Identification: Also known as “Kentucky bass”, the Spotted Bass is most similar to the Largemouth Bass. It is distinguished from Largemouth Bass by having horizontal rows of small black spots on the lower side (vs. plain) in adults, a shallow (vs. deep) notch between the spiny and soft dorsal fins, and circular patch of teeth present (vs. absent) on the tongue. Juveniles have a 3-colored caudal fin (orange base, black middle, and white edge). Most adults are in the 10-15 in. (1-3 lbs.) range, but can grow to about 24 in. (8 lbs.).
Distribution and Habitat: Common statewide, except for the Mississippi Coastal Plain of far western Kentucky. The Spotted Bass occupies primarily streams and rivers, but also occurs in lake (e.g., oxbows) and reservoir habitats. It is less numerous in reservoirs than Largemouth Bass and far less common than Smallmouth Bass in cool, clear upland streams. As with other black basses, Spotted Bass tend to associate with cover in the form of logs, stumps, and other submerged structures.