White Bass Fish Identification, its habitats, characteristics, spawning, fishing methods.
White bass are a popular sport fish that can be caught in large number when they make their spring spawning migrations. They are social, can be found traveling in dense schools in areas of open water. Schools of white bass can be seen near the surface ravenously feeding during certain times of the day, while at other times schools are found at depths in excess of 30 feet. They are characterized by a spiny dorsal fin and horizontal stripes. They are spring, broadcast spawners, seldom exceed 1 pound in weight
A combination of understanding the fish and the techniques used to catch them will help you to hook more fish to the end of your line. Better knowing and understanding of the fish that you are trying to catch will make you a more successful angler, whether you are fishing for trout on a river or surfing on the beach or trolling on the open water.
The White Bass - Morone Chrysops, family Moronidae, also known as Sand Bass, Sandies, Barfish, Streaker and Silvers. White Bass are unrelated to the Black basses (members of the
Sunfish family). They have been widely introduced into rivers that flow in to the Atlantic Ocean, such as the Catawba and Yadkin rivers, river systems of the Mississippi and Ohio valleys and the Great Lakes. They are native from the St. Lawrence River in the East, to Lake Winnipeg in the North, and to the Rio Grande in the West.
White Bass is a medium-sized, streamlined fish with a moderately deep and compressed body. They have 2 separate dorsal fins, the first has 9 spines and the second has 1 spine and 13 rays. The anal fin has 11 - 13 rays and 3 spines, the second one is visibly shorter than 3-rd. White Bass have 20 to 25 gill rakers and its pectoral fins have 15 to 17 fin rays. They have small head with large mouth, the lower jaw projects beyond the upper jaw. Near the tip of the tongue, white bass have a noticeable tooth patch that lies in one fused or two barely separate areas of the tongue. They have 51 - 60 scales in the literal line. Its back is dark, steely blue to grayish, with white silvery sides and white belly, and it has silvery-white sides, marked by 6-10 longitudinal horizontal dark stripes, only one of which extends to the tail. Pectoral and pelvic fins are white to transparent, others are more dusky. The average fish ranges from 10 to 16 inches in length, and usually weighs from 1 to 4 pounds. White bass have one tooth patch on the back of the tongue. It has one sharp points on each gill cover, and the second spine on the anal fin about two-thirds the length of the third spine.
Habitat and Habits
White bass often travel in schools, chasing baitfish in the open waters of lakes and large rivers. As a result, they are rarely associated with cover, usually within 20 feet of the surface. They also inhabit ponds, reservoirs, streams and rivers with deep pools, sandy or gravel lake bottoms. Except during spawning, white bass stay on the move in a continual search for food, along shorelines in open water in lakes and some large rivers. They seem to enjoy the warm water around power plants; it is the most frequently caught warm-water sport fish in New Mexico. As schooling fish, white bass tend to gather in high numbers, avoiding more turbid waters. White bass inhabit large lakes and small to large rivers. They prefer water that is relatively clear, larger lakes bigger than 300 acres, extensive water acreage deeper than 10 feet, and gravelly shoals or rock- rubble reefs on which the fish can spawn.
Most feeding occurs during early morning or late evening hours. Larval white bass feed mostly on zooplankton. As development proceeds, juveniles begin feeding on macro-invertebrates, such as chironomid, mayfly, dragonfly larvae, damselfly larvae, bugs, amphipods, and crayfish. Adults begin feeding upon fish, fathead minnows, johnny darters, gizzard shad, threadfin shad, young sunfish, yellow perch, saugers, freshwater drum, carp, bullhead species, and others.
Spawning runs of white bass are starting in mid-February, when water temperatures reach about 14-20 degrees celsius, with males migrating to the spawning grounds first. They like to spawn in moving water in a tributary stream, but they will spawn in windswept lake shores when the preferred streams are not available. They spawn during daylight. Females release from to 200,000 to 900,000 of eggs into the water, and spawning occurs in midwater with several males attending one female. The submerged eggs are adhesive and sink, becoming attached to surface of objects on the bottom. Eggs hatch in about 2 days, and the larvae drift downstream. Growth is rapid, and most white bass in southern populations only live for about 4 years.
The parents move to deeper water and do not care for the young fish. The young fish live in shallow water for a while until they move to deeper water. They can also spawn with Yellow bass to create the yellow bass hybrid. Spawning occurs in the late spring, when the fish often congregate in large numbers below dams and other obstructions such as riffles to spawn. White bass are active feeders during the spawn and can be caught in great numbers at this time. They find their home spawning ground even if it's moved to a different part of the same lake.
Fishing Methods include fly-fishing, spin-casting, still fishing using a bait fish like minnows or killifish, nightcrawlers. Try jigs and flashy spinner-jig combinations: white, yellow, silver, or chartreuse, with reflective tape on the spoons and polished spinners. Any small lure that looks like a shad will catch white bass when a school is located. Live shad is good, all-around bait. Also try crankbait spoons, minnow imitation plugs, jigging spoons, and propellered surface lures. Topwater plugs that sputter are good to use when white bass feeding is in full force. In spring, shore fishing for white bass can be fantastic; fish have a big appetite, strike eagerly at lures once waters warm. Bottom fishing at night with live bait may also make great success.
Best time for fishing bass usually in late afternoon or early morning, especially in late summer and early fall, and daytime from late fall through early spring; late evening through first light in summer. White bass that are near structure (submerged trees, formations) more active -- and willing to bite -- than fish that are suspended in mid-depths. Use jigs or crankbaits in spring and summer, baitfish in fall. To catch white bass, use medium-to ultra-light spinning tackle on a 5- to 6-foot rod. Six pound test line works best.
Watch where gulls or other fish-eating birds at a reservoir are feeding on small fish, there will be schools of white bass as well. In reservoirs, look for riprap on shorelines, rocky points, just off islands, sudden drop-offs, old river channels or sand bars. In rivers, check out places where streams enter, bridge pilings disrupts current flow, above wing dams, or downstream from a lock and dam.
White bass are excellent fighters, and are considered excellent table fare. White bass is an excellent eating fish, with firm white flesh that is appealing fresh or smoked.