Striped Bass (aka Striper,
Rockfish, and Linesides) were originally a saltwater exclusive species. They
spawned in freshwater streams and rivers, returning to the oceans after the
spawn was completed. It was this characteristic that caused the first landlocked
Stripers to come into existence.
Upstream on the Cooper River in South Carolina,
a dam was built to form the Santee Cooper Reservoir in 1941. In the early
1950ís, fishery biologists were surprised to find that the trapped Striped Bass
had not only survived but they had thrived. This accidental knowledge led to
hatcheries for Stripers, with the fry being shipped to impoundments across the
country for stocking.
The Hybrid Striped Bass (aka
Wiper) got its start in 1965 when two fishery biologists crossed a female
Striper with a male White Bass. They also have thrived and have been stocked in
many impoundments. Though very similar to Stripers, the Hybrids have unique
characteristics all their own. They grow faster in the first few years
than Stripers, yet they do not get as large. Hybrids can survive higher
water temperatures and shallower waters than the Striper.
Lake Hamilton is stocked with
both Striped Bass and Hybrid Striped Bass. Lake Ouachita is stocked with Striped
Bass. Both lakes produce Trophy Stripers on a regular basis.
Live Bait (Preferred)
Gizzard Shad, Threadfin Shad,
Shiners, and Bluegill are the favored food of the Striper, with Shad being number
one by far.
J-Plugs, Spoons, Jigs, Redfins,
and most any other bait that resembles shad work well.
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
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.
Eating Quality - The flesh is similar to
that of the striped bass and may be prepared by frying, baking, broiling, or
World Record - 6 pounds, 13 ounces, caught
in Lake Orange, in Orange, Virginia, in 1989.