Micropterus dolomieui (Lecepede, 1802)
member of the Sunfish Family (Centrarchidae)
photos by Konrad P. Schmidt
In a Name?
(my-crop´-ter-us) means "small or short fin" in Greek; a reference
to the damaged fin on the original specimen.
Do They Live?
Smallmouth bass now occur in all of the major drainages of Minnesota, but they were introduced to the Red and Rainy river systems. This means that one of the most popular sportfish in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area is actually an exotic species. Smallmouth are especially abundant in the upper Mississippi and St. Croix rivers and their larger tributaries. Smallmouth bass prefer clear, strong-flowing streams and rivers and medium-sized clear lakes with gravel or boulder shores. In both lakes and streams smallmouth often are found near boulders or rock out-cropping. They prefer somewhat cooler waters than the largemouth bass, but still are considered a warm-water species.
Big Do They Get?
Do They Eat?
Smallmouth larvae eat copepods, waterfleas, and other small zooplankton (small floating animals). At about 35 mm (1.5 in) they begin to include aquatic insect larvae and some small fish. At about 80 mm (3 in), they add crayfish to the menu. From 1 year old on, smallmouth bass eat mostly fish (darters, minnows, yellow perch, sunfishes, and others) and crayfish.
Do They Reproduce?
The eggs (embryos actually) hatch in about one week and the free-living embryos continue to develop in the nest for about one more week. After that, they swim up into the water column and begin to feed. In lakes, the male smallmouth may continue to protect the larvae for a short time even after they swim up.
Permission is granted for the non-commercial educational or scientific use of the text and images on this Web document. Please credit the author or authors listed below.
Photographs by Konrad P. Schmidt
Text by Nicole Paulson & Jay T. Hatch in cooperation with
the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources' MinnAqua Aquatic Program
This page developed with funds from the
MinnAqua Program (Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, Division of Fisheries)
Sport Fish Restoration Program (Fish and Wildlife Service, US Department of the Interior)
Maintained by Jay T. Hatch
General College and James Ford Bell Museum of Natural History
University of Minnesota, Minneapolis/St. Paul
Last updated 23 October 2002