White bass

White bass


The white bass or sand bass (Morone chrysops) is a freshwater fish of the temperate bass family Moronidae. It is the state fish of Oklahoma. They are unrelated to the black basses, which are members of the sunfish family.

White bass are found in lakes and some large rivers throughout the United States. The species is somewhat similar in appearance to the white perch, though larger. Its back is dark, with white sides and belly, and with narrow darkish stripes running lengthwise on the sides. The average fish ranges from 10 to 16 inches in length, and usually weighs from 1 to 4 pounds, though larger ones are sometimes taken. The world record is 6 lbs. 13 ounces and was taken in Virginia. Conventional panfish tackle or fly fishing tackle is used in angling the white bass. The fish tend to move in schools and prefer to swim in clear water. A closely related fish, though much less common, is the Yellow bass which is found predominantly in the Mississippi River. Some anglers enjoy eating fresh white bass, others avoid it, as it can tend on occasion to have oily flesh.


White bass are carnivores. They eat insect larvae, crustaceans, and other fish. They are visual feeders. When not frightened, they will bite readily at live bait such as worms and minnows. They will also take many other live or artificial baits.


Most fish are between one and three pounds, but some weigh as much as six pounds. The life span of the white bass is between two and four years

Habit and habitats

white bass are native to the rivers in the western part of the state that flow to the Mississippi. However, they have been widely introduced into rivers that flow to the Atlantic Ocean, such as the Catawba and Yadkin rivers. 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. Schools of white bass often chase baitfish to the surface. This splashy commotion, often called “jumps,” provides great fishing to anglers who locate them. this time. White bass like clear, cool lakes at least 300 acres in size and with stretches of water at least 10 feet deep. They also inhabit ponds, reservoirs, streams and rivers with deep pools.


White bass have a strong homing tendency. They are known to find the home spawning ground even if moved in a different part of a lake. They like to spawn in moving water in a tributary stream, but they will spawn in windswept lake shores. They spawn during daylight. Females release 242,000 to 933,000 eggs which stick to the surface of objects. 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 spring, with white bass leaving deep wintering areas and moving up river or to the upper portions of a lake. These 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.

spring techniques

Sometimes a school of white bass will surface-feed on small shad during the day. Use the same techniques as for catching striped bass, but use smaller lures.

For this modestly sized fish, use ultra-light spinning gear and four-pound test line. Search for the bass in water from fifteen to forty feet deep, and cover the whole area by slowly trolling any silver spoon, spinner, crank bait or small plug close to the lake bottom. Use a slow stop-and-go retrieve, and consider adding a streamer fly on a foot-long trailer line behind the lure to imitate an injured bait fish.

In temporarily muddy or discoloured river water, white bass are attracted to the vibrating spinning lures. Tie a small spinner six or so inches above a hooked minnow, and cast to the other side of the current, keeping the lure spinning as it is retrieved.


  • Ellis, Jack (1993). The Sunfishes-A Fly Fishing Journey of Discovery. Bennington, VT: Abenaki Publishers, Inc..
  • Rice, F. Philip (1964). America's Favorite Fishing-A Complete Guide to Angling for Panfish. New York: Harper Row.
  • Rice, F. Philip (1984). Panfishing. New York: Stackpole Books.

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