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Largemouth Bass

Largemouth Bass photo.

Largemouth Bass

Here is a fish that lots of people call BIGMOUTH-and for a very good reason. The mouth on a largemouth bass is almost the same size as it's body. Why would a bass need such a large mouth-to eat of course!

Bass eat a wide variety of foods. They prefer meals like minnows, crayfish, and large aquatic insects. Bass will eat many other things as well-including frogs, snakes, mice, and even small birds.

Largemouth bass belong to a large family of fish including other species of bass, bluegills, crappie, and many other varieties of sunfish. Largemouth bass are not NATIVE to Montana, which means they were not found here when the state was first visited by Lewis & Clark. Today, largemouth bass are found scattered across the state, but the greatest numbers of bass are found in eastern Montana, and in the Flathead Valley.

Although they can survive the cold waters of Montana winters, bass prefer warm water temperatures of 70-75°. Because so many lakes and ponds in Montana are colder than that, bass here do not grow as quickly as fish found in southern states. Largemouth bass prefer stillwater areas like lakes and ponds over moving water in rivers and streams. They also like areas with lots of weeds and lily pads.

Because largemouth bass are known for having such big appetites, they are very popular fish for anglers to chase. Since they are sometimes not very picky about what they eat, there are many kinds of baits and lures that will catch bass. Nightcrawlers and worms, leeches, and if they are legal, live minnows are all very good ways to catch bass. If you like to fish with lures, spinners, jigs, crankbaits and plastic worms are all very good ways for you to catch a bass. Bass will even eat flies-artificial flies that is. If you can find a fly that looks like a frog, minnow or leech, and get it out in front of a bass- chances are you will have a good fight on your hands.

If you catch a largemouth bass, you can recognize them by several different features: they are often green colored with a black stripe on their side and another, lighter black stripe on their tail. And of course like their name suggests, they have a large mouth-if you look at the side of a bass, it's jaw extends back behind it's eye.

Even though bass in Montana do not get as big as in some other states-our bass can grow to large sizes. The largest recorded bass ever caught in Montana weighed 8.29 pounds and was landed in 1999. Don't you wonder how big the mouth on that bass must have been??