Game Fishing > Bass Family, Serranidae > White-bass


White-bassThe white-bass was first described by Rafinesque in 1820 from the falls of the Ohio River, near Louisville, Kentucky. He named it chrysops, or "gold eye," owing to the golden hue of the iris. It is known also as white lake-bass and fresh-water striped-bass. It is abundant in Lake Erie, Lake Michigan, and upper Mississippi River, especially in Lake Pepin, and in Lake Winnebago, Wisconsin. It was formerly not uncommon in the Ohio River, but is now rare. Its body is compressed and rather deep, with the back arched; its head is rather small, but the mouth is large, with the lower jaw protruding; the eye is large; teeth brushlike, without canines.

The color is silvery white, greenish above, golden below, with six or more narrow dusky lines along the body, most conspicuous above the lateral line; those below broken, or not continuous. The white-bass is found in water of moderate depth, preferring those that are clear and cool, as it does not resort to weedy situations. It is essentially a lake fish, except in spring, when it undergoes a semi-migration, entering the tributaries of lakes in large schools. It spawns usually in May. It feeds on small fishes, crawfish, in­sects, and their larvae, etc.

Its usual size is a pound or a little less, but occasionally it grows to three pounds. It is a food-fish of much excellence, its flesh firm, white, flaky, and of good flavor.

It is one of the best fresh-water game-fishes, being a bold biter, and on light and suitable tackle affords much sport to the appreciative angler. For fly-fishing, the best season is during the spring, when it enters the tributary streams of lakes. At this time the fly-fisher will be successful at any hour of the day. He may fish from the bank or from an anchored boat, the latter plan being the best.

As the fish are swimming in schools, either headed up or down stream, no particular place need be selected, though off the points at the edge of the channel, or in the narrowest portions of the streams, are perhaps the best. In the summer and fall the fish are in the lakes or deeper water, when the fishing will be more successful during the late afternoon hours until sundown, and the angler may be guided by the conditions followed in black-bass fly-fishing, as mentioned before.

A trout fly-rod of six or seven ounces, with the usual trout click reel and corresponding tackle, will subserve a good purpose. When the fish are running in the streams the most useful flies are gray drake, green drake, stone fly, brown hackle, gray hackle, Henshall, and Montreal, of the usual trout patterns, on hooks number 5 to 7.

For bait-fishing, a light black-bass or trout rod, with multiplying reel, braided silk line of the smallest caliber, a leader of small gut three feet long, and hooks number 3 or 4 tied on gut snells, will answer well. The best and in fact the only bait that can be successfully used is a small minnow, hooked through the lips. The fishing is done from an anchored boat on lakes or the deep pools of streams, either by casting or still-fishing.