About Northern Bass

About Northern Bass
"Northern bass" is a term identifying one of the largemouth bass subspecies. This subspecies is one of the most common and most popular fish with anglers in the eastern United States. It is prized for its fighting abilities and large size.


Northern largemouth bass are generally called "largemouth bass," "black bass" or simply "bass." The northern bass is a subspecies of largemouth bass. Its scientific name is Micropterus salmoides salmoides.

Related Subspecies

The other subspecies of largemouth bass is the Florida largemouth bass, Micropterus salmoides floridanus.


Florida bass live in the extreme south and grow larger than northern bass---up to 20 pounds. They have been widely stocked in an effort to create trophy fisheries. Northern bass average 1 to 3 pounds but can reach more than 10 pounds. Florida bass have smaller scales and have 69 to 73 scales on the lateral line versus 59 to 65 scales in northern bass. Otherwise, the fish appear identical.


Both subspecies are short, stocky fish. They are light to dark green and have faint dark vertical stripes along the body. A narrow black band runs along the lateral line. The largemouth bass's most distinguishing characteristic is its oversized mouth. The jaw extends rearward beyond the eye.


Northern bass inhabit more northern latitudes than Florida bass. They range from Georgia and Alabama, north to Minnesota and southern Ontario. The original range was generally east of the Mississippi River, but it has been widely introduced in the west. Florida bass generally inhabit Florida, Texas and California.

Article Written By Joe Shead

Joe Shead is a freelance writer specializing in outdoor writing. He has written for numerous national and regional outdoor magazines on various topics from hunting to fishing to his pet subject, shed antler hunting.

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