Adult smallmouth bass live in shallow rocky areas of lakes and in the clear and gravel bottom runs and flowing pools of rivers. They also live in cool flowing streams and reservoirs fed by these types of streams.
Young smallmouth bass feed on plankton and immature aquatic insects. Smallmouth bass are also known to be cannibalistic. Adult smallmouth bass may feed on crayfish, fish and aquatic and terrestrial insects.
The smallmouth bass is found in clearer water than the largemouth, especially streams, rivers, and the rocky areas and stumps and also sandy bottoms of lakes and reservoirs. It can also survive in a stronger current than other bass and prefers cooler water temperatures. Because it is intolerant of pollution, the smallmouth bass is a good natural indicator of a healthy environment. A smallmouth bass’s diet comprises crayfish, amphibians, insects, and smaller fish, while the larvae feed on various zooplankton and insect larvae. Adults have also been known to eat other smallmouth bass!
When the weather gets colder, and the water temperature drops below 15 C (60 F), smallmouth will often migrate in search of deeper pools in which they enter a semi-hibernation state, moving sluggishly and feeding very little until the warm season returns.