SPRING RUN WHITE BASS   Leave a comment


Lake Shelbyville is a natural for white bass.  White bass thrive in large, open-water impoundments containing an abundance of shad, their favorite forage fish.

This 11,000-plus acre impoundment is located in Shelby and Moultrie counties in central Illinois about 4-hours south of Chicago.  It is a hill-land impoundment with depths exceeding 60-feet, long wooded coves and some of the most scenic water in the state.

From mid-April through June the white bass of Lake Shelbyville are a bread-and-butter fish for anglers in search of action.  The feisty fish move up out of the main river channel into tributaries to spawn.

Normally they hold at the mouths of creeks for some time before heading upstream.  As they then concentrate in shallows on the back of Kaskaskia and Okaw rivers.  Once upstream one can find them in schools in eddies behind current breaks as such rocks, blow downs, etc.  The smallest bass will be on top with the big boys on the bottom of the school.  They let the little fish do the hard work of chasing shad and minnows.

It seems that everyone who fishes for white bass on this lake has a preference when it comes to lure or bait.  Generally the bait fishermen prefer small minnows on a jig.  The lure anglers tend to go with small jigging spoons.  Others like the 1/8th to 1/4-ounce Road Runners with a tinsel tail or a white curly tail.  White seems popular due to the water clarity in early spring.  For more dingy water one might try yellow.

In April bottom bouncing a jigging spoon is good.  The fish are generally gathering along expended points in the water ranging from 5 to 50-feet deep.

Later in spring and early in summer anglers cruise the lake watching for shad chased by bass to break the surface.  If they break the surface in an area the angler knows they can catch bass beneath the shad with just about any kind of small artificial lure.

Jump fishing or angling for moving whites in open water is frustrating as well as exciting.  As the marauding schools of white bass corral the shad near the surface they seldom conform to predictable patterns of movement.  They may hit the surface for only a few minutes only to vanish from sight and reappear a few hundred yards away.

White bass working points are a little easier to stick with.  When the surface action disappears once can troll to zero-in on them. Usually small crankbaits, spoon plugs and blade baits can be trolled at about 5 to 6-feet deep to find the fish again.  If no action at that depth then move deeper or shallower until you find the fish.

White bass fishing is often good from April right on through the summer and into fall.  When all else fails the white bass action will be there for the angler.


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