Smallmouth Bass Fry

Smallmouth Bass Fry

Tiny fishes. Late spring in the Rockies is a great time to get out and see the Smallmouth Bass spawn. These rugged fish line the shallows with nests that hatch in days, and fry shortly after.

Stages of Spawn

Egg Laying

Underwater, we noticed the females swimming slightly upright and hanging around nesting sites.  Some were more aggressive, flaring up and showing their disapproval of entering into their chosen area.  Others hung by, following and watching us glide by without much worry.

Male & Female Take Part

After doing some research, females can actually spawn several times throughout their season.  They can hold on to eggs and release on some at a time.  Once the eggs are delivered, the males will actually hang around and watch over the newly hatched eggs.

Clear, Finless Floating Fish

Eggs will form into a tiny finless fish-shaped clear fry, with no ability to swim as the fins haven't formed yet.  The fry feed on a tiny oil drop left in the egg sac until they grow.  The father will wrangle the fry until they develop further.

Small Mouth Bass Fry

Dark Fry

After a period of time, the clear fish start to turn darker. Fins grow and the fish stay near the nests.  Eventually they grow large enough to fend for themselves and will move out of the area.  The larger fry will turn their greenish color and maintain a black vertical stripe at the end of their tail.

End of July

Diving now, we're seeing more of the vertical striped fished and very few larger fish.  As the temperatures rise, the fish go deeper where the water is less turbid and more food is available. 

What a great year to experience the stages of life of Smallmouth Bass in our local lakes!