Do Largemouth Bass Live in Brackish Water


A coastal river flowing into the sea will create an estuary, a place where fresh and saltwater mix together, and this mixture is called brackish water. Some species of salt and freshwater fish can take advantage of this hasher type of environment to inhabit and even thrive. Do Largemouth Bass Live in Brackish Water?

Yes-Largemouth Bass are found in all waters from fresh to brackish (a mix of fresh & saltwater) H2O that is tidal slow-moving rivers creeks, or streams. Largemouth, Striper & Channel Catfish like other Brackish fish species have a higher tolerance level of salinity & adapt to it where others can’t.

The word Brackish comes from the Middle Dutch root “brak,” meaning “salted” or “salty” Certain human activities can produce brackish water, in particular, certain civil engineerings projects such as cooling water for Power facilities, dikes, and flooding of coastal marshland, because brackish water is hostile to some fish and the growth of most terrestrial plant species, without appropriate management it can be damaging to the environment.

Do Largemouth Bass Live in Brackish Water

 

In many of our coastal states, there are rivers and estuary systems where freshwater flows into saltwater and creates a brackish water environment (a mixture of fresh and saltwater). The advantage of fishing in brackish water is that you have an opportunity to catch a variety of saltwater and freshwater game fish species in the same area.

Brackish fish species have a higher tolerance for varying levels of water salinity. Examples of brackish water fish include species such as snook, tarpon, red drum, sheepshead, largemouth bass, channel catfish, peacock bass, and striped bass.

When it comes to diversity, Fish can do some amazing things. One of those is to live and adapt to many different environments from the cold of the deep frigid North Atlantic to the shallows of the Caribbean where temperatures can be warm.

Largemouth bass are found in all waters from freshwater to brackish (a mix of fresh and saltwater) waters. They like large, slow-moving rivers or streams with soft bottoms.
They especially like clear water. Immature largemouth bass may tend to congregate in schools, but adults are usually solitary. Sometimes several basses will gather in a very small area, but they do not interact.
 Largemouth bass seek protective cover such as logs, rock ledges, vegetation, and man-made structures. They prefer clear quiet water but will survive quite well in a variety of habitats.

Some fish can adapt to water that is so deep there’s no sunlight. But fish can also live in brackish waters of different salinity content or amounts of salt. Some fish, like catfish, largemouth bass, and bluegills, live in freshwater. This is water with a salinity of fewer than 0.5 parts per thousand (ppt), meaning there is less than 1 part salt per 1000 gallons. 

Bass fishermen have long recognized some differences between fishing largemouth bass from low-salinity marshes and those from purely freshwater habitats. Although some changes have occurred in recent years, brackish marsh bass are usually considered to be more plentiful, but smaller than freshwater bass.

Also, bass anglers frequently described them as having a more stocky body build or being “chunkier” than another bass. From these differences, the question often arises as to whether marsh bass are genetically different or whether the differences are due to habitat.

Largemouth bass inhabits clear, vegetated lakes, ponds, swamps, and the backwaters of pools, creeks, and rivers. Largemouth bass prefer spawning areas with a bottom of sand, mud, or gravel.

Adult largemouth bass use submerged aquatic vegetation as cover to ambush prey and juvenile or young largemouth use aquatic weeds, tree limbs, or submerged logs or stumps as cover to escape predation. Dissolved oxygen is also an important hydrological condition essential to largemouth bass habitat. Largemouth bass grows best in temperate to subtropical waters, with northern fish taking many more years to reach a given size than fish living in warmer southern waters.

What is the Salinity of Brackish Water

 

Fishing brackish water is a broad term used to describe water whose salinity is between that of fresh and marine water, and these are often transitional areas where such waters mix. An estuary, which is part of a river that meets the sea, is the best-known example of brackish water. Estuaries are highly variable environments because the salinity can change drastically over a relatively short distance,

Brackish water is water with salinity levels between fresh water and seawater. Salinity refers to the concentration of dissolved salts in a body of water, so brackish water is saltier than freshwater but less salty than seawater. Brackish water has a salt concentration of 1,000 – 10,000 parts per million (PPM).

Brackish water contains 0.5 to 30 parts per thousand salinity. Technically, brackish water contains between 0.5 and 30 grams of salt per liter—more often expressed as 0.5 to 30 parts per thousand (‰), which is a specific gravity of between 1.0004 and 1.0226.

In Freshwater, there is little or no salt the ocean carries about 35 parts per thousand (ppt) which equates to about 3.5%  This means that for every 1 liter (1000 mL) of seawater, there are 35 grams of salts (mostly, but not entirely, sodium chloride) dissolved in it. Anything in between that is not considered seawater which is 0.5% and considered ocean or seawater which is 3.5% is called Brackish water.

