Largemouth Bass

Largemouth Bass

Characteristics

body green-shaded with a broad, continuous dark stripe along each side; belly white to yellowish; dorsal fin almost completely separated between spiny and soft portion and lower jaw extends past the gold-colored eye; commonly reach lengths up to 16 inches by three years of age

Distribution

Largemouth Bass Distribution

statewide in lakes, ponds, and quiet rivers

Foods

fish, frogs, crayfish, aquatic insects

State Record

10 pounds, 12 ounces - Lake Fisher, Davis County, May 1984 - Patricia Zaerr, Davenport, Iowa

Expert Tip

bass are usually caught around structure, look for partially submerged trees and boat docks pilings!

Details

The largemouth is a fish of lakes, ponds and quiet river waters where its abundance varies from common to abundant. Distribution of the largemouth bass in Iowa is statewide, mainly from the fact that this species has been stocked by the Conservation Commission into nearly every lake, pond and reservoir. It is uncommonly found in the interior rivers, preferring the quiet waters of overflow oxbows and backwaters along these streams. Occurrence is common in the impounded waters of the Mississippi River, especially the sloughs and backwaters. Early records indicate this species was found only in Missouri River sloughs and adjoining oxbow lakes, but recent sampling showed that they were present in the main channel, closely associated with rock-armored revetments and channel stabilization structures. It is stocked into farm ponds in combination with bluegill and channel catfish.

A rather slender, streamlined sunfish, the largemouth has a very large mouth, hence its name, with the upper jaw extending far past the rear margin of the eye when the mouth is closed (except in small young). The spiny and soft portions of the dorsal fin are almost completely separated by a deep notch. The middle of the green shaded body has a broad continuous dark stripe, but this sometimes becomes indistinct in large adults and fish taken from turbid water. The belly is greenish white or yellowish, and the eye is usually gold. The pyloric caeca, which are finger-like extensions at the junction of the stomach and intestine, are forked, and the tail fin in young largemouth bass is distinctly bicolored -- not tricolored as in spotted bass and smallmouth bass -- and the rear part at the fin is much darker than the basal part.

Largemouth bass is the primary predator in many of our lakes, ponds, and quiet rivers, foraging on fish, crayfish, frogs, aquatic and terrestrial insects, and any small living animal or bird which falls in the water. The small sac fry of bass feed upon microscopic crustaceans. First-food items are supplemented with insects and insect larvae as the fish grows. Largemouth bass usually start foraging on fish when they are 1 to 2 inches in length.

Reproduction characteristics of largemouth bass are quite similar to the other sunfishes. Spawning commences in early May and lasts into June when the water temperature is 63 to 68 degrees F. They deposit their eggs on the roots of submerged plants or grass over rocky or mud bottoms. Male largemouth bass usually construct a nest prior to spawning, but sometimes they will spawn with very little nest preparation. Water depth over nests ranges from 1 to 15 feet, but the normal depth is 1 1/2 to 3 feet.

The eggs, which may vary from 2,000 to 26,000 in each nest, hatch in 3 to 6 days depending upon water temperature. Largemouth bass in Iowa average 4 to 6 inches in length during the first year, but lengths of 10 to 12 inches are not unusual in newly stocked lakes and ponds. Total lengths of 8 to 12 inches are expected in the latter part of the second year of life, and fish up to 16 inches are common in the third year. Both sexes usually reach sexual maturity in their third year of life, but faster growing bass can mature in the second year. Largemouth bass have been known to reach 22 pounds in the southern states, but in Iowa they are smaller. The record Iowa bass weighed 10 pounds, 12 ounces and was caught in 1984 from Fisher Lake near Bloomfield.


