By JOHN WISSE |
ODNR, Division of Wildlife
FREMONT, Ohio Ė Itís mid-April and as the peak of the spring walleye run continues the white bass are moving upstream to begin their spawning run. Anglers using floating jigs tipped with minnows are now taking some white bass here in the Sandusky River around the sand dock area just a short distance from downtown Fremont.
The white bass is found in a number of rivers and inland lakes. April and May generally are the best time of year to catch these fish which average one to two pounds and measure 10 to 14 inches
White bass are silvery in color and have a milky white belly. They also have six or more dark lateral lines on the sides and back. The fish has two dorsal fins with the first dorsal fin having nine spines. The white bass closely resembles the hybrid striped bass and white perch.
A native Ohio fish species, white bass typically thrive in larger open water areas less than 30 feet deep that have a firm bottom. These fish spawn in late April and May. An old adage claims when the dogwood trees are in bloom, white bass are spawning.
While spring is the best time to fish for white bass, they may be taken other times of the year as well. Ira Sizemore of Cincinnati caught a 21-inch, four-pound white bass on July 1, 1983 in a gravel pit that remains Ohioís current state record. White bass often chase baitfish toward the surface and when schools of white bass are located, the fishing action can become excellent. Anglers typically use small spinners, minnows, and worms when seeking white bass.
But for this time of year as spawning season approaches, the best fishing method is to use jigs and minnows or small bucktail spinners. The portion of Deer Creek near Mt. Sterling south of Columbus that is above the lake is an excellent location to fish this time of year for white bass when casting to shallow riffle areas and pools. A white bass run also occurs upstream in Big Walnut Creek just below Hoover Dam in northeast Franklin County.
Some of the better white bass fishing opportunities in rivers and streams include the Sanudksy and Maumee rivers, the Clear Fork River in Richland County and in the Pike Island, Willow Island, Belleville, Racine, and Meldahl pools of the Ohio River. When fishing for white bass in the Ohio River, the best locations are in tailwaters below lock and dam structures, such as the Greenup Dam near Ironton, and in warmwater discharges and near stream confluences.
Some of the top inland lakes for white bass fishing include Berlin Reservoir in northeast Ohio, Bresler, Clear Fork, Ferguson, Findlay, and Pleasant Hill reservoirs in northwest Ohio, and CJ Brown Reservoir in southwest Ohio. Fair opportunities to take white bass are found at Alum Creek, Delaware and Indian lakes in central Ohio, Clear Fork Reservoir and the Huron River in northwest Ohio, Caesar Creek Lake in southwest Ohio, and portions of the Muskingum River in southeast Ohio that include the Lowell, Stockport, McConnelsville, and Rokeby tailwaters.
There are no size or bag limit restrictions for taking white bass except in the Ohio River. In the portion of the river between Ohio and West Virginia, anglers may not take more than four white bass measuring over 15 inches. In the portion of the Ohio River between Ohio and Kentucky, anglers may take a daily limit of 30 white bass with no more than four measuring over 15 inches.
Source: By JOHN WISSE: ODNR, Division of Wildlife