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Smallmouth Bass

Smallmouth BassScientific Name

Micropterus dolomieu


Other Common Names

Bronzeback, black bass


Coppery-brown above, with greenish- brown sides with darker vertical bars. Three dark bars radiate from the eye on the cheek and gill cover. Dorsal fin is not as deeply notched as the largemouth. Upper jaw extends back only in line with the middle of the eye. A 4 or 5 lb. fish is considered a trophy.

Best Fishing

Lakes: Claytor, Smith Mountain, Philpott, Moomaw, and South Holston Rivers: James (above the fall line); New; South Fork, North Fork, and mainstem Shenandoah; Rappahannock (above the fall line); Maury; North Fork Holston; and Clinch.

Fishing Techniques

Fly, spinning, spincasting and baitcasting rods

Feeding Habits

Crayfish are a favored prey as are madtoms. Also feeds on adult larval insects such as mayfly nymphs, and hellgrammites, tadpoles and other small fish.


Native to Tennessee and Big Sandy River drainage streams of southwest Virginia. Introduced into all major fast-flowing rivers and cool lakes. Prefers clear flowing streams and rivers with rock, bedrock and gravel bottoms and numerous riffles, and cool deep water of large, clear reservoirs with boulders and gravel bottoms. Most active in 67° to 72°F water, and intolerant of silty, warm and polluted water.

Spawning Habits

Males build nests on sand, gravel, or rubble bottom, usually 2 to 4 ft. deep, with spawning in late April to early June as temperatures exceed 60°F. Male guards nest and fry.