Return
Present in these Iowa water bodies:
1 2 3 4 5Next
Lake/Stream County Location Acres/Length
Pool 9, Mississippi River Allamakee River Mile 647.9 at Lynxville, WI upstream to River Mile 679.2 at Genoa WI. 35169.00
Pool 19, Mississippi River Lee Amenities listed are at City of Ft. Madison boat ramp. Amenities vary by location in Pool 19 33500.00
Pool 13, Mississippi River Clinton Between Bellevue and Clinton, Iowa. Pool 13 Starts at River Mile 556.7 28117.00
Pool 11, Mississippi River Dubuque River Mile 583 at Dubuque, IA upstream to River Mile 615 at Guttenberg, IA. 19875.00
Red Rock Reservoir Marion 4 miles north of Knoxville 15250.00
Pool 18, Mississippi River Louisa Amenities listed are for the Toolsboro Ramp. The ramp at Toolsboro is paved but the road to the ramp is gravel. There is some shore fishing along the parking area and at the outlet of Lake Odessa. Amenities vary by location in pool 18 13300.00
Pool 16, Mississippi River Scott The amenities list are for Buffalo Shores campground in Buffalo, Iowa. Amenities at other locations in Pool 16 vary by location. 13000.00
Pool 12, Mississippi River Jackson Between Dubuque and Bellevue, Iowa 12349.00
Rathbun Reservoir Appanoose 8 miles northwest of Centerville 11000.00
Pool 14, Mississippi River Scott Located between Clinton and Davenport, starts at River Mile 522.5 10291.00
Pool 17, Mississippi River Muscatine Amenities list for Muscatine City Ramp. This ramp is located in downtown Muscatine. Amenities vary by location in Pool 17. 7580.00
Big Spirit Lake Dickinson 1m N Spirit Lake 5684.00
Coralville Reservoir Johnson 4 miles north of Iowa City 5280.00
Saylorville Reservoir Polk North edge of Des Moines 4970.00
West Okoboji Lake Dickinson northwest edge of Arnolds Park 3847.00
Clear Lake Cerro Gordo south edge of Clear Lake 3684.00
Pool 15, Mississippi River Scott Between Davenport, Iowa and Rock Island Illinois. Starts at River Mile 482.9 3626.90
Lake Odessa Louisa 5 miles east of Wapello 3000.00
East Okoboji Lake Dickinson east edge of Okoboji 1835.00
Big Timber Complex Louisa Two miles south of Muscatine, IA off of X-61/Stewart Rd. 1252.00
Lost Island Lake Palo Alto 3 miles north of Ruthven 1162.00
Silver Lake (Dickinson) Dickinson west edge of Lake Park 1041.00
Rice Lake Winnebago 1 mile south, 1 mile east of Lake Mills 1000.00
Five Island Lake Palo Alto north edge of Emmetsburg 973.00
Lake Macbride Johnson 4 miles West of Solon 940.00
Three Mile Lake Union 3 miles northwest of Afton 880.00
Big Creek Lake Polk 2 miles north of Polk City 814.00
DeSoto Bend at DeSoto National Wildlife Refuge Harrison 5 miles west of Missouri Valley at DeSoto National Wildlife Refuge 811.00
Big Lake (Lansing) Allamakee 3 m N Lansing 800.00
Lake Manawa Pottawattamie Southwest edge of Council Bluffs 747.00
Little River Watershed Lake Decatur 1 mile west of Leon 743.00
Black Hawk Lake Sac east edge of Lake View 729.00
Chain-O-Lakes Area Linn 2 miles East of Palo 700.00
Brushy Creek Lake Webster 5 miles east of Lehigh 690.00
Lake Icaria Adams 4 miles north of Corning 648.00
Twelve Mile Creek Lake Union 4 miles east of Creston 635.00
Little Spirit Lake Dickinson 4 miles north of Orleans 604.00
Browns Lake Woodbury 2 miles west of Salix 580.00
Lake Sugema Van Buren 3 miles southwest of Keosauqua 574.00
Green Island Lake Jackson 1m E green Island 526.00
Rock Creek Lake Jasper 4 miles northeast of Kellogg 466.20
Lake Delhi Delaware 3m W Delhi 448.00
Pleasant Creek Lake Linn 4 miles North of Palo 401.00
Lost Grove Lake Scott Six miles east of Eldridge 400.00
