Smallmouth and largemouth bass appear remarkably similar. They’re the same shape and have similar colors. They also show up in similar environments. And yet, these two fish are considered separate species. That’s because despite their similarities, they feature some distinct differences. Read on to learn more:
Largemouth bass are larger
True to their name, largemouth bass are larger than their smallmouth cousins. Sometimes, largemouth and smallmouth bass appear to be the same size. That’s because the largest smallmouth will grow to be ten pounds, while the average largemouth is ten pounds as well. However, smallmouth bass can be smaller than ten pounds, while largemouth can grow up to fourteen or fifteen pounds.
Despite their overall size, though, largemouth bass will always have larger mouths than smallmouth.
So, if you’re unsure if the fish in your hands is a largemouth or smallmouth, just look at the mouth.
Smallmouth are often found in clear waters
Smallmouth and largemouth can be found in the same environments, with one caveat—smallmouth prefer clear waters while largemouth prefer murky water. This is because largemouth bass enjoy staying under thick cover. Smallmouth bass, meanwhile, hunt around the cover and chase bait into open water.
Check the dorsal fin
The final big difference between these two species are their dorsal fins. Smallmouth bass appear to have one continuous dorsal fin, without a break in the middle. Largemouth bass, on the other hand, are not continuous and do have that break in between the dorsal fins.