White bass (Morone)
The color of a white bass is silvery with a dark grayish-green back. It also has four to 10 dark stripes that run lengthwise on its sides, only one of which extends to the tail. The head is small and pointed with a large mouth and yellow eyes. Fins tend to be nearly clear and the dorsal fin is separated into a spiny and a soft-rayed section. The anal fin has about a dozen rays. White bass can also be identified by a single tooth patch on the tongue.
White bass can be easily confused with striped bass, hybrid striped bass, yellow bass, and even white perch. However, they are generally smaller in size and more silvery in color than other bass and have striping that the white perch generally lack.
The typical weight of a white bass is between one-half and 2 pounds, though they can grow to 3 or 4 pounds. The world record white bass is 6 pounds, 13 ounces. Most grow to a length of between 10 and 12 inches, though they can reach 17 inches or more. Their life span can be as long as 10 years, however, few survive more than four years. Like many fish, females generally grow large, faster and live longer than males.
White bass consume large quantities of prey fish and are, therefore, constantly on the move in search of food. Their favored selections are shad, silversides, yellow perch and sunfish. They will supplement their diets with crustaceans and insects. They have also been known to eat their own young. White bass often make a great commotion when they feed, especially at the surface, which experienced anglers will look for.
White bass can be found throughout the United States thanks to extensive stocking programs. They are found in large numbers in lake and river systems in the northeastern and southeastern United States, as well as the Midwest. Though they have been introduced throughout the United States, the region where they are most common is bounded by the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence River on the north, the Atlantic Ocean on the east, the Gulf of Mexico and Rio Grande River on the south, and the Rocky Mountains on the west. Their popularity has grown in recent years and they are found in especially large numbers in the region running along the gulf coast from Florida to Texas.
White bass are freshwater fish that are migratory in nature. They spend most of their lives in the open-water portions of lakes and reservoirs or river pools. These fish will migrate to deeper water as temperatures warm. They are found in greatest numbers in cool reservoirs and lakes with large areas of water that is at least 10 feet deep. Few white bass are found in lakes or reservoirs of less than 300 acres.
- Cross breeding in hatcheries between white bass and stripers have produced a hybrid, known as the hybrid striper (or wiper), which has characteristics of both fish.
- Scientists are not certain that all white bass migrate to tributaries to spawn. They believe some may spend their entire lives, including spawning, in rocky shallows.