The Suwannee Bass… A Small Water Treasure. Leave a comment

The Suwannee Bass is a unique species of black bass, found only in the “Big Bend” region of northern Florida, and in specific rivers in south-central Georgia. Seldom exceeding 12 inches in length, the Suwannee is nonetheless a fiesty and belligerent fish, much like its larger cousin the Spotted Bass. This fish prefers flowing waters, and likes to hold on station near rocks or logs before rushing out to engulf a minnow, insect, or crawdad. The all-tackle record is just under four pounds.

The classic Suwannee Bass river is, of course, the Suwannee River of Georgia and Florida, a tannic blackwater stream that snakes its way out of the Okeefenokee Swamp. But the Suwannee Bass is actually more abundant in the Suwannee’s main tributaries, the Santa Fe, Alapaha, and Withlacoochee rivers.

Suwannee Bass can also be found in the Ochlockonee, Ichetucknee, Aucilla, St. Marks, and Wacissa rivers.

The Suwannee bass (Micropterus notius)
The Suwannee bass (Micropterus notius)

Appearance:

A heavy-bodied black bass that seldom exceeds 12 inches long. Mature Suwannee bass have bright turquoise coloring on the cheeks, breast, and belly. The upper jaw does not extend beyond the eye, and there is only a shallow notch between the dorsal fins. A distinct dark blotch where the lateral line meets the caudal fin and scales on bases of dorsal, anal and caudal fins further identify Suwannee bass.

Habitat:

Suwannee Bass Range.
Suwannee Bass Range.

Originally restricted to the Suwannee and Ochlockonee rivers, they now are in the Santa Fe, Ichetucknee, St. Marks, Aucilla and Wacissa systems. They prefer rapidly flowing water along rocky shoals.

Behavior:

Spawning occurs from February to June. Crayfish are a major food item for Suwannees.

WORLD Record:

3.89 lbs. Caught in the Ochlocknee River (Georgia) by Laverne Norton in 1984.
Big Catch: 16 inches or 2 lbs.

Fishing Tips and Facts:

Although mostly taken while fishing for other species, popular lures and baits include small crayfish-colored spinnerbaits, crankbaits, plastic worms, jigs and crayfish.

Suwannee Bass on top, Largemouth Bass below
Suwannee Bass on top, Largemouth Bass below

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