Largemouth Bass – Good or Bad

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Lake Mead LargemouthAre largemouth bass a good fish or a bad fish? Depending on which lake or pond you are visiting this can be a very difficult question. In Nevada, anglers consider largemouth bass to be one of the most desired game fish, but in special ponds like those at the Ash Meadows National Wildlife Refuge largemouth bass are an unwanted invasive species.

Largemouth bass are a predator that eats other, and often smaller, fish. In the case of small pupfish native to the ponds of Ash Meadows, bass have created quite a problem for state and federal fisheries biologists because they eat the pupfish.

To help alleviate this problem, the Nevada Department of Wildlife fisheries biologists removed 21 bass from Ash Meadows and released them in Tule Pond at Floyd Lamb Park in northwest Las Vegas. The bass ranged from one to four pounds in size and were joined on the moving adventure by one 9-inch green sunfish.

Unbeknownst to many anglers who visit Floyd Lamb Park, there is a healthy population of largemouth bass that freely reproduce in the park’s ponds. There are also three species of sunfish. They can be found in all four ponds and make up the majority of the fish populations. The best known of these sunfish is the bluegill, a great fish for introducing children to the sport of fishing.

In 1992, Joe Burgess reeled in a 2-pound, 2-ounce green sunfish from Tule Pond and set the state record for that species, a record that still stands. Pound for pound, the green sunfish will give anglers a good fight.

The last of the three sunfish species is the redeared sunfish. It is not seen as often as the others but is one of the prettiest of the sunfish species. It can be identified by the distinctive red marking around its spot on the gills.

In addition to bass and sunfish, anglers also can catch stocked rainbow trout and catfish. For more information on fish species and fishing in Nevada waters, visit the NDOW website at or call (702) 486-5127.

The Nevada Department of Wildlife (NDOW) protects, restores and manages fish and wildlife, promotes fishing, hunting, and boating safety. NDOW’s wildlife and habitat conservation efforts are primarily funded by sportsmen’s license and conservation fees and a federal surcharge on hunting and fishing gear. Support wildlife and habitat conservation in Nevada by purchasing a hunting, fishing, or combination license. For more information, visit