White Bass Reproduction
After spawning, the adults return back to deeper water and form into compact schools.
White Bass do not require brackish water to spawn. Moreover, they do not like salt water and even avoid water with any level of salinity that is common in the lower end of rivers like the Mississippi.
When the temperature reaches above 45°F/7°C, which can happen as early as February in the south and as late as June in the north, the White Bass begins to spawn. Studies have found that White Bass will travel as much as 40 miles/60 kilometres to their spawning grounds. As a result, dams and construction along their distribution will alter their patterns and provide risks to their population. However, with such a large distribution, the White Bass is not under any concern at present.
Males are sexually mature at the end of year one. Once they reach their spawning grounds, which is about one month before the females, they locate the same spawning area that they used in the previous year, any construction or human obstruction will delay their spawning and may even prevent it. White Bass are not nest builders.
A Fish Ballet
In what seems like a strange ballet, six to seven males gather and push the female to the surface where she releases between 200,000 to one million eggs, which are then fertilized by the males. The eggs then settle and attach on nearby rocks and vegetation in shallow water. After spawning is over, the male and female White Bass leave the eggs and return to foraging for food, leaving the eggs and later fry to fend for themselves. After about 45 hours and sustained water temperature of 60°F/15°C, the eggs begin to hatch.
After spawning, the adults return back to deeper water and form into compact schools. By the end of the first summer, young White Bass reach four to nine inches and follow the adults into deeper water.
As with other freshwater bass the White Bass and Yellow Bass cross breed. Other bass species that practice hybridization include the Roanoke Bass with the Rock Bass and the Guadalupe Bass with the Smallmouth Bass. It is also possible for the White Bass to mate with the Striped Bass as well.
When fishing the deep river waters, equip yourself with a dual beam fish finder. And, if you plan on fishing at night, spend the extra cash and purchase a GPS-based fish finder. Another good piece of equipment for river fishing is an electric motor in order to keep the noise down.