Summary: Thoughts on spotted bass
Spotted bass are a unique member of the black bass family and worthy of discussion
regarding their ecology and management. Spotted bass are found mainly in the
Southeast, but their native range extends as far west as Texas, northward into Iowa, and
easterly to West Virginia. The species has been introduced in western states such as
The spotted bass is currently recognized as a single species with three subspecies. The
two most common subspecies are the northern spotted bass (often referred to as the
Kentucky spotted bass) and the Alabama or "Coosa" spotted bass. The Alabama spotted
bass is native to the Coosa River drainage in Alabama and Georgia, and they have been
shown to be genetically different from the other black basses including the spotted bass.
In the future, Alabama spotted bass may be separated as a different species, but currently
there is only a single species of spotted bass recognized (Micropterus punctulatus).
The Coosa subspecies obtains a larger size than northern spotted bass, and anglers and
biologists in Alabama typically cite differences in their behavior. Alabama spotted bass
have a more aggressive feeding behavior and appear to take large lures typically suited
for largemouth bass, probably because of their larger body size.
The spotted bass life history is similar to other black basses; they spawn in the spring and
the male guards the nest. They can inhabit very deep water in winter and summer if
oxygen conditions allow it. They feed on fish and crayfish as adults, but tend to be