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A slab-sided, blue-gray to silvery, spiny-rayed fish with slate gray dorsal, caudal and anal fins, white belly and pectoral fins. It has 5 to 7 longitudinal dark colored body stripes. Stripes on the body are usually interrupted, but not as sharply broken or offset above the anal fin as other fish in this family. The dorsal fin is separated into two complete lobes; the first has 9 spines and the second has a single spine with 13 to 15 soft rays. The anal fin has 3 spines graduating in length followed by 11 to 13 soft rays. The mouth is slightly oblique with the lower jaw projecting slightly beyond the upper jaw.
Common to abundant throughout the Mississippi River and in the lower reaches of its main tributary streams. Sizable populations in the flood control reservoirs that impound the interior rivers, Red Rock, Rathbun and Coralville. Its range also includes the Missouri River and tributaries. Common in many natural lakes including: Storm, North Twin, Blackhawk, East and West Okoboji, Spirit, Minnewhasta, Upper and Lower Gar and Clear lakes.
Fish, insects, and crustaceans
4 pounds, 3 ounces - Big Spirit Lake, Dickinson County, May 2011 - Josh Zylstra, Laurens, Iowa
Use white and/or yellow jigs (1/8 ounce) in tandem where you see the schools of White Bass chasing minnows to the surface.
Typical White Bass habitat is the deep, quiet pools of medium to large rivers and the mid-water environment of lakes and reservoirs. They are most often found in places with sand and gravel bottoms in clear to slightly turbid water.
Spawning is a spring ritual that occurs in Iowa from April through mid-June at water temperatures from 58 to 70 degrees. Sexually mature fish form schools, often unisexual groups, that move onto shoals or estuaries before spawning. Actual spawning starts when several males surround a female and the group swims around scattering eggs and milt near the surface. The eggs are small, averaging about .031 inch in diameter. The number of eggs produced varies from about 241,000 to 933,00 per mature adult female, with the number proportional to body size. Once released, the eggs are fertilized and gradually sink to the bottom where they stick to rocks and bottom debris and hatch in several days. No parental care is given eggs or newly hatched fry.
White Bass grow fast, averaging 4- to 6-inches in the first year, 9- to 10-inches in the second year, and 12- to 14-inches by the end of the third year. Most males mature at age 2, while females mature at age 3. White Bass seldom live beyond 4 years and few are larger than 2 or 3 pounds.
White Bass usually forage in early morning and late afternoon, while adults are sometimes seen feeding in the dark. This species is highly mobile, moving about in large schools, hungrily feeding on other schooling fish, such as Gizzard Shad. In Iowa, Gizzard Shad are needed to establish White Bass in reservoirs and large rivers. White Bass use other forage fish, particularly minnows and shiners, in the natural lakes for food.
Recent stream sampling information is available from Iowa DNR's biological monitoring and assessment program.