Tracking River Smallmouth

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Published on: Apr. 15, 2013

assess the importance of springs in regulating water temperatures in the river and determine the importance of springs as refuges for fishes that require cooler temperatures,” says Dodd.

Combined Findings

Although these studies are different, their combined results will give biologists a better picture of smallmouth habits and management needs.

Findings from all three studies are interesting. From the temperature data, the group learned that each spring has a relatively constant temperature throughout the year, but not all springs have the same average temperature. From the radio telemetry studies, they found that the timing of movement from Big Spring into the river was influenced by temperature. Smallmouth bass inhabited the warmer water of Big Spring in late winter, and moved into the river once river temperatures warmed to similar temperatures of the spring. By late fall, when river temperatures cooled below that of Big Spring, fish began returning.

This is just a sampling of the data from these studies. For more interesting facts, see the sidebar Smallmouth Bass Study Findings (to the right). For more information about these studies, contact your regional Department of Conservation office. Also, be sure to check out our Smallmouth Bass Fishing page at for great tips and tricks and fishing locations.

Fun Facts

  • Small Fin: The smallmouth bass was given the scientific name Micropterus dolomieu by the French naturalist Count Bernard Germain Etienne De La Ville Lacepede. Micropterus is Latin for “small fin.” The second name, dolomieu, was after M. Dolomieu, a French mineralogist for whom dolomite, a rock type, is also named.
  • Nicknames: Smallmouth have a number of local names. They include: brown bass, brownie, bronze back, green trout, jumper, Oswego bass, redeye bass, river bass, and smallie.
  • The Unbass: The smallmouth bass is actually a member of the sunfish family (one of the largest freshwater sport fish families). Smallmouth are also grouped with the largemouth and spotted (Kentucky) bass, which are collectively known as black bass.
  • Cool Fish: Smallmouth bass shun waters with temperatures that commonly exceed the mid-80s. Temperatures over 90 degrees can be lethal. Smallmouth bass also need a great amount of dissolved oxygen. A dependable stream flow, streamside shade and a modest current are also important to riverine smallmouth bass.
  • Spring Spawn Hazards: Research on smallmouth bass has shown no relationship between the number of spawning fish and the success of the spawn. The strength of the

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