Fish that live in Saltwater or Freshwater get accustomed to living where they inhabit a constant level of salinity and that doesn’t change. The fish and wildlife that live in a Brackishwater environment live with the variable in salinity and have to be able to adapt. In coastal areas, there are creeks and rivers where fresh and saltwater mix with tides and currents throughout the day.

This changes salinity levels and the variables that fish and aquatic life here have to deal with every day. The kinds of fish that can adapt to this harsh condition make their home here. The advantage of fishing in Brackish water is that you have the advantage of catching salt or freshwater species.

Brackish fish species have a higher tolerance for varying levels of water salinity. Examples of brackish water fish include species such as snook, tarpon, red drum, sheepshead, largemouth bass, channel catfish, peacock bass, and striped bass. Bass can live in freshwater/brackish environments

The largemouth bass is found in all waters from freshwater to brackish (a mix of fresh and saltwater) waters. They like large, slow-moving rivers or streams with soft bottoms.
They especially like clear water.
Immature largemouth bass may tend to congregate in schools, but adults are usually solitary. Sometimes several basses will gather in a very small area, but they do not interact. Largemouth bass seek protective covers such as logs, rock ledges, vegetation, and man-made structures. They prefer clear quiet water but will survive quite well in a variety of habitats.

What Fish Live in Brackish Water

 

Having lived in Bayside in New Jersey, fishing the Mullica River that empties into the Little Egg Harbor Bay was a weekly occurrence. I was catching Flounder and Bull Shark in the creeks and inlet where they emptied into the Bay but we were looking for Striper Bass.

It was not uncommon when fishing, to catch Ocean fish out of the Brackish canal fishing near the Bay. They were loaded with crab and baitfish like Spot and Snapper Bluefish all these types of fish run down here close to the Jersey Shore area.

There are plenty of Ocean dwellers that were using the tide in the river to bring them their dinner every night so there was great fishing here in this area at the mouth where salt water and fresh water mixed with the ocean always winning pushing back up the creeks and bogs filling them up with crabs and baitfish. Some of the Saltwater fish that can end up in the Brackish marshes are:

  • Atlantic croaker
  • Bay anchovy
  • Black drum
  • Bluefish
  • Bull sharks
  • Flounders
  • Gars
  • Jumping mullet
  • Ladyfish
  • Red Drum
  • Tarpon

 

Estuary waters generally have brackish shallow bodies of water which are exposed to sunlight throughout. Because of their optimum conditions for habitation, estuaries often function as the first homes for various types of aquatic lifeforms before they leave for the ocean.

Fishing bass in the hospitable conditions of estuaries allows for a diverse range of organisms to live within the estuary, such as algae, marsh grasses, brackish fish, crabs, shrimp, and oysters.

A lot of these types of environments are very harsh for living in even for insects and organisms. But they have one thing in common with other fish and aquatic life in that they are able to adapt to salinity in the water. There is also the other side of the coin wherein some Estuaries where freshwater rivers empty into the sea, some species of plants can tolerate brackish water, but many cannot.

When brackish water is introduced to an area that originally contained freshwater, usually as a result of human activity, many species of plants can be killed. This is a major concern in the wetlands of Southern Louisiana. There are also lakes and seas which are naturally made of brackish water around the country.

In some locations, the freshwater that turned Brackish will start to flourish with aquatic life that is able to adapt and maintain a successful existence in this harsh environment.

Fish any spot lake or river whether it’s near your home or on vacation and any fish in the Salt, Fresh, or Brackish waters near any city or near any coastline. Go fishing for any species.  Takemefishing.org

 

How do you catch largemouth & smallmouth bass in the Fall?

You can Catch bass in the Fall if you:

  • Understand the fall season transition period
  • Identify baitfish & use a similar bait
  • Look for grass that’s still green
  • Cast baits on top of grass flats
  • Find offshore structures/covers
  • Find pockets
  • Find cutouts on shorelines
  • Use the right lure & location for temperature ……………………………………………………………………………….. Read more

 

Baits & Lure to Use for Bass Fishing In Brackish Water

 

Most fishermen agree that live shrimp is a live bait of choice for bass living in Brackish water. Shrimp and finger mullet fish are two natural baits that generally work well when fishing in brackish areas. If you prefer using artificial baits or lures, you can try spoons, bucktail jigs, and topwater poppers.

