LAKE KINKAID WHITE BASS   3 comments

The lake bound wolf packs of Lake Kinkaid are white bass gathered in packs to force small shad into shallow water, or to the surface, and then feed upon them.

In addition to being great predators, they are an important prey source for adult Muskie and walleye. Ground pounders delight in the fishing action they provide.

Lake Kinkaid is a 2,750-acre lake surrounded by 91 miles of limestone bluffs and wooded hillsides. Located in Jackson County near Murphysboro, Illinois, the lake is deep with clear water. Other species in the lake include: Muskie, Walleye, Crappie, Bass and Bluegill.

White bass provide a sport fishery in Lake Kinkaid reservoir as well as several other impoundments in the area. Scientific studies have found that growth is generally fastest in natural lakes but the impoundments of southern Illinois provide great habitat. The warmer water temperatures and the presence of shad as a forage source make an ideal home for these predators.

White bass constitute a significant portion of the total fish harvest wherever they are found. White bass are often taken during April and May. These are the pre spawn and spawn period. But, during the summer, the action is the most exciting.

White bass are of the sea bass family. This distinguishes them from the largemouth, smallmouth, rock, and spotted bass which are members of the perch family. They are a schooling fish, hunting in large numbers and covering a great deal of territory during their feeding forays.

White bass dine mostly on small fish, with insects and crustaceans as secondary choices. As the small fish become scarcer during the season, white bass turn to insects.

In their summer feeding frenzy, they form large formations and herd small fish before them. They drive the prey to the surface where it cannot escape. They feed most actively in the early morning and in the evening as they move toward the shore at twilight. The white bass then return to the depths.

White bass are fast growing and short lived. Generally they survive for only 5 or 6 years. They are not large by bass standards, but they will hit a lure like a freight train.

During the summer, white bass will feed at the surface and their splashing draws anglers. They can also be caught on open water structure, but white bass are more fun during their feeding frenzy. It is exciting to cast to the edge of the commotion they create and catch fish as fast as you can unhook them. The action is fast and furious but lasts only a short time before they move on and the angler must look again for the action.

Some of my favorite lures for the boiling fish action are 1/8 ounce jigging spoons or a small Roostertail. Small 1/8 ounce Panther Martins work well. In jigging spoons, the Kast Master, a small silver casting spoon is a good one.

When the whites are feeding there is no wrong way to fish them. They will take anything.

When not in a feeding frenzy, white bass can be found on or near the same deep water structure that might contain a largemouth bass.

Small diameter lines allow for the casting of very light lures to the feeding fish. It is probably a good idea to carry two rods with different test line on the reels.

One interesting technique for suspended fish involves trailing a jig behind a crankbait. The rear hook of the crankbait is removed and an 18 inch drop line of 8 to 10 pound monofilament line is added. A 1/16th ounce jig with a curly tail grub is added.

Good colors are white, yellow or chartreuse. Not all crankbaits will travel straight with this addition so it is a good idea to test the lure first to make sure it will remain stable.

The lure/jig combo is cast about 40 yards. The white will hit the trailer because it imitates the small shad upon which they feed. One can fan cast over a given area several times catching fish. They do not seem to be disturbed by the passing of a lure.

Since white bass do not travel alone, it is a good idea to get them landed and get back into the water as soon as possible. With a broad flat side, they are power runners that move in a zigzag pattern. This allows them to provide the greatest resistance to the pull of the line. They do not usually break the water with spectacular jumps like other predator fish.

Summer is also a great time to fish for white bass. It is exciting to see them drive the hapless shad to the surface and feed upon them. The action runs from the quite of waiting and watching to the frenzy of trying to get a lure in the water fast enough to catch several whites.

Bait and tackle can be obtained in Murphysboro at the Top Of The Hill Bait Shop about 3/4 miles west of Murphysboro on Route 149. Turn right on Murphysboro Lake Road and go 1/4 mile. Guide service is available from Kinkaid Lake Guide Service which offers half day and full day trips. For information call 618-985-4105.

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Posted 05/15/2011 by Donald Gasaway in Freshwater Fishing

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