Beware of the sharp dorsal spines of smallmouth bass when handling them. The safest way to handle these fish is to control them using a thumbgrip on the lower jaw. The eating qualities of this species can be improved if they are killed humanely by iki jime, or a firm knock to the head before placing them in an ice slurry after bleeding.
- This species has a smaller mouth than the closely related largemouth bass. The colour and shape of this species varies markedly with their habitat. Smallmouth bass from turbid rivers tend to be torpedo-shaped and a uniform grey to dark brown.
- Fish from lakes with sandy areas, tend to be a lighter yellow-brown with red eyes, and several dark brown vertical bands along the side.
- This species is native to North America with a natural range from southeastern Canada (Manitoba and Quebec) south to the Mississippi River basin, Tennessee River system in Alabama and west to eastern Oklahoma.
- Smallmouth bass have also been widely introduced as a game fish throughout North America as well as into around 26 countries including parts of Central America, Africa and Europe, Japan, and New Caledonia.
- This species prefers to inhabit shallow rocky or gravelly areas of lakes, and rivers.
- Juvenile smallmouth bass feed on plankton and immature aquatic insects. Adults prey on crustaceans, smaller fishes, and both aquatic and terrestrial insects.
Fish Size Common Length:
20-40 cm, maximum size around 69 cm and 5 kg. World record 5.4 kg from Tennessee, USA.