How fast can a largemouth bass grow? This can vary greatly depending on a variety of factors that we discussed in our last blog. Those factors include forage, age/sex of fish, growing season, and genetics. But most sources will state that largemouth bass growth rates are somewhere between 0.5 and 1.5 lbs per year. Bass in overcrowded ponds with limited forage may grow very little or won’t grow at all.

Below we’ll share some examples of incredible bass growth rates that we’ve noted in the last year. These were all fish that we stocked and have managed over the last few years. Our management practices with these fish include population surveys to maintain a balance between predators and prey. Our goal is always to decrease competition for prey while increasing prey availability.

Bass Growth by Weight

Average Bass Growth Rates

Looking at the graph above, which comes from the Mississippi State University Extension Service, we can see that largemouth bass will put on the most weight in years 3-6. Based on the information in this figure, there isn’t a significant amount of weight gain in the first three years. But after year three, the grow rate shows some exponential behavior until age 7 where it begins to flatten somewhat.

The distance between the data points helps illuminate just how much the bass is growing from year to year. From year 3 to 4 and year 4 to 5, these bass were growing 2 or more pounds per year. But as they approach age 8 or 9, they’re only gaining a pound or so each year. This data confirms what we usually see with bass growth in the ponds we manage, especially in the 3-6 year range. However, we have been able to get bass to that 2 lb mark in a shorter amount of time than this figure suggests. Below we’ll share some examples.

Incredible Bass Growth Rates

Incredible Bass Growth Rates

The photo above (turned sideways to fit in the frame) shows a largemouth bass that was collected on an electrofishing population survey in February 2024. These largemouth bass were stocked in this pond in May 2023 as 2-3″ fish. That means in just 9 months, these fish went from 2-3″ fish to nearly 2 lb bass.

As mentioned earlier, this data conflicts with the above graph from Mississippi State University. We were able to get these bass to the 2 lb mark much sooner than 2-3 years. We do know these Titan bass have incredible genetics because we’ve seen these kind of growth rates very often with these fish. But this one amazed us!

In addition to quality genetics, this also shows the importance of have adequate forage for growing fish. We are firm believers in feed-training small, fingerling bass to help them put on significant amounts of weight in the early months of their lives. This helps them get to size much faster so they can start feeding on bluegill and other prey in the pond.

Incredible Bass Growth Rates

More Fast-Growing Largemouth Bass

The photo above shows a four year old fish that was stocked as a 1″ fingerling in 2019. We found several like this when we surveyed this pond in early 2024. This is what we call a trophy bass!

This fish weighed 9.94 lbs, which means that we’re seeing an average growth rate on these of 2.5 lbs a year. If we reference the graph above again, we can see that ideally it takes 8-9 years for a largemouth bass to reach 10 lbs. But in this case we were able to do it in 4-5 years.

This reiterates the importance of forage when trying to grow trophy bass. This local farm pond is loaded with bluegill. As a result, the bass are as healthy as they can be and showing some incredible growth rates. Not every pond has the forage that these ponds have, but we wanted to show you what is possible when prey is available and competition for prey is reduced — bass growth can be maximized!

Let Up Help You Grow Trophy Bass!

If you’re having issues growing trophy bass in your pond or lake, complete this form and we’ll contact you to schedule a time to meet. We’ll perform a comprehensive population survey of predators and prey. We’ll then compile that data and make recommendations going forward. We look forward to turning your pond into a productive fishery for years to come!