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Smalls

Enormous size differences.

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I’ve seen the videos, read the articles. Guys down in California are catching these behemoths on trout colored swimbaits. They stock their lakes with trout for the bass to get nice and fat on. Their average bass is on point with our (MI) state record!

 

But! We have trout, too! Plenty of em! I imagine the bass here, just as they do in California, snack on them as well.

 

So why is it that the bass down there grow so much bigger? Are they not eating the same things? Does our cold, cold winter play a part in it? 

 

There’s an abundance of information on why California bass grow so large, and plenty of videos and other information on fishing down there. But I have a hard time finding any information on fishing my lakes at all, let alone any info on why our fish don’t grow to these legendary sizes. 

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California has had Florida strain Bass transplanted there. 

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I might have misheard or misread the information, but regardless, the point that that their bass are eating trout still stands. 

 

I imagine that there has to be other factors in why their bass are so large, it just seemed like the one that I see most. 

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Yeah I typed that then realized they did. Thought I read that they haven't in a long time. Guess not

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14 minutes ago, CroakHunter said:

California has had Florida strain Bass transplanted there. 

The only place I’ve ever bass fished is here in the Midwest, so I’ve never had the chance to deal with many strains of bass. But do they differ THAT greatly? If so, how is it that these different strains can vary so greatly? 

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1 minute ago, Smalls said:

The only place I’ve ever bass fished is here in the Midwest, so I’ve never had the chance to deal with many strains of bass. But do they differ THAT greatly? If so, how is it that these different strains can vary so greatly? 

I honestly don't know the details of it. But I know that Florida strain Bass we're moved there lots of years ago and they do grow faster and bigger. @WRB could probably enlighten everybody

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California doesn’t stock trout for bass to grow fat,California stocks trout for fishermen to catch them, bass feeding and growing big on trout was a happy consequence.

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47 minutes ago, CroakHunter said:

California has had Florida strain Bass transplanted there. 

^^^ What he said. I'm sure water temps have something to do with this as well. Because bass are cold blooded colder water affects their feeding. The colder the water the less food bass need because they are less active. 

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57 minutes ago, Raul said:

California doesn’t stock trout for bass to grow fat,California stocks trout for fishermen to catch them, bass feeding and growing big on trout was a happy consequence.

 The optimist in me wants to believe it’s the other way around  😂

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The biggest factors comparing MI to CA have nothing to do with trout. They are (1) California has FL strain bass while MI doesn't, and (2) California has a much longer growing season compared to MI, due to a warmer year-round climate.

 

The Michigan largemouth record --11.94# -- was taken from 200-acre Big Pine Island Lake in 1934, which is 40 min from my house. It is now a well-developed recreation-heavy lake, that gets a lot of traffic. I fish it sometimes; some decent bass in there now, but no chance there is another record largemouth there, or anywhere else in the area (and no trout in there either).  The record was tied again in 1959 elsewhere, but not since. If you follow the master angler entries in MI each year, you will see nobody is coming anywhere near that weight. With modern-day population and fishing pressure, the largemouth record may not ever be broken.

 

On the other hand, the Michigan Smallmouth record has fallen twice all of a sudden in the couple years, after standing for over 100 years. If I were chasing records in MI, I'd be targeting smallies.

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Well, like I said, I imagine there are plenty of other factors, trout is just the one that I see pop up constantly, so it seemed like the obvious one to mention. 

 

But I suppose there’s an additional question within the question, or perhaps a clarification on the original. It’s obvious that we cannot grow bass like they do, but what are the leading factors. Is it the winter? Pressure? Certain strains just can’t?

 

I’m certainly not “targeting” a record, just a question that has irked me for some time, and something I haven’t been able to find any insight on. 

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Genetics!

 

Not every bass is capable of reaching double digits regardless of how much or what ya feed it. California's big bass are caught & released keeping the gene pool in place. Other states were catching monster bass & having them mounted removing the gene pool.

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5 hours ago, CroakHunter said:

Yeah I typed that then realized they did. Thought I read that they haven't in a long time. Guess not

Yeah trout plants are going on rite now the state plants them every other week starting November till it warms up in march or April we have been getting plants from as far back as I can remember. There is a ton of trout fishermen out here in California. 

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To answer your question: bass in California, Texas, Louisiana and Florida have a longer "growing season" where they grow larger.

 

You are correct when you say you have longer winters in your area than down south. Remember, water temperatures control the bass' behaviors, eating habits and growth rates.

 

So consider having some fun in the future and travel to Texas, Louisiana or Florida and catch some of those monster bass.

 

 

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If you do some research, you'll see that a northern strain largemouth might take 8-10 years to reach 5 pounds. However, a Florida strain largemouth can grow to be 5 pounds (or more) in just 3-4 years. 

 

Here's an interesting article that Bassmaster published. 

