw does not extend beyond eye


Distribution/Habitat:

 

  • Smallmouth bass are found in lakes and rivers that are clear and rocky. Bass concentrate around shoreline rocks and points as well as offshore shoals, often in deep water. Smallmouth bass are often found in habitat that is suitable for trout, but throughout a wider range of temperatures.  
  • The distribution of the smallmouth bass includes the Great Lakes watershed, the St. Lawrence River and northward beyond Lake Nipissing.  Smallmouth bass have also been introduced in many portions of Northwestern Ontario.

 

Angling Tips:

 

  • In most of the province bass season opens the 4th Saturday in June. Fishing is often best in the early morning and late evening.  Smallmouth bass can be found near deep underwater points, rocky shoals, submerged islands and weed edges. When fish aren’t biting, change your lure and your tactic.
  • Smallmouth bass are usually in more open water so you can use a light to medium action spinning rod and 6 to 10 pound test line. Small, deep-diving plugs and lures, as well as surface lures (in early morning and evening) are effective.  Soft plastic lures such as crayfish imitations, twister tails and small worms or tubes are among the best smallmouth baits. These are often fished deep, in combination with a jig.

 

Common Baits:

 

  •  Jigs
  •  Soft-plastic lures
  •  Crankbaits
  •  Top-water plugs
  •  Spinnerbaits
  •  Leeches
  •  Minnows
  •  Crayfish

 

 

smallmouth bass banner graphic

Illustration credit: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service