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White bass

White Bass

Illustration by Joseph R. Tomelleri ©

Morone chrysops - scientific name


Knowing the differences between white bass versus white perch can be tough. Check out this White Bass versus White Perch Fish Identification tool to help!

(Native Fish) Two dorsal fins separated into higher spiny and lower soft-rayed portion, nine spines in first dorsal fin, longitudinal bars along its sides, and the lower jaw projects beyond out than the upper jaw. The white bass is a freshwater member of the temperate bass family, or Moronidae, a small family of fish that includes five additional species: European seabass, spotted seabass, white perch, yellow bass and striped bass. 


White bass can be found in many of the Great Lakes (except Lake Superior) as well as in some inland lakes. This species plays a large role in the fisheries of Lake Erie and the St. Clair-Detroit River System.

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The best time to catch white bass is as they migrate through tributary streams to spawn which occurs from May until early June depending on how long winter persists. They will hit anything flashy, such as spoons, spinners, and minnows. Night fishing from June to Mid-September can also be very effective when using floating or submerged lights using flashy spoons or spinners.


Most feeding occurs during early morning or late evening hours, and can be quite a spectacular sight. Angers have witnessed larger compact schools of white bass driving smaller prey fish to the surface, where the victim leap about in a vain attempt to avoid capture.  The young grow rapidly on a diet of insects and insect larva, crustaceans, and small fish. As they grow they depend on a fish diet, mainly consisting of minnow species. 

Life history:

Male white bass remain near spawning locations for much of the duration of the spawning season while female white bass enter onto the shoals from deeper water, release eggs and then return to deeper water. Spawning activity occurs in the spring, beginning as water temperatures approach 60° Fahrenheit and can continue for several weeks. During a spawning event the female will release eggs near the water surface and males will fertilize the demersal eggs as the drop down the water column where the eggs hatch in two days. Most become sexually mature at age three, while they average 10 to 11 inches in length. Average adult weight is 3/4 to 1 1/2 pounds. White bass seldom live longer than seven years.

Background information:

White bass live in a variety of habitat types, where they school and feed by visual orientation. White bass are a very mobile species, capable of traveling over 100 miles and have strong spawning site fidelity.