North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission

Smallmouth Bass

Scientific Name: Micropterus dolomieu
Classification: Game Fish
Abundance: Common in many of the coolwater rivers and reservoirs in the mountain and foothill region of NC.

Sport Fish Profile (pdf)


Additional Information

Smallmouth bass are native to the upper and middle Mississippi River drainage and have been introduced throughout North America. In North Carolina, smallmouth bass often inhabit coolwater streams, lakes and reservoirs in the western part of the state. Smallmouth bass are often regarded as one of the sportiest freshwater fish and are known for their stamina and fighting ability.


North Carolina offers some great fishing opportunities. If you are a resident or visitor to the state, please review the links below to ensure that you understand the rules, regulations and other guidelines.

The following fishing regulations are effective August 1, 2016 to July 31, 2017.

Inland Fishing

Inland Fishing Regulations (PDF)
Regulatory authority between the Wildlife Resources Commission and Division of Marine Fisheries. Inland game fish regulations include Manner of Taking, Seasons and Using Trotlines and Set-hooks.



Saltwater Fishing


There are no closed seasons on inland game fishes with the following exceptions (PDF).


Black Bass

 Largemouth Bass

2016 Characteristics of Recreationally Important Fish Populations of the White Oak River (PDF)

2015 Assessment of Largemouth Bass and Pumpkinseed at Lake Phelps, 2013-2014 (PDF)

2014 Survey Report on Largemouth Bass and Sunfish in Neuse, Trent, and Pungo Rivers (PDF)

2014 Chowan River Largemouth Bass Response following Hurricane Irene (PDF)

2014 Sutton Lake Largemouth Bass Survey 2010-2013 (PDF)

2014  Lake Mattamuskeet Sport Fish Survey (PDF)

2012 Sportfish populations in Little, Pasquotank, Perquimans, Scuppernong and Yeopim Rivers (PDF)

2012 Cape Fear River Black Bass Survey (PDF)

2012 Lookout Shoals Lake Largemouth Bass Assessment (PDF)

2011 Lake Lucas Largemouth Bass Assessment (PDF)

2011 Hyco Lake Largemouth Bass Assessment (PDF)

2011 Oak Hollow Lake Largemouth Bass Assessment (PDF)

2011 Status of Largemouth Bass and Pumpkinseed Populations in Lake Phelps (PDF)

2011 Sportfish populations in Northwest River and Tulls Creek (PDF) 

2011 Sutton Lake Sportfish Assessment (PDF)

2010 White Oak and New Rivers Boast Quality Sunfish Fishing Opportunities in Coastal North Carolina (PDF)

2009 Popularity Contest Winners Announced: Largemouth Bass and Striped Bass Tops Among Tar River Anglers (PDF) 

2009 Chowan River a Favorite Among Largemouth Bass Anglers (PDF)

2009 Evaluation of the Black Bass Population in Lake James, North Carolina (PDF)

2009 The Influence of Growth and Mortality on Largemouth Bass Size in Coastal Rivers (PDF) 

2009 Fish Assemblage Response Following a Hurricane-induced Fish Kill in the Lower Roanoke River, NC (PDF)

2008 Contribution Of Stocked Largemouth Bass Following Hurricane-induced Fish Kills in 2 NC Coastal Rivers (PDF)

2008 Largemouth Bass Assessment at B. Everett Jordan Reservoir, 2008 (PDF)

2007 Assessment of Largemouth Bass at Falls of the Neuse Reservoir, 2007 (PDF)

2006 Lake Norman Fisheries Sampling and Assessment (PDF)

2006 Trophy Largemouth Bass Management at Lake Phelps (PDF)

2003 Potential Value of Neuse River Recreational Fishery Tops $4,000,000 a Year (PDF) 


Smallmouth Bass

2012 Smallmouth Bass in Western North Carolina Rivers and Streams (PDF) 

2009 Evaluation of the Black Bass Population in Lake James, North Carolina (PDF) 











Temperate Bass