Suwannee Bass Fishing

The Suwannee bass (Micropterus notius) is a species of freshwater fish that belongs to the sunfish family of the Perciformes order. Being one of the black basses it is native only to Suwannee as well as the Ochlocknee River drainages in Georgia as well as the sunshine state – Florida. The fish has no other common names but it sometimes is confused with the smallmouth bass, the spotted bass or even the redeye bass.

The Suwannee bass has a heavy-bodied figure and can reach more than 12 inches in size. This type of fish can be spotted from other fishes thanks to the bright turquoise, blue coloring on the breast, cheeks as well as the ventral parts. Similar to other black basses, the upper jaw does not extend beyond the eye. The fish has also a shallow notch located between the dorsal fins with a unique connection between the spiny and soft-rayed dorsal fins.

Along the lateral line, a pattern of dark vertical botches appears and there is a generally distinct dark blotch where the lateral line meets the caudal fin. Scales are present on the anal and caudal fins as well as the bases of the dorsal. The Suwannee bass is a distinct species with no known subspecies at the moment.

Regarding their range, besides Suwannee and Ochlocknee River that we already mentioned, they can also be found in spring-fed lower reaches of the Santa Fe and Ichetucknee rivers which are tributary to the Suwannee River and the Aucilla/Wacissa as well as St. Marks systems where it was introduced. As far as their habitat is concerned, they usually prefer staying in more rapidly flowing water along rocky shoal areas but they are not strictly restricted to these zones as they can be located in spring runs and large springs.

About the spawning habits of the Suwannee bass, it usually occurs from the second month of the year until June when the water temperatures reach temperatures between 65 to 68 degrees. The reproduction it is quite similar with the one of the largemouth bass which we already presented in a prior article. The nest construction is also quite similar to how the largemouth builds it.

The young Suwannee bass usually eat aquatic insects as well as small-sized crustaceans. The mature bass feed a great deal on crayfish and from time to time, small fish. In comparison with the largemouth bass, this type of bass is generally smaller as a two-pound fish is considered to be quite large. It seldom exceeds the length of 10 inches and a weight of about 12 ounces.

The Suwannee bass was first recognized back in 1949 and is seldom fished for specifically due to it rather small size as well as limited availability being. Given the fact that it is a small fish, it is considered to be a strong fighter, similar to other black basses. Similar to the largemouth bass, the Suwannee bass take live baits or some artificial lures. Speaking of lures, the most popular ones are small crayfish, crankbaits, jigs, crayfish-colored spinner baits and plastic worms.

As far as their eating quality is concerned, they have a white and rather flaky meat with a tasty flavor and is usually prepared like other freshwater basses. The world record for the biggest Suwannee bass ever caught is 3 pounds and 14 -1/4 ounces which was caught back in 1985 in the Suwannee River.