Smallmouth vs Largemouth Bass: Difference and Comparison

Fishermen from all over the world would be happy to explain the differences between a smallmouth as well as a largemouth bass.

Even though the names imply that the distinction between the two kinds is in the “mouth,” there are indeed more evident differences that distinguish one from another.

Bass is a renowned freshwater fish amongst fishermen worldwide, especially in the United States.

It’s easy to mistake smallmouth versus largemouth fish for one another, which any expert angler can tell you, there are significant distinctions between the two and hence, this article will help you understand all the distinctive differences between both the bass species.

Key Takeaways

  1. Smallmouth Bass have a smaller, more elongated body shape, while Largemouth Bass have a larger, more robust body.
  2. Largemouth Bass prefer warmer, shallower waters with more vegetation, while Smallmouth Bass thrive in cooler, deeper waters with rocky structures.
  3. Smallmouth Bass exhibit more aggressive fighting behaviour when caught, providing a more challenging experience for anglers than Largemouth Bass.

Smallmouth vs Largemouth Bass

Largemouth bass has a larger mouth and jaw that extends past the eye, while smallmouth bass has a smaller mouth that doesn’t extend past the eye. Largemouth bass is a darker green color with a lateral line that curves downward, while smallmouth bass is brown or bronze with a straight or curved line.

Smallmouth vs Largemouth Bass

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The smallmouth bass (Micropterus dolomieu) is a sunfish species living in freshwater ways. It’s a famous game fish across the American continent’s temperate zones, and it has been stocked in numerous cool-water streams, ponds, and lakes.

Smallmouth bass is sometimes known as “bronze backs,” “brown bass,” or “smallies.” And it’s brownish with red eyes and dark black vertical stripes, as opposed to a horizontal band on the side of a largemouth species.

Males are smaller than females, weighing between 2 and 2.5 pounds optimum, whilst females can weigh anywhere from 3 to 6 pounds or more than that depending upon the environment and temperature they are found in. Even their sizes vary from place to place.

The adult largemouth bass, aside from humans, is the apex predator in freshwater ecosystems. Zooplankton and ant larvae are the main sources of food for fry.

The cover is a favourite of largemouth bass. Thick vegetation, which includes anything from logs and boulders to weed patches, brush heaps, and grasses, is the greatest spot to seek for Lunker Large. When they’re eating, they’ll even take shelter.

Comparison Table

Parameters of ComparisonSmallmouth BassLargemouth Bass
Size12 to 16 inches is the average size of an ideal smallmouth bass.The largemouth bass can range from 35 to 39 inches long.
ColorSmallmouth bass colors are: brown-ish green and white-yellow colored.The colour of the fish is a mixture of black umber on the rear and green around the side.
Jaw PositionThe jaw level is levelled till the eye level of smallmouth bass.The jaw and upper mouth are above eye level.
HabitatAdult smallmouth bass may be found in fresh rocky parts of lakes, as well as clear and gravel-filled riverbed runs and flowing pools.Clear, overgrown lakes, wetlands, swamps, and the backwaters of pools, streams, and rivers are all home to largemouth bass.
Diet and FoodingPlant and zooplanktons and insect hatchlings as well as worms.Fish, crayfish, small poultry, alligator babies and frogs are among the foods that adult largemouth bass consume.

What is Smallmouth Bass?

The smallmouths or smallies (Micropterus dolomieu) belong to the sunfish group of freshwater species. The government originally brought smallmouth bass to Nova Scotia in 1942 as a supply of sport fish.

Smallmouth bass prefers cleaner water than largemouth bass and may be located in rivers, tributaries, stony regions, and logs, as well as the shallow bottoms of lakes and reservoirs.

Smallmouth bass enjoys colder sea surface temperatures than their larger cousins, and they may be seen in both calm and moving water.

The smallmouth bass is an important organic indication of a healthy ecosystem since it is pollutant-intolerant, however, it can react to changing water conditions better than that most trout species.

It eats crustaceans, insects, and tiny fish and is a carnivore. Smallmouth bass is found in eastern and central North America’s freshwater ecosystems.

Apart from Lake Ontario, the initial Canadian range of Smallmouth Bass was limited to the Great Lakes-St Lawrence region.

Smallmouth Bass love chilly water and might even be found in relatively shallow, stony, and gritty locations near shoals or buried logs.

It is only encountered in thick aquatic plants on rare occasions (which are favoured by Largemouth Bass). As a result, although both species live in the same lake, the Largemouth and Smallmouth Bass ranges rarely coincide.

smallmouth bass

What is Largemouth Bass?

The largemouth bass or large (Micropterus salmoides) is a black bass type endemic to Northern America that also belongs to the sunfish group, similar to the smallmouth bass.

It’s called “wide-mouth bass,” “big-mouthed bass”, and “bucket-mouthed bass” in different parts of the country.

They have a spiky horizontal band down their lateral line, towards their sides, consisting of a sequence of dark, black (though sometimes a bit brownish) spots.

The dark horizontal stripe of rough form that runs nearly invariably the entire length of a largemouth bass’s body is always parallel to the centre of its dorsal tail.

The largemouth bass is Georgia’s, Indiana’s official state fish, and Tennessee’s certified state sport fish.

Tiny baitfish, shrimps, and invertebrates are consumed by juvenile largemouth bass.

Adults eat tiny fish such as bream, carp, shad, snails, crawfish, frogs, reptiles, salamanders, small aquatic fowl, animals, and baby alligators, along with snakes.

Preys can be as long as half of their own body length or sometimes even larger.

Largemouth Bass are the embodiment of an opportunistic predator that sits and waits. Most of the time, these Bass may lurk in and between shelters and watery concealments.

largemouth bass

Main Differences Between Smallmouth and Largemouth Bass

  1. The jaw level of a smallmouth bass is levelled to its eyes, whereas the jaw level of a largemouth bass extends its eye level.
  2. A smallmouth bass weighs 7 pounds, whereas a largemouth bass weighs around 12 pounds.
  3. The smallmouth bass is smaller and prefers to reside in a clean ecosystem, whereas the largemouth bass is bigger and heavier.
  4. Smallmouth bass is known as smallies, whereas largemouth bass is called largies.
  5. Smallmouth bass travel in small groups, whereas largemouth bass prefers to reside alone.
Difference Between Smallmouth and Largemouth Bass

Last Updated : June 11th, 2023

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