Fish and Aquatic Conservation

illustration of a White bass

White bass

Morone chrysops (Rafinesque, 1820)

Cool Facts

The maximum recorded age for a white bass is 9 years The maximum recorded weight for white bass is 3.1 kg (6.8 lbs.) White bass are distinguishable from striped bass and hybrid striped bass (cross between a white bass x striped bass) by the singular tooth patch on the tongue. Both striped bass and hybrid striped bass have two tooth patches on their tongue.

SIZE: The common length for white bass is 31.8 cm (12.5 inches) with the maximum reported length of 45 cm (17.7 inches).

RANGE: White bass are widely distributed throughout North America. In Canada, white bass are found in Quebec, Manitoba and Hudson Bay (Red River). They are also found in the Great Lakes, Hudson Bay and the St. Lawrence River, which is on the border of Canada and the United States. In the U.S., white bass range from the Mississippi River Basin down to Louisiana and into the Rio Grande River in Texas and New Mexico.

HABITAT: White bass occur in lakes, ponds, and the pools of small to large rivers. White bass do not like muddy water or areas with a lot of plants. White bass will normally reproduce when water temperatures are approximately 14 degrees Celsius (57.2 degrees Fahrenheit).

DIET: Juvenile white bass feed on small invertebrates such as small crustaceans and midge larvae. Adult bass are piscivorous, consuming fish species such as shad, silversides and occasionally young sunfish.

Natural History

White bass are a member of the temperate bass family, which includes the striped bass, yellow bass, and white perch. White bass are a migratory open‐water fish. They spend most of their lives chasing schools of shad, which are their favorite food. White bass are most active during dawn and dusk.

White bass may spawn in freshwater tributaries or on top of rocky shoals in a lake or reservoir. Spawning normally occurs in February or early spring in the southern United States and in May in the northern United States. They do not build nests or form mating pairs. A female white bass will be followed by a group of male bass that will attempt to fertilize her eggs with their milt immediately after she extrudes them from her body.

Once the eggs are fertilized, adult white bass will normally return to deeper water. Fertilized white bass eggs will hatch in about two days. Juvenile white bass may grow into adulthood within two years in southern climates but it usually takes longer to reach adulthood in northern climates.


White bass are a very popular recreational fish species. They are managed by state recreational fishing regulations which normally delineate minimum size limits, the number of fish you are allowed to keep and the length of the fishing season.

White bass have also been stocked in some rivers or reservoirs to help control populations of gizzard shad.