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What is a Yellow Bass?

Alex Tree
Alex Tree

A yellow bass is a relatively small fish that is native to the Mississippi River in the United States. Its scientific name is Morone mississippiensis, which refers to its origin, and its common name is derived from the typical yellow tint of its belly. This freshwater fish can mate with other bass and is often confused with them too due to their similar appearances. Their diet usually includes smaller fish, but they will also consume insects when given the chance. Unlike other species of bass, yellow bass travel in schools, meaning they swim about in groups.

This fish is very similar in appearance to other bass; it is the same shape, and it is also striped. The keen observer will notice several differences, however. For example, the bottommost stripes of the fish are always broken. Yellow bass also tend to have a yellow belly, but this is not always the case. Normally, this type of bass is about 6 to 12 inches (15 to 30 cm) long and weighs anywhere from 4 ounces to 2 pounds (113 grams to 0.9 kg). It is capable of living up to seven years if healthy and not caught by local fishermen.

Earthworms can be used as bait to catch yellow bass.
Earthworms can be used as bait to catch yellow bass.

Yellow bass were originally found in the Mississippi River; hence its scientific name. It has since been introduced to other bodies of fresh water in the United States. In general, though, the fish are located in the middle-eastern and southern regions of the country. It is especially abundant in southern regions, such as Texas and Alabama. Oklahoma, Minnesota, and Arizona also have populations of yellow fish, but they are generally considered vulnerable or even exotic.

Yellow bass meat is a favorite among some Americans.
Yellow bass meat is a favorite among some Americans.

Normally, the yellow bass mating season begins in March and ends when the water starts to warm in May. Yellow fish prefer to lay their eggs in rocky places in freshwater. Once the eggs are fertilized, they drop from the female fish and stick to the gravel below before hatching less than one week later. Occasionally, yellow bass mate with white bass, and hybrid fish are born.

The firm flaky texture of cooked yellow bass meat is a favorite among some Americans, so catching this fish is sometimes a hobby. Minnows and earthworms are some forms of live bait known to attract this fish. When using fake bait, spinners, jugs, and spoons are typically used. Yellow fish are normally caught for food or fun, but rarely as trophy fish due to their small size.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is a Yellow Bass?

A Yellow Bass is a freshwater fish native to the Mississippi River basin and commonly found in the central United States. It's a member of the Moronidae family, characterized by its yellowish body with dark horizontal stripes, and it typically inhabits waters with abundant vegetation or submerged structures.

How can you identify a Yellow Bass?

To identify a Yellow Bass, look for its distinctive body markings: six to seven horizontal stripes along its sides, a yellowish-green to brass-colored back, and a silver-white belly. It also has a triangular anal fin and a white tip on the pelvic fins, which are key features distinguishing it from similar species.

What does the Yellow Bass eat?

The Yellow Bass has a varied diet that includes smaller fish, crustaceans, and insects. According to studies on fish feeding habits, Yellow Bass are opportunistic feeders, meaning they will consume readily available prey in their environment, adapting their diet to the seasonal availability of food sources.

Where can you find Yellow Bass?

Yellow Bass are primarily found in the central United States, especially in the Mississippi River basin. They inhabit lakes, reservoirs, and rivers, preferring areas with clear water and abundant cover like submerged logs or vegetation where they can ambush prey and avoid predators.

What is the typical size of a Yellow Bass?

The typical size of a Yellow Bass ranges from 6 to 14 inches in length, with an average weight of around 1 to 2 pounds. However, the largest recorded Yellow Bass, according to state fish records, weighed over 2 pounds, showcasing that they can grow significantly larger under optimal conditions.

Is the Yellow Bass a popular game fish?

Yes, the Yellow Bass is considered a popular game fish among anglers, particularly in the regions where it is native. Its aggressive nature and tendency to school make it an exciting catch. While not as sought after as its relative, the Largemouth Bass, it still provides a spirited fight and is valued for its flaky, mild-tasting flesh.

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    • Earthworms can be used as bait to catch yellow bass.
      By: Dusty Cline
      Earthworms can be used as bait to catch yellow bass.
    • Yellow bass meat is a favorite among some Americans.
      By: bonniemarie
      Yellow bass meat is a favorite among some Americans.