Spotted Bass VS Largemouth: Differences Explained

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There are many different kinds of bass out there, including two very popular ones, spotted bass and largemouth bass. So are these two the same fish? And if they aren’t, what are the differences between spotted bass vs largemouth?

No, these two fish are not the same. These two fish differ in many different ways, including their jaw length, dorsal fins, their tongues, cheek scales, stomach markers, behavior, lifespan, locations, and more.


Are Spotted Bass & Largemouth Bass The Same?

a spotted bass fish
Spotted Bass

The simple fact here is that spotted bass and largemouth bass are two different creatures.

Yes, they belong to the same family and when it comes down to it, they more or less grow to the same size.

But there are some major differences that you need to consider. The size, weight, and general body shape of these two fish are virtually the same, but that is where the similarities end. Let’s move on and figure out what makes spotted bass and largemouth bass different from each other.

Differences Between Spotted Bass & Largemouth Bass

OK, so besides the fact that these are both fish in the bass family and besides the fact that they have the same body shape and size (for the most part), there are a whole lot of differences that you need to consider.

Let’s get through it and talk about all of the different things that make the spotted bass and the largemouth bass very different from each other.

On a side note, one thing that we are not going to be talking about in this list of differences is the different locations in which both of these types of bass can be found.

The reason for this is because, generally speaking, both of these types of bass can be found all throughout North America and tend to usually reside in the same waters.

a largemouth bass fish
Largemouth Bass

The Dorsal Fin

The first major difference between these two types of bass had to do with the dorsal thin.

On a largemouth bass, the dorsal fin is almost separate or completely separate, whereas on a spotted bass of the dorsal Finn is very clearly connected.

This can be a hard difference to see for someone who has never really looked for it before, but it is quite a noticeable difference.

The Length of the Jaw

These two fish also have different jaw lengths. On a largemouth bass, the bottom of the jaw extends well past the eye of the fish.

However, on a spotted bass, when the fish closes its mouth, the jaw does not extend past the rear of the eye.

To put it in simplest terms, spotted bass generally had smaller mouths.

The Cheek Scales

Yeah, another notable difference between the spotted bass and the largemouth bass is that on a largemouth bass the scales on the cheek are the exact same size as the scales on the rest of the fish.

However, on a spotted bass, the scales on the cheeks are actually much smaller than on the rest of the fish.

Exactly why this is, is not really known, but nonetheless, it is the case.

The Tongue

Another difference between these two fish is the fact that as spotted, bass has a very small rectangular rough patch right in the center of its tongue.

On the other hand, largemouth bass more or less have a smooth tongue from front to back.

That said, texture and pigmentation can be confusing when looking at a picture, so this can be a fairly hard difference to determine for yourself.

The Marks On The Stomach

One of the most noticeable differences that you will see between these two fish is the fact that largemouth bass usually have plain white stomachs, whereas spotted bass have lines or spots along the stomach.

General Color

Largemouth bass tend to be all sorts of green, with olive and dark greens being most common.

On the other hand, spotted bass tend to have much darker bass, almost black. Spotted bass may also have patches of green and yellows in that black.

Moreover, one of the defining features of spotted bass is that they usually always have a very dark and spotted lateral line, whereas largemouth bass do not have any kind of distinguishable lateral line.

In general, spotted bass just tend to have more color to them as well as more color contrast.

Some Size Differences

OK, so we do know that we said that spotted bass and largemouth bass are generally the same size, which for the most part is true.

However, with that being said, depending on where you are fishing, and especially how much good food the bass in question get largemouth bass do have the potential to get a bit bigger than spotted bass.

However, this size difference is usually only a couple of inches or a couple of pounds at the very most, which is why we didn’t think that it was all too relevant.


There are also other differences between these two fish to consider, mainly in terms of behavior.

When you are fishing for spotted bass and it gets hooked, it will tend to dive very deep and behave more like a small mouth bass.

