Fish Type: Largemouth bass is a popular freshwater fish species native to Northern Wisconsin and Upper Peninsula of Michigan. They are highly sought after by anglers due to their aggressive nature and challenging fight when hooked. Largemouth are considered a gamefish angles catch for sport.
Eating Insight: For eating Largemouth are described as mild, watery and tend to taste a little fishy. Most angles would consider largemouth a gamefish for sport to catch and release.
Physical Characteristics: Largemouth bass have a distinctive appearance with a large mouth that extends beyond the back of their eyes, giving them their name. They have a robust body, a greenish to grayish coloration on their back, and a lighter shade on their belly. Their lower jaw is typically larger than the upper jaw, providing ample space for capturing prey.
Habitat: Largemouth bass can be found in a variety of freshwater habitats, including the great lakes, smaller lakes, ponds, rivers, and reservoirs. They prefer areas with abundant vegetation, such as submerged weeds, lily pads, fallen trees, and other forms of cover that provide shade and ambush points to ambush their prey.
Feeding Behavior: Largemouth bass are carnivorous predators and opportunistic feeders. They primarily feed on smaller fish, such as minnows, shad, and sunfish, but they also consume crayfish, frogs, insects, and even small mammals or birds that happen to be in the water. They use their large mouths and sharp teeth to engulf and swallow their prey whole.
Life Cycle: Largemouth bass spawn during the spring season when water temperatures range between 60 to 75 degrees Fahrenheit (15 to 24 degrees Celsius). Wise fisherman knows when the lilac are in bloom, the Largemouth Bass are spawning. If you catch the spawn fishing the Largemouth Bass will be extremally aggressive on the bite. In the Spring, the male bass creates a nest by fanning out a shallow depression on the lake or riverbed. Once the female deposits her eggs, the male fertilizes them and guards the nest until the fry hatch. Largemouth bass can live up to 10 to 16 years, with some individuals reaching even older ages.
Fishing: Largemouth bass fishing is a popular recreational activity enjoyed by anglers in Northern Wisconsin and Upper Peninsula of Michigan. It requires various techniques such as using lures, live bait, or fly fishing to entice the bass to strike. Some popular lures include plastic worms, crankbaits, spinnerbaits, and topwater plugs. Successful bass anglers often target structures and cover where bass are likely to hide, such as submerged vegetation, rocky areas, or fallen logs.
Conservation: Conservation efforts for largemouth bass focus on maintaining healthy habitats and sustainable fishing practices. Regulations and catch limits are implemented in many regions to ensure the long-term survival of bass populations. Additionally, catch-and-release practices are encouraged to preserve the fishery and allow bass to grow and reproduce.
Regulations: Remember to consult local fishing regulations and guidelines before engaging in fishing activities, as rules may vary depending on which state you are fishing in, Wisconsin or Michigan both require their own fishing licenses. Watch for local posted regulations.
Health : Local waters have PCBs, dioxin, mercury, PFOS, and other chemicals that can be found in fish and stay in our environment for a very long time.
Be aware of the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services – The Eat Safe Fish Guide (ESF Guide)
Wisconsin has the a health guide for eating fish in Wisconsin – Choose Wisely Contaminate Advisories for Wisconsin