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bassmaster8100

Why arent there any smallies down south?

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I live in South Mississippi, I been fishing largemouth for a while and alot of spots too. But where are the smallies? I was looking for somewhere to give my hand a try at catching some smallmouth, doesnt seem to be any in this part of  the country for some reason. Just wondering if anybody might know why, if its the climate or what.

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Most lakes are too shallow and get too warm in summer for smallies to survive. Smallies love deep rocky areas.

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Well, first off, there is smallies down south.  RW fishes in the Tennessee river which HE thinks will bear the next world record. Lakes around here (north arkansas) also have smallies.  But these lakes tend to be very large and very deep.  

Smallmouth are native to cold, fast moving waters.  Like T-rig said, most southern lakes are too shallow and get too warm to host the smallmouth.

Danke

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i  realize some southern states have em but nowhere in mississippi that i know of, I live about 90 miles north of the gulf coast

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kb here they like us  better than you south people ;)kb

Yes they do!

Although smallmouth bass can be found at lower latitudes, thermal ranges are not uniform. Look at any gardener's book and you will see "zones" that vary dramatically in continuity. St. Louis is only 200 air miles from Memphis, but two growing zones different. Smallmouth thrive in southern Oklahoma and northern Texas, but at the same latitude, not central Alabama. The largest fish tend to be found along a line (+/-) drawn between Little Rock, Arkansas and Atlanta, Georgia. Numbers are FAR more prevalent north of this line. Smallmouth bass recruitment is exponentially greater in northern environments.

Southern smallmouth grow bigger because they feed continuously (365 days a year) throughout their relatively short life (10 yrs). Northern bass are much easier to catch because their "feeding season" is so short and they are VERY aggressive. These bass are the same species living in different environments. A five year Southern smallmouth may weigh between 4 & 5 lbs, a northern bass is 10-14 years old before it reaches 5 lbs, although that may be changing. Warmer, clearer water and gobbies may have changed the dynamics.

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Guess its just too hot down here for em then, i know there are some monster largemouth down here ,and well spots you can catch big numbers they usually dont have much size but I been wondering bout the smallies.

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kb here they like us better than you south people ;)kb

Northern smallmouth grow bigger because they feed continuously (365 days a year) throughout their relatively short life (10 yrs). Northern bass are much easier to catch because their "feeding season" is so short and they are VERY aggressive. These bass are the same species living in different environments. A five year Southern smallmouth may weigh between 4 & 5 lbs, a northern bass is 10-14 years old before it reaches 5 lbs, although that may be changing. Warmer, clearer water and gobbies may have changed the dynamics.

I totally agree with you RW. I fish our river here that has a constant slow flow during spring and summer and for the past two years the smallmouth population has boomed and fishing has been absolutely awsome. I was catching 5-10 per hour between 2-5 lbs last year. I haven't caught a small bigger than 4-5 lbs in my area. They are not very common. LargeM Bass are also the same way in regards to size compared to southern fish.

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how deep  of  water do they usually  live in and  at water temp

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Smallmouth do not get as big here but they live much longer in our cold rocky lakes a 3lb smallie here is said to be about 18years old 4 pounders are common anything over 5lbs is uncommon but does happen the New Brunswick record is 7lbs 2 ozs  

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kb here they like us  better than you south people ;)kb

Northern bass are much easier to catch because their "feeding season" is so short and they are VERY aggressive.

Is this something documented?  Theoretically, it makes sense but I've never heard that the further north you go, the more aggressive and "easier" the bass are to catch.  Assuming this would apply to LM also.

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Regarding smallmouth bass:  Something documented by In-Fisherman Magazine.

Regarding largemouth: They might be more aggressive for the same reasons, but they seem to be more sensitive to cooler water temperatures. Their natural or original environment was shallow, grasssy, warm water rivers, not lakes. Hence the name, "green trout."  Largemouth have adapted to reserviors, but they are still VERY temperature sensitive. If it were all about forage, they should grow just as big in the north. This is NOT the case.

Now, California largemouth have the best of all worlds: Relatively warm water temperatures year around; abundant forage fish (trout) that is slow and in human terms, dumber than dirt! Bass, both smallmouth and largemouth, will eat whenever the opportunity arises, regardless of how "full" they might be. California bass are pigs, in both size and eating habits. The relatively even temperatures are favorable for both largemouth and smallmouth.

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RW, you have my utmost respect.  In reading thru the forums the past few months, you amaze me with your knowledge.  You've probably forgotten more about fishing than I'll ever know but I'll keep trying and hopefully learning.  Thanks!

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Water temps is the reason. You do have plenty of big smallies in Pickwick!! I have mounted a number of 6 and 7 lb smallies from Pickwick over the years. None lately as the clinets have quit going to Pickwick.

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kb here they like us  better than you south people ;)kb

Northern bass are much easier to catch because their "feeding season" is so short and they are VERY aggressive.

Is this something documented?  Theoretically, it makes sense but I've never heard that the further north you go, the more aggressive and "easier" the bass are to catch.  Assuming this would apply to LM also.

RW stated:

Regarding smallmouth bass:  Something documented by In-Fisherman Magazine.  

Regarding largemouth: They might be more aggressive for the same reasons, but they seem to be more sensitive to cooler water temperatures.

I have another question to add to those posted by LBH.  While the above, logically, makes sense, did the  study (or studies) clarify if they also considered the age of the fish.  I would also assume, logically, that a northern bass of 10 years age, while possibly as small or smaller than a southern fish half its age, would be much "smarter" than the 5 year old southern fish which would maybe balance out the aggressive tendencies due to the short growing season.  A 5 - 7 lb'er way up north is an old-timer and would probably tend to have far more experience with seeing various lures than a southern fish.  

And now let me contradict this with some more circular logic.  Due to the warmer weather in the south, southern fish may see more lures all year round, while northern fish don't see too many in the Winter months, so maybe a northern bass must be older to have the experience with lures that a southern bass has.   I just wonder if they account for all factors when they do these studies.  

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Well, when it comes to "smart," if it was something you could see, you'd need a microscope to look at "bass smart." I really don't know how we can evaluate lure shyness, but smallmouth don't have the reputation that Florida strain largemouth have when they grow older. My best guess is simply the short time period when northern smallmouth are active. It's their "window of opportunity."

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I would agree regarding the reputations of smallmouth as opposed to a Florida strain largemouth, but I was thinking in terms of comparing northern to southern smallmouths, and comparing northern to southern largemouths.  As you stated though, it's nearly an impossibility to control for all factors so that you can test just one.  Maybe they should choose a random sampling of bass in the north and south and do a focus group.   :)

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I think the "window of opportunity" concept makes a lot of sense. I'm not sure if geographical location causes the fish's willingness to bite to change, but if it does, the smaller window of opportunity concept seems to make the most sense. I wish we could study bass more conclusively to find some more concrete answers to all the questions we have. There are so many factors that makes it so difficult to really know much at all about the fish.

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