Illustration by Duane Raver
Scientific Name: Micropterus punctulatus
Classification: Game Fish
Abundance: Found in several mountain and piedmont reservoirs, as well as the Yadkin River and upper Cape Fear River.
Sport Fish Profile (pdf)
Spotted bass (Photo: NCWRC)
State Record Spotted Bass (6 lbs, 5 oz; from Lake Norman by Eric M. Weir on 12/26/2003)
Spotted bass are native to southern Illinois, Missouri and Ohio, southward to eastern Texas and the Gulf, covering major drainages of the Mississippi River. They have been introduced into several Atlantic slope rivers and reservoirs. Spotted bass will often out-compete and replace smallmouth bass or largemouth bass. For this reason, introductions of spotted bass can often have negative impacts on existing sport fisheries.
The spotted bass gets its name from the numerous dark spots that cover the lower side of its greenish, slender body, below a dark lateral line. Often con-fused with the largemouth bass, spotted bass have a sandpaper-like tooth patch on the tongue that largemouths lack and the rear of the jaw does not extend behind the eye as it does in largemouths. Crayfish and immature insects make up the bulk of their diet. They also eat small fish such as bluegill.
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.
Strong fighters, spotted bass can be caught on a wide variety of natural and artificial baits using casting, spinning and fly-fishing gear. Look for spotted bass around aquatic vegetation, submerged logs and rock or riprap walls in small-to medium-flowing streams and rivers. While they may be found in reservoirs, they are seldom found in natural lakes. Spotted bass are usually caught much deeper than largemouth and are more inclined to school.
In North Carolina, spotted bass are found in several mountain reservoirs, with Lake Chatuge offering some of the best fishing. W. Kerr Scott and Hiwasee reservoirs also contain good populations of spotted bass. Spotted bass can also be caught in Lake Norman and in the upper Cape Fear River, where they co-exist with largemouth bass. As their popula-tions expand within a water body, spotted bass will often out-compete and replace smallmouth bass or largemouth bass. For this reason, introductions of spotted bass can often have negative impacts on existing sport fisheries
No reports at this time
2019 - Synopsis of Black Bass Stocking in North Carolina Rivers and Reservoirs (PDF)
2019 - Largemouth Bass Stunting and the Prevalence of Small Bass (PDF)
Where to Fish
NC Freshwater Fishing State Record Program
NC Angler Recognition Program (NCARP)