Common Names – stripe, silver bass, striper, sand bass, barfish.
Description – The white bass looks similar to a shortened version of its larger relative, the striped bass. It is silvery-white overall with five to eight horizontal dusky black stripes along the sides. Stripes below the lateral line are faint and often broken in an irregular pattern. It differs most noticeably in being shorter and stockier with a smaller head, and the dorsal fins are set closer together. The white bass has a deep body, strongly arched behind head; deepest between dorsal fins.
Subspecies – There are no recognized subspecies.
Range – General boundaries are the St. Lawrence River in the east; Lake Winnipeg in the north; the Rio Grande in the west; and northwest Florida and Louisiana in the south. It has been stocked within and outside its natural range. In Florida, white bass are found primarily in the Apalachicola and Ochlockonee river systems; however, rare specimens have been located in the Escambia and Yellow rivers.
Habitat – White bass are found in large lakes and streams connected to major river systems and in rivers with moderate current. They prefer clear water with a temperature range of 65 to 75 degrees. Man-made impoundments have greatly favored the white bass, but the species is one that can become overabundant and stunt.
Spawning Habits – Male white bass migrate upstream in large schools to a dam or other barrier in early spring, followed shortly by schools of females. Spawning occurs in moving water over gravel shoals or a hard bottom. Large females may lay as many as half a million adhesive eggs that stick to rocks and gravel. If no water current is present white bass have been known to spawn on wind-swept sandy beaches. After spawning, they abandon their eggs and provide no parental care. Fry hatch in only two to three days.
Feeding Habits – White bass are primarily piscivorous. Fry feed on zooplankton first and within a few weeks larger crustaceans and insects are eaten. Larger fish prefer to feed on minnows and thrive on open- water baitfish like gizzard and threadfin shad. Like the striper, white bass move in schools and feed most heavily around dawn or dusk.
Age and Growth – Although white bass may live up to 10 years, few live beyond three to four years. Females grow slightly faster and probably live longer than males. The average size is one pound with fish over two pounds considered large.
Sporting Quality – White bass are hard hitting, fierce fighting fish. Their aggressive nature combined with their schooling tendency make them one of the easiest fish to catch. Several tips to white bass anglers should include: use light tackle for maximum enjoyment; use flies, spinners, small plugs or minnows for bait; and locate feeding schools which usually occur toward evening in shallow areas. As a sport fish, specific bag and size limit regulations apply, and you can register a qualifying catch as part of the Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission’s “Big Catch” program.
Eating Quality – The flesh is similar to that of the striped bass and may be prepared by frying, baking, broiling, or stewing.
World Record – 6 pounds, 13 ounces, caught in Lake Orange, in Orange, Virginia, in 1989.State Record – 4 pounds, 11 ounces, caught in Apalachicola River, in 1982.
Information Courtesy MyFWC.com