Spotted Bass

Illustration by Duane Raver
(Enlarge photo)

Scientific Name: Micropterus punctulatus

Classification: Game Fish


Spotted bass (Photo: NCWRC)

State Record Spotted Bass (6 lbs, 5 oz; from Lake Norman by Eric M. Weir on 12/26/2003)

Additional Information

Spotted Bass are native to the mountain drainages of southwestern North Carolina and have also been introduced into W. Kerr Scott Reservoir in Wilkes County, after which they became established in the upper Yadkin River. Everyplace else in the state, any fish anglers have been catching that looks like a Spotted Bass is actually an Alabama Bass.

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. Spotted bass have a sandpaper-like tooth patch on the tongue and the rear of the jaw does not extend behind the eye. Crayfish and immature insects make up the bulk of their diet. They also eat small fish such as bluegill.

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

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.

Places to Fish

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

Summaries (One-page Fact Sheets)

2019 - Synopsis of Black Bass Stocking in North Carolina Rivers and Reservoirs (PDF)

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