 

https://www.bassmaster.com/news/big-old-bass

 

A few different clips from it for those who don't want to open the article

 

Quote

In Florida, scientists used otoliths (ear bones) to determine that a 10-pound-plus largemouth was just 4 years old.

By contrast, an angler recently caught and released a 3.5-pound bass in Montana that was judged to be 19 years old, based on a tag inserted 14 years ago, when it weighed 1.5 pounds.

Quote

In a Florida study, 822 trophy bass (10 pounds and up) given to taxidermists showed a mean age of 9.7 years.  That’s a growth rate of about a pound a year. As previously mentioned, the youngest was just 4 years old, while the oldest, likely from the northern part of the state, was 16.5.

Quote

But a 6.78-pound bass caught in New York’s Mariaville Lake still owns that honor. Back in 1992, biologists used otolith rings to determine that the fish was at least 23 years old, and it was in good condition, meaning that it could have lived longer.

 

And here's an interesting article I found on northern strain Largemouth. 

 

https://fishinpedia.com/age-and-growth-of-largemouth-bass/

 

Quote

For bass, there is usually a range of about four inches between the largest and smallest individuals of the same age, he says. That is, although the average three-year-old largemouth bass is 13.3 inches long, some will be as small as 11 inches and others as large as 15 inches. That’s why we can’t tell how old a fish is without examining the scales or other hard parts. A 15-inch bass might be an average four-year-old, a fast growing three-year-old or a slow growing five-year-old. A typical northern-strain five-pounder might be anywhere between six and 16 years old, McHugh reports.

 

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All species of black bass were transplanted in California came from somewhere else east of the Mississippi River. 

Gaint LMB are a result of genes and only a small percent of female LMB grow to giant size. Do you think a 1/2 pound bass is feeding on 1 pound trout? Of course not, the bass must be an adult bass over 4 lbs to successfully eat a 1 pound trout. The giant bass starts it's faster growth out competing all it's year class and continues this faster growth it's entire life spawn. The eccosystem must be well balanced with a wide verity of pray available year around and warm water over 45 degrees year around.

If anyone believes feeding trout to bass will grow giant bass they are wrong, it's been tried several times and failed.

The Flotida strain LMB has the genetic base to grow larger faster then Northern strain LMB everything being equal. I believe FLMB eat planted trout because the trout look like a prey the FLMB is wired to hunt...golden shiners, a large narrow body baitfish. NLMB aren't wired to larger bair fish, the hunt and eat baitfish under 6" long. Like any bass a NLMB will strike big lures and larger bait fish, but that isn't the norm.

Tom

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@WRB 😉

 

Texas ShareLunker research has proven beyond a shadow of doubt it's in the genetics.

 

Their research shows FLMB of 6-8 lbs 2-3 times older than FLMB of 13 lbs plus. This is why they collect & spawn 13 lb + bass. A 6 to 8 lb female will not produce 10 lb offspring regardless of what ya feed it.

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3 hours ago, Sam said:

 

 

So consider having some fun in the future and travel to Texas, Louisiana or Florida and catch some of those monster bass.

 

 

It’s on my short list for this year!

 

So naturally, the next question is... how would transplants of FLMB, with their genetics, fair in MI? 

 

I wouldn’t expect them to reach such great weights here, but I imagine we might get a few more pounds out of some of them, no?

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47 minutes ago, Smalls said:

It’s on my short list for this year!

 

So naturally, the next question is... how would transplants of FLMB, with their genetics, fair in MI? 

 

I wouldn’t expect them to reach such great weights here, but I imagine we might get a few more pounds out of some of them, no?

No, most all will die out because they can't handle the prolonged cold water temps. The ones that do survive grow slower than their northern strain peers.

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A diet of trout also adds to the growth of bass.  Trout grow to larger sizes than other bait fish and are easier to eat because they do not have spiny fins.  Since the trout grow larger they can get big enough so that the smaller bass can not eat them and the larger bass have a bigger meal.  So basically the trout grow with the bass and offer a continual growing meal for them.

 

In bodies of water where the bait fish can only get to a certain size the larger bass have a harder time competing with the smaller and usually faster bass.  This can somewhat stunt the size of bass.  On top of that the colder temps and short growing season have  major factor on bass in the midwest.

 

I believe the largest bass caught in Iowa is just over 10lbs. and that was a very, very long time ago.  Anything over 3 pounds in Iowa would be considered a big bass.  My personal best is just under 5 pounds caught on the Mississippi River.

44 minutes ago, Catt said:

@WRB 😉

 

Texas ShareLunker research has proven beyond a shadow of doubt it's in the genetics.

 

Their research shows FLMB of 6-8 lbs 2-3 times older than FLMB of 13 lbs plus. This is why they collect & spawn 13 lb + bass. A 6 to 8 lb female will not produce 10 lb offspring regardless of what ya feed it.

