Where Do Largemouth Bass Live?

Kristian Ole



One of the most daunting parts of any fishing trip is to find where the fish gather. The larger the body of water the more time-consuming the search. This applies to all types of fish, but it applies even more to the largemouth bass.

The largemouth bass frequents waters with high oxygen content, dense vegetation, and has coverage. Because of the way the predatory fish tends to hunt, you’ll need to know where exactly to look for the largemouth bass. It tends to wait for its prey to come within a striking range before it bounces on it. This limits its movement and narrows down its area significantly.

Read on to find out where to go looking for the largemouth bass, how to track its migration channels, and the seasonal habitat of this bass.

Largemouth Bass Habitat

Whether it’s a lake or a river, the largemouth bass can be found almost in every body of water. From the deep lakes to shallow streams, the voracious fish chases its prey wherever it can find them.

That said, that body of water needs to have three conditions to make them suitable for the bass. The first is oxygenated water. Murky water with poor oxygen levels doesn’t encourage the bass to stay there for long. The second condition is vegetation. Weeds are a big attraction for the fish not just because of the high levels of oxygen weeds produce but also because the weeds are a natural habitat for many fish such as bluegill and minnows that the bass craves.

The last condition of the bass habitat is coverage. Boulders and rocks allow this predator to hide and lay in wait for its prey. They also provide it with coverage from its enemies.

So when you go looking for the largemouth bass, you should make sure that the spot has all three conditions before you cast your line. If the water is too murky, doesn’t get enough sunlight, lacks dense vegetation, or has no coverage, then the chances of finding largemouth bass in this spot are slim to none.

Migration of Largemouth Bass

In some rare instances, the largemouth bass will stay put in one place all year round. But that place has to have all the three conditions we talked about. And above that, it has to have an abundance of prey.

But since that is rare, it’s customary for the largemouth bass to go chasing prey and move from one area to the next depending on the season and water temperature. The body of water where the bass lives will also limit its migration. If it’s a small lake, the bass might move from one end to the other. But if it’s a river or a few connected lakes, then tracking the migration channels of the bass might be a little difficult.

Another reason for bass migration is spawning. In the early spring, the fish is usually busy mating and spawning. And after the spawning, the fish migrates back either to its former place or to new territories.

One thing is for certain though, the largemouth bass follows migration channels under the water. Sometimes the bass will take a break from moving and lurk for some time while it hunts. If it finds a spot rich in food, it might abandon its plans to migrate and stay there for a prolonged period of time.

Why Water Temperature Matters

Although the largemouth bass is attracted by nature to light, you won’t find it swimming in waters with high temperatures. That’s because these waters don’t have enough oxygen levels as cold water.

In a lake or a creek where the sun beats mercilessly on the surface of the water, the bass will dive deeper into the water column. Based on that, you will need to adjust both your lure and line types. So a rule of thumb is to use topwater techniques to catch the bass in the winter and bottom techniques in the summer. Sinking lines and weighted flies are more suitable for bottom techniques when the bass lurks in the deep waters. And Poppers and streamers along with floating lines work best during the springtime.

See also: How to fly fish for largemouth bass

Temporary Habitat

In general, the largemouth bass has two homes. The one where it likes to feed and the other where it spawns. In between, there are temporary homes and spots along the way. These are called seasonal homes since the bass doesn’t tend to spend a lot of time there.

The bass lays its eggs in the shallows in the spring. So creeks, streams, and the shores of lakes are the best places to find this bass. But once the spawning season is over, the fish makes its way to the summer spots. These include ledges, boulders, and deep waters where vegetations grow densely.

Related article: What do largemouth bass eat?

Where to Find Largemouth Bass

So which are the best spots to find largemouth bass? If the waters are unfamiliar to you and you haven’t caught bass there before, then the fish could be anywhere. Where would you start to even look for them? Armed with the above information about migration habits and water temperature, you can also narrow your search area even further by looking for the following signposts.

  • Vegetation: Where weeds grow, you’ll most likely find the largemouth bass. The crafty fish uses the weeds both as a cover to hunt and hide from its own predators. It’s the ideal place to lurk as it waits for prey. In the summer, the bass will drop down to depths between 6 to 10 feet and take cover beneath the weeds and grass. In the spring it will rise to the surface and move to shallow places.
  • Fallen Trees: If you see logs or tree stumps in the water, that’s a good place to cast your line. Fallen trees provide the bass with the same cover as weeds. Seek them in the spring around logs and submerged tree stumps.
  • Rocks: The rules for weeds and fallen trees apply to rocks. Look for rocks with algae and moss growing on them. Bass will frequent them in search of crayfish.

Largemouth bass changes its habitat according to the season and the water temperature. It will migrate to the shallows to spawn in the spring and lurk cooler waters in the summer around vegetation, fallen trees, and rocks. In the winter, they’ll move to deep waters where the water temperature is warmer than near the surface. 


About Kristian Ole

Kristian Ole Rørbye, a marine biologist and seasoned angler, shares his fishing adventures and expertise on FishingKris. Join him as he explores the world's waters, one cast at a time.

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