The white bass is a fan favorite of springtime anglers. These prolific spawning fish make their annual migration runs in the thousands giving anglers the opportunity to catch fish in bulk. White bass require very basic fishing equipment making them an easy target for anglers of all experience levels!
White bass typically start their spawning routine before the other spring spawning fishes in the state. Longtime white bass anglers claim that the white bass spawning run begins when the redbud trees begin to bloom.
Moderate rainfall and water temperatures between 55°F-60°F are key to a prolific river or creek white bass run on a given body of water.
White bass prefer to spawn up inflowing creeks and rivers on a given body of water, but many lakes only have small tributaries necessitating modest rainfall to push the fish upstream. Fish will move as far upstream as water flow allows until satisfactory spawning habitat is found. During springs with low water levels and lack of rain, spawning schools will be sporadic making for inconsistent fishing days in primetime spots. It’s best during these times to stick to staging areas at the mouths of inflows or physical barriers that prevent upstream migration.
Once water temperatures in the lake hit 50˚F, public access sites along creeks and rivers are great places for bank anglers to target white bass.
For boat anglers, start fishing efforts at the mouths of inflowing tributaries and follow the white bass upstream. On a given body of water, there’s typically a one to three week window when white bass fishing is excellent. Game Wardens can provide the most up-to-date information on spawning white bass runs in their county.
Find out more about Oklahoma’s state fish here.