Florida State Freshwater Fish

Largemouth Bass

Florida State Freshwater Fish - Largemouth Bass

(Micropterus salmoides floridanus)

Adopted in 1975.

The 1975 Florida legislature adopted a bill that became Chapter 15.036 of the Florida Statutes, designating the Florida bass, (Micropterus salmoides floridanus,) as Florida Official State Freshwater Fish.

Micropterus is Greek, meaning "small fin". Salmoides is from the Greek salmo, meaning "trout", and refers to the fact that largemouth bass have been called "trout" in some southern states.

Did you know that: Largemouth Bass has been proclaimed the official State Freshwater Fish in each of the following states

 Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Mississippi, and Tennessee (Old).

Florida State Freshwater Fish: Largemouth Bass

Florida State Freshwater Fish - Largemouth Bass

They are sexually mature at just over 2 years of age (52cm in length). Largemouth bass have a black to green back with lighter sides and a pale belly. They have a dark wavy band running the length of their sides. Their mouth extends beyond their eyes. Most have a black non-defined line running laterally along their body, but in some individuals the line becomes more like a series of blotches. The fins and tail are generally pale brown. Male Largemouth bass are usually more slender and darker in color than females.

One of America's prized game fish, the largemouth bass seems to grow to unusually large size in Florida waters. This black bass is an elongated sunfish, whose distinguishing feature, aside from the exceptionally large mouth, is a deep notch in the dorsal fin. In most northern states, the species seems to reach a maximum of ten pounds; in Florida 20-pound catches are not uncommon.

Other Common Names

Black Bass, Green Bass, Bigmouth, Linesides, or Bucketmouth

Characteristics of the Largemouth Bass


Spawning occurs from December through May, but usually begins in February and March in most of Florida when water temperatures reach 58 to 65 degrees and continues as temperatures rise into the 70s. Largemouth bass are greedy predators and become territorial during their spawning season. They practice brood care and build a shallow pit about 1m in diameter, which they clean and line with leaves. They spawn into the pit and the eggs are then guarded alternately by the male and female. The young take about one week to hatch, and after hatching brood care terminates.


Largemouth bass are native to North America. They can be found at St. Lawrence, Great Lakes, Hudson Bay (Red River), and Mississippi River Basins, the Atlantic drainages from North Carolina to Florida and to northern Mexico. The species has been widely introduced as a game fish and is now cosmopolitan.


Largemouth bass are freshwater fish and generally inhabit clear, vegetated lakes, ponds and swamps. They prefer quiet, clear water and often hide in dense vegetation along the edges of a water body. The preferred temperature is 68-78 °F.


Largemouth bass have a voracious appetite. Adults feed on fishes, crayfish and frogs, while juveniles feed on crustaceans, insects and small fishes. These fish can become cannibalistic. They do not eat during spawning or when the water temperature is below 5 degrees or above 37 degrees.

Age and Growth

Largemouth bass grow up to 97cm and 10kg and can live as long as 11 years.

Length: Up to 21 inches
Weight: Up to 10 pounds
Life span: Up to 15 years

Florida Law

The law designating the Florida large mouth bass as the the official Florida state freshwater fish is section 15.036 (Official state freshwater fish) of the 2008 Florida Statutes Title 4 (EXECUTIVE BRANCH) Chapter 15 (SECRETARY OF STATE) SECTION 15.036.

SECTION 15.036.

15.036 Official state freshwater fish. --The Florida largemouth bass (Micropterus salmoides floridanus) is hereby designated and declared as the official Florida state freshwater fish.

History.--s. 1, ch. 75-1.

Taxonomic Hierarchy: Largemouth Bass

Kingdom: Animalia - animals
Phylum: Chordata - chordates
    Subphylum: Vertebrata - vertebrates
Class: Actinopterygii - ray-finned and spiny rayed fishes
    Subclass: Neopterygii
Order: Perciformes, perch-like fishes
    Suborder: Percoidei
Family: Centrarchidae
Genus: Micropterus
Species: Micropterus salmoides

State Fishes
State Fish