Whereas when a largemouth bass is hooked it tends to jump and rush to the top. Moreover, spotted bass are also much more social in nature or in other words, they tend to school with each other a lot more than largemouth bass do.

Largemouth bass tend to be very solitary in nature. Yet another difference in behavior to keep in mind is that spotted bass primarily stick to structures, whereas largemouth bass usually stick more to cover.


Although both of these fish come from the same family, what is interesting to note is that spotted bass lived for only around six years, whereas largemouth bass can live for nearly three times as long with an average lifespan of 16 years.

Exactly why largemouth bass can get so much older than spotted bass is not exactly known, but it’s the truth of the matter.

Fishing Tips For Spotted Bass VS Largemouth Bass

OK, so the reality here is that we could write two whole separate books on fishing for spotted bass and fishing for largemouth bass, so we aren’t going to get too deep into this right now, but we are going to do is to provide you with some big time tips for fishing for both of these fish, especially when it comes to the differences in techniques, baits, lures, and other such things.

  • One of the major differences that you need to keep in mind when fishing for spotted bass and largemouth bass is that spotted bass tension, light deeper waters, whereas largemouth bass tend to like shallower waters. For the most part, largemouth Bass won’t venture deeper than about 15 feet, whereas spotted bass will go as deep as 30 feet if not deeper sometimes. Therefore, when you are fishing for spotted bass lures that sink to the bottom, and when you were fishing for largemouth bass, use top lures or lures that sit in the middle of the water column.
  • Another thing to remember here is that fishing for largemouth bass is best done in the late spring, summer and early fall. This type of bass tends to be far more active when the weather is warm than when it is cold. Largemouth bass really tends to slow down during the colder months. The difference here is that spotted bass usually stay as active during the winter as they are in the summer, or at least almost as active. Therefore, if you are fishing for bass in cold weather, you are much better off aiming for the spotted variety.
  • Another thing to keep in mind here is that spotted bass do really like clear waters and will stay out of murky waters. Largemouth bass, on the other hand, doesn’t really care all that much about water clarity and will swim in both clear and murky waters.
  • For the most part, you can use the same types of lures and baits for both spotted and largemouth bass, but what you do need to remember here is that you do need larger lures and baits for largemouth bass than for smallmouth bass. Largemouth bass has bigger mouths and also like bigger food. So if you are fishing for spotted bass, you will need to downsize your gear.

Can Spotted Bass Live In A Pond?

You might know that a lot of people keep largemouth bass in ponds, but what about spotted bass?

The thing you need to know here is that the ideal water temperature for spotted bass is between 70 and 79 degrees Fahrenheit. They can also handle temperatures that are lower and a little bit higher.

However, when it comes down to it, spotted bass do need cool waters and therefore they cannot survive in ponds or farm ponds where the waters are higher than 90 degrees Fahrenheit.

With that being said, as long as the water is the right temperature and your spotted bass get enough food, there is absolutely no reason why these creatures cannot live in a pond, especially in a large pond that has plenty of space.

Related: What bass actually need to survive in a pond.

Can You Eat Spotted Bass?

Absolutely can you eat spotted bass with most people saying that it’s actually one of the most delicious freshwater fish out there.

Spotted bass has a very mild flavor and doesn’t have much of a fishy taste, which is what a lot of people like.

The meat of the spotted bass also has quite a fur texture. Due to its very mild flavor, it works really well for many different recipes and it can be fried, grilled, pan-seared, baked, and more.

Related: Is it safe to eat Largemouth Bass?


The bottom line is that while both spotted and largemouth bass are from the same family, they do have a whole lot of differences that you need to be aware of.

While there are of course many differences between these two fish, they aren’t overly huge. When it comes to fishing for them, although you can use the same baits and lures, they should be smaller for spotted bass than largemouth, and keep in mind that the location where you fish will make a difference too.

Related: Largemouth VS Smallmouth Bass.

Jason Downs

I created Fishtackly to share my 30 years of fishing experience and knowledge with others with the aim to help, and hopefully get more people involved and educated in this fantastic hobby that I love.