Much like smallmouth bass, the largemouth species is very popular among anglers due to their "fight" when caught, especially on the top of the water. They are also an easy fish to target because they respond to a variety of tackle including spinner baits, crank baits, live bait, and artificial worms. These factors make them popular to fish for sport but they are not often the first choice to keep for consumption. Largemouth bass are an olive-green color and gets its name because its lower, orbital, jaw extends past the eye; giving it a larger mouth than the smallmouth and spotted bass.
Tips for catching Largemouth Bass in Canada
Where to Find Largemouth Bass
Largemouth Bass are native to North America but, in Canada, they are mainly found in the most southern parts of the country as they generally prefer the warmer waters of the United States.
While largemouth bass can be found in many different types of habitats and bodies of water, they thrive in shallower ones that provide lots of cover and generally have a muddy bottom. Look for weed beds, as they are a favorite spot for bass because of the protection they provide from predators while allowing the bass to hide while hunting for its food.
Understanding Largemouth Bass Behavior
Largemouth Bass eat bluegill, banded killifish, snails, crawfish (crayfish), frogs, snakes, salamanders, bats and even small water birds. In larger lakes and reservoirs, adult bass occupy deeper water than younger fish, and change their diet consisting almost entirely of smaller fish like shad, yellow perch, ciscoes, shiners, and sunfish. It also consumes younger members of larger fish species, such as pike, catfish, trout, walleye, white bass, striped bass, and even smaller black bass. Prey items can be as large as 50% of the bass's body length.
Knowing this, and adjusting your approach according to the body of water you are fishing, will help you successfully target the biggest largemouth bass for the conditions.
How to Catch Largemouth Bass
Largemouth bass are keenly sought after by anglers and are noted for the excitement of their fight. The fish will often surface and jump out of the water in their effort to throw the hook. Anglers most frequently fish for largemouth bass with plastic worms (and other plastic baits), jigs, crankbaits, and spinnerbaits. A contemporary method is using large swimbaits to target trophy bass that often feed on small rainbow trout. Live bait, such as nightcrawlers, minnows, frogs, or crawfish can also be effective. Large golden shiners are popular live bait used to catch trophy bass. Be sure to check to local/provincial websites for the specific conservation guidelines and regulations.
Popular lures & techniques include
- Topwater - This is a popular approach because it tends to attract hungry and aggressive fish. Different methods can be used depending on the topwater lure but 'popping' the lure is a common approach…pop the lure and then let it go steady for a few seconds to imitate a wounded fish.
- Crankbaits - This technique is great because it lets you cover a lot of ground as well as varying water depths. It's important to know the crankbait you are using and target the right location, with the appropriate retrieval speed. While you can certainly cast towards and along weedbeds, look for drop offs and solid structure to work around.
- Spinnerbaits - Similar to crankbaits, you should primarily use spinnerbaits around solid structures and your retrieval approach can vary until you see what's working. Some anglers will let a spinnerbait fall to the bottom of the water, then retrieve and let it drop again. However, most will do a slow and steady retrieval.
- Jerkbaits - Just like the popping technique described for topwater lures, the anglers' goal with a jerkbait is to imitate a wounded fish…so the bass thinks it's getting an easy meal. It may be easier said than done but jerk the tip of your rod slightly during retrieval so the lure 'twitches' unevenly like a wounded fish might. There are many jerkbait options to choose from, so you may have to switch it up to see what style is working on any given day.