That can't be entirely true?  If that were the case then how did a 13lb bass ever come to be?  At some point certain bass had to grow bigger than their parents.  I would think that two smaller bass could carry the trait of a larger bass.

 

Wouldn't it be similar to two 5'11" parents having a son that grew to be 6'8"?  Not likely but can happen.

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Not only do they have Florida Strain bass transplanted, but aquarium conditions, catch and release only rules, spoon fed trout that were farm raised with no fear of predictors, and offered up for sacrifice several times a year.  Put this all together and you can see why bass get big. 

But I have heard they may stop the feeding process, reductions in water quality from run-off.  Things may be changing!!!

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What Catt is saying is true regarding LMB growing to be giant bass, Florida strain can grow to over 50% heavier then Northern strain LMB.

Examples; California record LMB before Florida LMB were introduced in 1959 was 14 lbs 7 oz. After the FLMB became established that record started falling in 1965 and today the official record is 21 lbs 15 oz, unaffical is 25 lbs 1 oz. Lake Hodges produced a 20 lb 4 oz FLMB , lake record, without any trout as prey! Upper Otay lake where the FLMB were raised before releasing into San Diego city lakes didn't have any trout for prey.

The clearest example is lake Casitas that had a rainbow trout planting  program since 1958 long before Florida strain LMB were introduced in 1971 as young adult size bass. I caught my northern strain LMB at Casitas in Feb 1971 @ 12 lbs 4 oz, 10 years later after the FLMB were introduced I caught a 18 lb 11 oz (18.6) FLMB, same lake with the same prey sources, the same year lake Casitas produced a 21lb 3 oz FLMB. The only difference is Florida LMB genetics, not the trout prey source.

Planted trout become a preferred prey source for FLMB after the big females have already grown big enough to hunt and catch them for food and trout occupy a different part of any lakes eccosystem, they are pelagic fish and bass tend to be dermasel fish that adapt to feeding off shore, mostly because of Threadfin Shad that move off shore, the bass follow the prey source.

45 degrees seems to be the lower limit water temp for pure Florida strain LMB and fact limits their distribution.

Tom

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32 minutes ago, Hawkeye21 said:

Can't be entirely true?  If that were the case then how did a 13lb bass ever come to be?  At some point certain bass had to grow bigger than their parents.  I would think that two smaller bass could carry the trait of a larger bass.

 

Wouldn't it be similar to two 5'11" parents having a son that grew to be 6'8"?  Not likely but can happen.

 

Absolutely true!

 

If it were not wouldn't it stand to reason the would be a higher percentage bass in the double digit class?

 

As for the 6' 8" son we would have to look beyond the 5' 11" parents. 

 

Look at Tiger/Gorilla/F1 bass, research showed a 14 lb bass that was only 7 yrs old, it never eat trout!

 

There are numerous research conducted trying to raise world record bass & food source at it.

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10 hours ago, MIbassyaker said:

The biggest factors comparing MI to CA have nothing to do with trout. They are (1) California has FL strain bass while MI doesn't, and (2) California has a much longer growing season compared to MI, due to a warmer year-round climate.

 

The Michigan largemouth record --11.94# -- was taken from 200-acre Big Pine Island Lake in 1934, which is 40 min from my house. It is now a well-developed recreation-heavy lake, that gets a lot of traffic. I fish it sometimes; some decent bass in there now, but no chance there is another record largemouth there, or anywhere else in the area (and no trout in there either).  The record was tied again in 1959 elsewhere, but not since. If you follow the master angler entries in MI each year, you will see nobody is coming anywhere near that weight. With modern-day population and fishing pressure, the largemouth record may not ever be broken.

 

On the other hand, the Michigan Smallmouth record has fallen twice all of a sudden in the couple years, after standing for over 100 years. If I were chasing records in MI, I'd be targeting smallies.

I doubt that our LMB record will ever be broken but there's that chance (hence my screen name).

 

There's a lake north of Big Pine which as you've mentioned is where the current record came from. In this lake about 12 years years ago my wife's uncle said the DNR shocked the lake and there was a new state record in there. Fast forward about 8 years and I was at the county park of this lake doing a job and I spoke to the Ranger and he said that he had heard the same story except that it came out of the lakes little brother just north but the two were connected. The DNR officer in my area has said he's heard the same thing. My son and his daughter are in the same class so I'm going to make it a point to cross paths with him and "interrogate" him. Lol

 

Obviously genetics play a huge role in size, but so does what we eat and our environment also play a role. Anybody ever sat in a classic car from the 30's 40' s 50's? People were smaller then. Over time we've grown A ton, genetics play A role, but our ever changing environment play A role too. A wise man on here told me his PB LMB from Michigan was 7 lbs and came from a lake that was stocked with trout. 7 pounds in Michigan is a giant. That's about the same as an 11-12lb down south. Coincidence?

 

 

 

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