East Hottes Dickinson 378.00
Snyder Bend Lake Woodbury 1 1/2 miles west of Salix 375.00
Ingham Lake Emmet 6 miles east of Wallingford 357.00
Green Valley Lake Union 2 1/2 miles northwest of Creston 338.00
West Lake (Osceola) Clarke 2 miles west of Osceola 320.00
Silver Lake (Worth) Worth 10 miles west, 3 1/2 miles north of Northwood 316.00
Carter Lake Pottawattamie North edge of Carter Lake. 315.00
Lake Darling Washington 4 miles west of Brighton 303.00
Lake Wapello Davis 7 miles west of Drakesville 289.00
Roberts Creek Lake Marion 6 miles northeast of Knoxville 288.00
Independence Impoundment Buchanan Independence 280.00
Badger Creek Lake Madison 5 miles southeast of Van Meter 276.00
Bays Branch Guthrie 2 miles southeast of Yale 270.00
Blue Lake Monona 3 miles west of Onawa 269.00
Crystal Lake Hancock north edge of Crystal Lake 264.00
Lake Belva Deer Keokuk 5 miles northeast of Sigourney 264.00
Middle Sabula Lake Jackson W edge Sabula 260.00
Martens Lake Bremer 1 mi E of Tripoli 255.00
Lower Gar Lake Dickinson ½ mile south of Arnolds Park 251.00
Summit Lake Union West edge of Creston 250.00
Little Wall Lake Hamilton 1 1/2 miles south of Jewell 249.00
Muskrat Slough Jones 3 miles West of Olin 245.00
Lake Cornelia Wright 3 1/2 miles north, 2 miles east of Clarion 243.00
Bussey Lake Clayton 2 m N Guttenberg 240.00
Blue Heron Lake (Raccoon River Park) Polk southwest of West Des Moines; Raccoon River Park 232.00
Center Lake Dickinson 2 miles west, 1/2 miles south of Spirit Lake 220.00
Nashua Impoundment (Cedar Lake) Chickasaw Located on the east edge of Nashua. 200.00
Dale Maffitt Reservoir Polk 6m SW Des Moines 200.00
Hawthorn Lake Mahaska 1 mile south of Barnes City 182.00
Easter Lake Polk southeast edge of Des Moines 179.10
Big Hollow Lake Des Moines 3 miles west of Sperry 178.00
Lake Geode Henry 4 miles southwest of Danville 174.00
Prairie Rose Lake Shelby 8 miles southeast of Harlan 173.00
Lake Anita Cass 1/2 miles south of Anita 159.00
Don Williams Lake Boone 5 miles north of Ogden 151.00
Diamond Lake Dickinson 2 miles east, 2 miles north of Montgomery 143.00
Morris Lake Lucas 3 miles east of Chariton 141.00
Lake Miami Monroe 5 miles southeast of Lovilla 140.00
Ada Hayden Heritage Park Lake Story North side of Ames, west of Grand Avenue/Highway 69. 137.00
Viking Lake Montgomery 4 miles east of Stanton 136.00
Volga Lake Fayette Located 3 miles north of Fayette. 135.00
Brinker Lake Black Hawk N edge Waterloo 134.00
South Sabula Lake Jackson 130.00
Norwegian Lake Clayton 130.00
Deep Lakes Muscatine Southern edge of Muscatine on Pettibone Avenue, East of Fruitland. 130.00
Minnewashta Lake Dickinson 1/2 mile south of Arnolds Park 118.00
Lake Ahquabi Warren 5 miles southwest of Indianola 114.00
Middle Raccoon River (above Van Meter) Dallas The best access is the hard surface ramp below the dam in the city of Redfield. 110.00
Iowa Lake (Iowa Co.) Iowa 5 miles North of Millersburg 107.00
Iowa River (Marshalltown to Coralville Lake) Iowa This stretch is located in Marshall, Tama, the SW corner of Benton, Iowa, and Johnson County. A popular access is at the Hwy 21 Access, which is part of the Iowa River Corridor Wildlife Area, just south of Belle Plaine. 104.00
Centerville Upper Reservoir Appanoose South edge of Centerville 102.00
Hickory Grove Lake Story 3 miles southwest of Colo 100.30
Union Grove Lake Tama 4 miles South of Gladbrook 100.00
Lake Fisher Davis 2 miles northwest of Bloomfield 100.00
Swan Lake Carroll 3 miles southeast of Carroll 100.00
Diamond Lake Poweshiek 1 mile West of Montezuma 98.00
1 2 3 4 5Next