E-Fauna BC: Electronic Atlas of the Wildlife of British Columbia

Micropterus dolomieu Lacep├Ęde, 1802
Smallmouth Bass
Family: Centrarchidae
Photo of species

© Ian Gardiner  Email the photographer   (Photo ID #5818)

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Source: Distribution map provided by Don McPhail for E-Fauna BC
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Species Information

A large, deep-bodied fish with rough scales and well developed spines in the dorsal and anal fins. Dorsal spines (total): 46; Dorsal soft rays (total): 1314 (FishBase). This species is generally similar to the largemouth bass. Refer to McPhail (2008) for a detailed description and discussion on how to separate largemouth and smallmouth bass.
Source: McPail, J. D. 2008. The Freshwater Fishes of British Columbia. University of Alberta Press, Edmonton.


Species Biology

Inhabit shallow rocky areas of lakes, clear and gravel-bottom runs and flowing pools of rivers, cool flowing streams and reservoirs fed by such streams (Ref. 1998). Young feed on plankton and immature aquatic insects while adults take in crayfish, fishes, and aquatic and terrestrial insects (Refs. 1998, 10294, 44091). Sometime cannibalistic (Ref. 30578). Preyed upon by fishes and turtles (Ref. 1998).

Source: FishBase. Scott, W.B. and E.J. Crossman 1973 Freshwater fishes of Canada. Bull. Fish. Res. Board Can. 184:1-966.


BC Distribution and Notes

This eastern North American species was introduced into B.C. to provide angling opportunities and although it is a popular recreational species, it is not a native species and none of our native fishes have coevolved with this efficient predator. Consequently, it has a devastating impact on small species. On Vancouver Island, it has eliminated the native fish species and macroinvertebrates in most of the lakes where it has been introduced. Deliberately introducing this species to waters where it does not occur is an inexcusable act of ecological vandalism. The recent illicit introduction of this species into the Fraser system (in the Quesnel area) is cause for concern. If the smallmouth bass spreads in the Fraser system, it could have a serious impact on Pacific salmon populations.

Source: Information provided by Don McPhail for E-Fauna BC.
Global Distribution

North America: St. Lawrence-Great Lakes system, Hudson Bay and Mississippi River basins from southern Quebec in Canada to North Dakota and south to northern Alabama and eastern Oklahoma in the USA. Introduced into many countries for sport fishing. Several countries report adverse ecological impact after introduction.

Source: FishBase. Scott, W.B. and E.J. Crossman 1973 Freshwater fishes of Canada. Bull. Fish. Res. Board Can. 184:1-966.

Status Information

Origin StatusProvincial StatusBC List
(Red Blue List)
ExoticSNAExoticNot Listed
BC Ministry of Environment: BC Species and Ecosystems Explorer--the authoritative source for conservation information in British Columbia.

Additional Range and Status Information Links

Additional Photo Sources

General References

Recommended citation: Author, Date. Page title. In Klinkenberg, Brian. (Editor) 2021. E-Fauna BC: Electronic Atlas of the Fauna of British Columbia [efauna.bc.ca]. Lab for Advanced Spatial Analysis, Department of Geography, University of British Columbia, Vancouver. [Accessed: 2024-07-22 12:16:40 PM]
Disclaimer: The information contained in an E-Fauna BC atlas pages is derived from expert sources as cited (with permission) in each section. This information is scientifically based.  E-Fauna BC also acts as a portal to other sites via deep links.  As always, users should refer to the original sources for complete information.  E-Fauna BC is not responsible for the accuracy or completeness of the original information.

© E-Fauna BC 2021: An initiative of the Spatial Data Lab, Department of Geography, UBC