Rock Bass are not a very large fish and do not fight much.


Rock Bass look like a cross between a bluegill and a black bass, though the rock bass is more stalky in appearance: more like an overweight sunfish without the colours. The rock bass is a true sunfish, a member of the Centrarchidae family. It has a bluish black blotch on the tip of the gill covers and six spines in front of the anal fin distinguish the fish from the warmouth (Lepomis gulosus).

It also has a very close resemblance to the Roanoke Bass, which has a limited distribution to Virginia in the Roanoke, Tar, Neuse and Chowan river catchments. In fact, the Roanoke Bass and the Rock Bass have been found to cross breed.


Rock Bass have large mouths, narrow rounded deep heads, large eyes and two connected dorsal fins. It has an olive brown or bronze bodies are sometimes tinged dark green and are covered with back spotted scales or faint dark vertical markings reminiscent of the yellow perch’s striped body. From the top, they appear to blend in very well with the lake bed.

With a slightly more elongated body than that of the pumpkinseed or bluegill, the main identifying characteristic of the Rock Bass is its very large red to eyes, though they sometimes resemble a more orange hue and can easily be viewed from above.

It’s belly is silvery to dusky white with scales below the lateral line having a dark brown spot which line up to form several horizontal rows. Rapid colour changes from predominantly black to silver, with black blotches not that unusual.


Rock Bass are not a very large fish and do not fight much. They tend to average between half a pound up to one pound in most lake settings. However, the record rock bass is 3.74 pounds/1.7 kilograms and 17 inches/43 cm long. In the many years of fishing, we at have never seen a rock bass larger than 1.5 pounds.

Rock bass rarely exceed 12 inches/30 cm in length and most weigh between one-half pound and a pound. The record rock bass on record is 3.74 pounds/1.7 kilograms, reaching a length of 17 inches /43 cm from nose to tail. There size varies depending on their habitat and abundance of food.

Those rock base that live in streams rarely get larger than half a pound whereas the ones living in large lakes can easily reach two pounds. Shallow lakes like Lake Simcoe in Ontario have been known to produce several rock Bass in the one to 1.5 pound/700 grams range. when i was younger, i used to fish off the dock in Roches Point and caght several that were between 1.5 and 1.75 pounds, but it is importsnt to nite that this area had not been touched for over 10 to 15 years so there area had not been foshed much. The perch were also very large.

Many information sources wrongly state the size and length of the rock bass. This information is often based on the locale in which they are caught and being smaller lakes and rivers the information may be true but fail to take into account the scope of their distribution.

Their life expectancy is also a factor of their environment, though it is widely understood that they average about 11 years, with 18 years being the maximum that was observed in captivity.