Tennessee State Sport Fish

Largemouth Bass (Obsolete)

Tennessee State Sport Fish - Largemouth Bass

See Small-mouth bass

(Micropterus salmoides)

Adopted on July 1, 1988.

Removed May 28, 2005

Tennessee's official sport fish is the largemouth bass, (Micropterus salmoides, ) as designated by Public Chapter 489 of the Acts of the 95th General Assembly. It was adopted as the State Sport Fish on July 1, 1988. The largemouth is probably the most popular and sought after fish in the state. Sometimes referred to as "bigmouth," its popularity is due to a strong fighting ability, relatively large size and pleasing flavor.

Largemouth Bass  (Obsolete) See New Small-mouth bass (Micropterus dolomieu) Largemouth Bass Replaced on May 28, 2005 by Small-mouth bass

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).

Tennessee State Sport Fish: Largemouth Bass

Tennessee State Sport Fish - Largemouth Bass

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.

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. The Tennessee largemouth can grow to 14 or 15 inches by its third year and may be found in most of the lakes and streams in the state.

Characteristics of the Largemouth Bass

Other Common Names:

Black Bass, Green Bass, Bigmouth, Linesides, Bucketmouth

Reproductive Behavior (Spawning)

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. Preferred Water Temperature: 63-68 °F.


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

Tennessee Law

The law designating the large-mouth bass as the official Tennessee state sport fish is Section 4-1-317 ( State sport fish)  of the Tennessee Code, Title 4 (STATE GOVERNMENT) Chapter 1 (GENERAL PROVISIONS) Part 3 (STATE SYMBOLS) Section 4-1-317.

Section 4-1-317

4-1-317. State sport fish.
The large-mouth bass is hereby designated as the official "state sport fish."
[Acts 1988, ch. 489, § 2.]

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
Genus: Micropterus
Species: Micropterus salmoides

State Fishes
State Fish