Largemouth Bass

Illustration by Duane Raver
(Enlarge image)

Scientific Name: Micropterus salmoides

Classification:  Game Fish

Abundance: Common throughout NC.


Largemouth bass (Photo: Melissa McGaw/NCWRC)

Largemouth bass fingerlings (Photo: NCWRC)

State Record Largemouth Bass (15 lbs, 14 oz; from a farm pond in Union Cty; by William H. Wofford; 3/29/1991


N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission Biologists Working with Largemouth Bass

Electrofishing for Largemouth Bass on Lake Gaston (2:45)

Electrofishing for Largemouth Bass on Lake Tillery (2:34)

Additional Information

Largemouth bass belong to a group of fish collectively called black bass. Other black bass found in North Carolina include the smallmouth and spotted bass. All black bass belong to the sunfish family, but are distinguished from other sun fish by their elongated bodies. Largemouth bass are distinguished from other black bass by means of the lower jaw, which is longer than those of other bass. The largemouth bass is also a bigger species than the smallmouth or spotted bass. There are two subspecies of largemouth bass: the Florida largemouth bass and the northern largemouth bass.

The largemouth bass is a native species of North Carolina. Largemouth bass are found statewide in lakes, ponds and sluggish streams and rivers. They prefer locations with lots of structure, such as submerged vegetation, brush piles, stumps, boat docks and standing timber. Underwater points, humps, drop-offs, bridge pilings and old road beds are also favored haunts, particularly in reservoirs.


The following fishing regulations are effective Aug. 1 of each year.

Inland Fishing Regulations
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.

Warmwater Game Fish
Game fish size and creel limits. Also, Bass and Morone (striped bass) Identification Charts.

Fishing Tips:
Use a wide variety of fishing methods to catch largemouth bass. Artificial baits such as crankbaits, spinnerbaits, topwaters, jigs and soft plastic lures imitating minnows, crayfish, salamanders and worms are good choices. Live baits such as minnows, nightcrawlers and crayfish also can be effective. As the most popular game fish in the United States, largemouth bass receive a good deal of fishing pressure, often making them difficult to catch in popular fishing areas. Local tackle shops and other anglers are good sources of useful information on what is working for a particular body of water.

Places to Fish:
In the Coastal Plain, the best fishing places to catch largemouth bass are the numerous blackwater rivers found through-out the region. In the Piedmont and Mountains, the best places are ponds and reservoirs.

Lake Norman Black Bass Management and Research - learn more about black bass projects on Lake Norman

F1 Largemouth Bass Electrofishing Results from Spring 2021 Sampling (PDF)


2021 - Movement of Acoustic Tagged Largemouth Bass in Relation to Lake Level and Water Quality at Lake Mattamuskeet and Surrounding Canals (22-page Final Report)

2021 - 2020 Sport Fish Survey of the Neuse River (PDF)

2020 -  Addressing an 18-year Largemouth Bass trophy regulation at Lake Phelps (PDF)

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)

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

Summaries (One-page Fact Sheets)

2021 - Lake Norman F1 Largemouth Bass Stocking and Evaluation, 2021-2030 (PDF)

2021 - Angler Use Patterns on Randleman Lake (PDF)

2020 - Project Update: Lake Norman F1 Largemouth Bass Stocking and Evaluation (PDF)

2020 - An Overview of the Shearon Harris Reservoir Habitat Enhancement Project-UPDATE (PDF)

2020 - Overview of Lake Mattamuskeet Largemouth Bass Surveys (PDF)

2020 - An Overview of the Jordan Lake Largemouth Bass Fishery 2006-2016 (PDF)

2020 - Largemouth Bass Fishery in Randleman Lake (PDF)

2020 - Largemouth Bass Population Monitoring in B. E. Jordan Lake: Using Over 20 Years of Surveys to Estimate Largemouth Bass Mortality

2020 - Lake Phelps Angler Creel Survey September 2016-August 2017 (PDF)

2020 - Status of Largemouth Bass and Sunfish in Lake Phelps (PDF)

2019 - Sportfish Survey in the New River, Onslow County-2018 (PDF)

2019 - Largemouth Bass Stunting and the Prevalence of Small Bass (PDF)

2018 - Badin Lake Largemouth Bass Population Assessment - 2017 (PDF)

2018 - An Overview of the Lake Gaston Largemouth Bass Fishery (2010-2016) (PDF)

2018 - An Overview of the Falls Lake Largemouth Bass Fishery (2007-2015) (PDF)

2018 - Long-term Assessment and Adaptive Management of Sutton Lake Largemouth Bass (PDF)

2018 - Status of Largemouth Bass and Pumpkinseed in Lake Phelps - 2017 (PDF)

2017 - Lake Mattamuskeet Largemouth Bass Stocking Evaluation August 2017 (PDF)

2017 An Overview of the Shearon Harris Reservoir Largemouth Bass Fishery 2007-2017 (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) 

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) 

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)