big hill 26


Each spring, white bass move to staging areas and then into their favorite spawning areas of lakes and rivers. The exact dates of the white bass action are dependant upon water temperature and levels in the main lake.

Carlyle Lake in IL offers some of the best white bass fishing in terms of quantity and quality. The fish average 2/3 pounds in size and there are good quantities available.

Located on the Kaskaskia River near Carlyle, Illinois, the lake is 50 miles due east of St. Louis in Fayette, Bond and Clinton counties.  It is a U.S. Army Corps of Engineers reservoir that contains some 26,000 acres of water.

White bass are a cousin of the saltwater striped bass and as such have much of the savage instinct of their brethren. They will hit light tackle and give the angler more than he can handle.

Following the warm rains of April, these water tigers go on a feeding frenzy that will last into June. White bass become more active as the water temperature rises above 50 degrees.

The average size taken by anglers tends to run about 3/4 of a pound with some taken over two pounds.

Catching white bass is easy, finding them is the tough part. Pre‑spawn fish position themselves on sand bars and gravel banks in fast water.  During the spawn, they make runs into the major feeder streams looking for suitable gravel beds.  After the spawn, they head down stream into creek channels or roam out into the main body of water.

If the fish are not in the spawning stages, then a good pattern is to troll over the sunken islands and humps with small crank baits. The presence of feeding gulls is a good sign white bass are present.  Look for shad clouds on your electronics.  The schools of white bass are usually near by.  Often they are on the deeper side of the islands or flats.  They wait to ambush some hapless shad that might swim past.

White bass are an active fish that feeds constantly. Whites prefer to spend their time in water deeper than 10 feet but will often move into shallows to feed.  Their favorite meal is shad.  A sure sign of white bass presence is water that appears to be boiling.  The shad breaking the surface to out run the bass gives the surface the appearance of boiling water

Often sauger will travel with the white bass in spring. White bass anglers often take a sauger or two.

When feeding on the surface, concentrations of seagulls pinpoint the location. At close range you find them by spotting the splashing water.  Feeding fish breaking the surface causes the appearance.  At times the fish will stay up for ten to fifteen minutes.  More often they will feed for only a minute or two and then dive back down.  Usually they surface again a hundred yards or so away.


As the water warms a good location to find fish is out on the main lake. If the water cools then check creek mouths or the flats.  In-line spinners and jig/minnow combinations are a good choice when fishing rip rap areas.

Early morning and late evening hours are best for finding white bass. When they are actively feeding they will strike in the heat of the day.  Position your boat in the general area of the feeding and wait for the white bass to rise.  If you want to get out of the direct sunlight, there are bridges under which you can anchor to wait for the action.


Light tackle is a must for these fish. Small crankbaits, spinners and jigs are good with line in the four‑ to eight‑pound test range.  Small tube jigs tipped with a minnow or a plastic grub.  Plastics with contrasting dark and light colors work well.  White plastics are popular.

Lures can be double-rigged for more action. A pod of fish will often yield multiple strikes.

Astute anglers notice the size of the bait fish and match the lure to them. Angling success tends to be dependant on year hatches.  A year with incredible numbers can help carry the population over lean years.  The best fishing is likely to be about two years after a large year hatch.



Posted 03/18/2016 by Donald Gasaway in Misc.

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