A polymerase chain reaction (PCR) method was developed for largemouth bass virus (LMBV). This iridovirus can cause a lethal disease of largemouth bass Micropterus salmoides, but also subclinically infects largemouth bass and other species of fishes. Oligonucleotide primers were designed to specifically amplify the major capsid protein gene of LMBV. The protocol for sample processing and PCR provided a method that was more sensitive than cell culture for detection of LMBV in fish. The specific amplification of LMBV also provided an improved method for confirming the identity of cell-culture isolates presumptively identified as LMBV.