Ontario Fishing is an all-season, all encompassing sport that attracts hundreds of thousands of people to the waters every year. The best anglers aren’t only patient, but they also know their fish. They know where they lurk, what lures they are most attracted to, and they can tell the difference between Crappie and bass. Not all fish are this easy to tell apart. The fish that really trips up new anglers is the small and largemouth bass. Both large and smallmouth bass are classified as Sunfish, along with Bluegill, Rock bass and Crappie. They are also known as panfish, since they fit well in a pan.
Large mouth bass are fished all over the world, from Ontario to Europe. Smallmouth bass like lakes, streams and cool water, so they can be a little harder to find. Smallmouth bass also prefer fast moving parts of rivers and lakes and deeper water. Largemouth, on the other hand, like slower currents and shallows. They also like to hang out in weeds or around fallen trees or logs. Smallmouth are more likely to be out in the open.
A smallmouth is also greenish or brownish in colour, which leads to one of their nicknames, bronzebacks.
Once you’ve got the fish in your hands, the easiest way to tell the difference between the large and smallmouth bass is to count the number of scales the fish has on its cheek. A large mouth bass will have 10 rows, and a small mouth bass will have 17. You can also tell the difference between a largemouth bass and a smallmouth bass by observing how far back the fish’s mouth goes in relation to its eye. A smallmouth bass’ mouth will usually only go to the medium point of its eye. A largemouth bass’ mouth will extend far beyond the eye.
You will also notice that a largemouth bass will have a broad stripe that runs lengthwise whereas a smallmouth bass has lines running vertically. As a final point of reference, check out the fishes dorsal fin: A largemouth bass’ dorsal fin will be almost divided in two, with 9 spines in the front portion. A smallmouth’s dorsal fin is not divided.
Finally, you can also tell the difference between small and largemouth bass by the way they act when they’re hooked. A largemouth will only jump about once before trying to escape to deeper water. A smallmouth, on the other hand, is likely to out on an acrobatic display of agility to try to throw the hook. When trying to hook a smallmouth, use deep water lures. Smallmouth bass rarely attack top water lures like largemouths.
See if you can spot these differences next time you’re fishing in Ontario.