Freshwater Fisheries Conservation Lab

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Size Comparison of Smallmouth vs Largemouth in Eastern Lake Ontario & St Lawrence River

Size Comparison of Smallmouth vs Largemouth in Eastern Lake Ontario & St Lawrence River

In recent years, Smallmouth Bass have been the predominant species in winning bags in bass tournaments held around the Eastern Basin of Lake Ontario and St Lawrence River. Although most anglers fishing this area have some understanding that it is easier to catch big bags of Smallmouth, we thought it would be interesting to look at this in some of the scientific data on this issue that we have been collecting at tournaments in the region. The attached graphs show the weight distribution for both species, based on data that we have collected from over 2000 individuals of each species weighed in at tournaments over the past 3 years. Interestingly, the data show that the average Smallmouth weighed in is 0.7 lbs heavier than the average Largemouth. The graphs also show that anglers have a much greater chance of finding 5 lb or over Smallmouth, while this would be much more difficult for Largemouth. This data makes it even more impressive that some anglers can pull off a big bag of Largemouth (and we know some!)

Here are some interesting probabilities for tournament anglers…

If you can catch 20 tournament-sized Smallmouth in a day, your likelihood of weighing in 20 lbs or over is 96%. In contrast, the likelihood of weighing in 20 lbs of Largemouth when you catch 20 fish is less than 1%. We certainly understand that there are many caveats to these calculations (this is all random for this purpose), but it does provide some fun and interesting food for thought.

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