Black Bass in North Carolina

In North America, Black Bass comprise at least 14 species of bass, which are a part of the sunfish family. North Carolina is home to at least five species of Black Bass, including the invasive Alabama Bass, and native Bartram's Bass, Largemouth Bass, Smallmouth Bass and Spotted Bass.

Black Bass Identification

Largemouth Bass and Smallmouth Bass are usually larger than Alabama Bass and Spotted Bass. Alabama Bass and Spotted Bass usually weigh less than 1 pound while Largemouth Bass and Smallmouth Bass weighing 2-3 pounds are common. Bartram's Bass is the smallest of the five species, usually less than 1 pound. When handling, anglers may note the scales of Alabama Bass and Spotted Bass often have a rougher feel than those of Largemouth Bass.

Below is a comparison of the invasive Alabama Bass, native Bartram's Bass, Largemouth Bass, Smallmouth Bass, and Spotted Bass. Images courtesy of Black Bass iNaturalist.

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Black Bass Management Initiatives in NC

Black Bass Statewide Genetics

N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission (NCWRC) Inland Fisheries staff are conducting a black bass genetics survey to determine the influence of hybridization on traditional black bass fisheries and to prioritize black bass management objectives in North Carolina.

Expected Results and Benefits:

  • Reveal the frequency of northern and Florida alleles in Largemouth Bass populations
  • Identify locations of native Smallmouth Bass and Spotted Bass populations
  • Identify locations of invasive Alabama Bass populations
  • Identify hybridization among Alabama Bass, Largemouth Bass, Smallmouth Bass, and Spotted Bass
  • Identify the location of suitable broodfish sources for native Largemouth Bass, Spotted Bass and Smallmouth Bass populations
  • Identify genetically unique black bass populations (e.g., Bartram's Bass)

Experimental F1 Stocking Program


Reports, Summaries and Publications

Black Bass Management Plan (PDF - opens in new tab)