The Spotted Bass

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 The Spotted Bass

Rare But Fun!Micropterus punctulatus

Micropterus punctulatus

Micropterus punctulatus


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Oklahoma Record:  8lbs. 2ozs.


World Record - 9.25 pounds, caught in Lake Perris, California in 1987.

Description: Is similar in appearance to the largemouth bass. Has green to olive-green hue; white, mottled belly; and a broad stripe of broken blotches, usually diamond-shaped, along the midline of the body. Unlike the largemouth, the spotted bass has scales on the base portion of the second dorsal fin; its first and second dorsal fin are clearly connected, and its upper jaw does not extend past the eye. Above the lateral line there are dark markings, and below the lateral line the scales have dark bases that give rise to the linear rows of small spots which are responsible for the common name.


Other Names: Kentucky bass, Kentucky spotted bass, northern spotted bass, Alabama spotted bass, Wichita spotted bass, black bass, smallmouth bass and spot.  


Subspecies: Three are recognized: the northern spotted bass (M. p. punctulatus) has 60 to 68 scales along the lateral line, the Alabama spotted bass (M. p. henshalli) has 68 to 75 scales along the lateral line, and the Wichita spotted bass (M. p. wichitae) usually has 13 dorsal rays and often lacks rows of black spots along lower side of body. Spotted bass can be found from Texas to the Florida panhandle including Georgia, Alabama, Tennessee and Kentucky. The Wichita spotted bass (thought by some to be extinct) is limited to the West Cache Creek, Oklahoma. The Alabama spotted bass has been introduced into Sardis.


Range: Has been recorded from the several river systems in Oklahoma. The spotted bass is native to streams in eastern Oklahoma and the Wichita Mountains in southwestern Oklahoma. It is also present in many man-made lakes in eastern Oklahoma


Habitat: Prefers rock and gravel substrates in streams, rivers and lakes and tolerates a fairly wide range of water clarity.


Spawning Habits: Spawns very much like the largemouth. Spawning occurs in the spring when water temperatures reach 60 to 65 degrees. Sexually mature mates build saucer-shaped nests on a soft, clay bottom or on gravel bars generally near brush, logs or other heavy cover. The eggs hatch in four or five days, yielding up to 3,000 fry per nest.


Feeding Habits: The principal food items are crayfish, fish and aquatic insects. The species is less piscivorous than other black basses and seems to be more selective in its feeding habits.


Growth: Tends to grow slower than largemouth bass and does not attain as large a size as other species. The young grow to 1-1/2 to 4 inches the first summer. Maturity is reached at about seven inches. Average lengths for fish aged 1 to 8 years are 4, 8, 12, 14, 15, 16, 17, and 18 inches respectively.


Sporting Quality: Strong fighters when caught on light tackle. Popular lures and baits include jigs, crankbaits, spinners, small plastic worms and crayfish.


Eating Quality: White, flaky meat with good flavor. Generally considered better eating than largemouth.

Additional information provided by:

Danny Bowen

ODWC-Central Region- Fisheries


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