Fishing worms crankbaits  Spinnerbait for Largemouth bass- when bass fishing, using a  Spinnerbait can appeal to the predatory instinct of that fish Largemouth Bass that are on their lonesome hunting the brown water further up the creek.

Fishing spinnerbaits are a good lure for fishing bass around shallow Brackish marshes and bogs that are filled with stumps, grass, bulkheads, and boat docks. The most common technique of fishing bass is to use a spinner bait to retrieve it from within a few inches on the top of the water to a couple of feet underneath the surface.

Even fishing when the brown murky water is impossible to see into a Largemouth Bass will hit a Spinnerbait the same way they hit one on a small lake from the side and by surprise. Most anglers agree that Largemouth bass, work the lure as soon as it hits the water.

Large and Smallmouth Bass feed on minnows, sunfish, gizzard shad, insects, frogs, and occasionally snakes. Just like Bluefish which are also a top predator in their kingdom largemouth Bass will feed on smaller younger Bass if they so desire and are hungry enough.

Use a stiffer medium-type shorter freshwater rod & bait caster reel fishing in this water environment for shorter casts. Move and cast and Cast!

 

Where does Bass Go in the Spring?

In early spring, bass begin moving from deeper areas where they spent winter toward rapidly warming shallow water where the water warms up faster but because spring is unpredictable, water temperature in the shallows fluctuate ………………………………………………….. Read more

Largemouth Bass Behavior

 

Some Fishermen say in Brackish water they have the best luck fishing bass on outgoing tides fishing near a structure and with the tidal flow.  Folks try to fish with the tide movement as much as they can whether the tide is coming in or out. In warmer months and lower rainfall months, the salt intrusion can be stronger so freshwater species like Largemouth bass will tend to move further up the creeks toward freshwater.

With draught months, lower rainfall, and low tide the Bass do congregate together farther up the tidal creeks and this sometimes puts them all together. What is pretty surprising is how tolerant a Largemouth Bass can tolerate. That is why you’ll see Striper Croaker and Largemouth bass caught along the same area.

Another way for an angler to fish for a Largemouth bass is to taste the water for salt content. You can get an idea of where they might be by sampling the salinity along the creek. If you do this enough then you will get an idea of where to start.

So it’s common sense that tells you that although Bass will hang in cover in saltier water they will also move further inland to find fresher water. When you’re done for the day make sure you clean your tackle and equipment after you are done fishing.

Take sampling one step further with a scientific approach instead of tasting the water-Test it for Salinity with an  Atago 3810 PAL-1 Digital Hand-Held Pocket Refractometer, 0.0 – 53.0% Brix Measurement Range

You can decipher exactly what type of Brackishwater and what % salinity your fish are comfortable in the area where you are fishing. Largemouth bass have a tolerant range in pH & salt content that they will use as a habitat. Information that you can use right from your tackle box.

Freshwater lures, especially the eyes, will rust quickly when used in brackish water. Clean and rinse your rod and reel with some dishwashing liquid and rinse it off well. A lot of times Largemouth bass will hold off on the side of moving creek water hiding in the cover of logs and down trees and snag baitfish moving with the current as they go by.

 

Conclusion:

A coastal river flowing into the sea will create an estuary, a place where fresh and saltwater mix together, and this mixture is called brackish water. Some species of salt and freshwater fish can take advantage of this hasher type of environment to inhabit and even thrive.

Largemouth Bass are found in all waters from fresh to even brackish (a mix of fresh & saltwater) H2O that is tidal slow-moving rivers creeks, or streams. Largemouth, Striper & Channel Catfish like other Brackish fish species have a higher tolerance level of salinity & adapt to it where others can’t. Bass will hang in cover in saltier water they will also move further inland to find fresher water.

Brackish fish species have a higher tolerance for varying levels of water salinity. Examples of brackish water fish include species such as snook, tarpon, red drum, sheepshead, largemouth bass, channel catfish, peacock bass, and striped bass. Bass can live in freshwater/brackish environments

 

What are Largemouth Bass Habitat Requirements?

Ideal largemouth Bass habitat is one with:

  • Slow to non-flowing water
  • Clear H2O
  • Water temperature-65° to 90°F,
  • Oxygen content-8-9ppm
  • Vegetation-provides a place for food and cover if necessary
  • Soft, shallow substrates
  • Food available
  • Found in rivers, lakes & ponds, though lakes provide the preferred habitat .……………………………………………………………….. Read more

 

JimGalloway Author/Editor

 

 

References: Angler- Largemouth Bass in Brackish Water

Bass Resources- Tips For Brackish Water Bass Fishing?

 

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