Fact Sheet

Smallmouth Bass


Micropterus dolomieu | Other Names: Smallie, Brown Bass, Black Bass


Robust, brown to green body with a white belly. Back fin is spiny. Sides have dark, blotchy, vertical bars, and head has several dark horizontal bars. Average length is 9 to 15 inches (23 to 38 cm).

Habitat & Impact

Inhabits lakes and streams with rocky bottoms and plenty of shade. An efficient predator of many smaller fish, mammals and amphibians. Not only eats native species, but also consumes much of the food which some native fish require for survival. Spread of both the Smallmouth Bass and Chain Pickerel threatens native fish communities in more than half of the primary watersheds in Nova Scotia.


Authorized release in 1942 in Bunkers Lake, Yarmouth County, as sanctioned by government. The last authorized introduction occurred in 1984.

White Perch, a fun-to-catch native fish species

Native Alternative

The native White Perch is similar in appearance, andis known for its thrilling fight and delicious flavour.

Key Identification Features

Long narrow fish, black and green chain pattern on side, snout full of sharp teeth.

Robust body and spiny back fin
Typical habitat where Smallmouth Bass thrives

Interesting Fact

Smallmouth Bass are inactive and do not eat during the winter.

Stewardship Actions

If you’re in a lake or river that is known to have Smallmouth Bass, keep your fishing gear, boating gear, livewelland buckets clean so that you’re not accidentally transporting fish or fish eggs into another watershed. It is illegal to use or possess Smallmouth Bass as bait in Nova Scotia. Report any new Smallmouth Bass sites to the Department of Fisheries and Aquaculture at inland@novascotia.ca or 902.424.4560.