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WHITE BASS RUN
ABOUT TO TAKE OFF
Activity just beginning
for this spring fishing favorite
PRATT - April 15,
2005- White bass are common in
almost all Kansas reservoirs today, and many anglers look forward
to the spring spawning run up rivers that feed these lakes. Lately,
Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks (KDWP) staff have been
getting calls from anglers worried that they might have missed
this year's run, but nothing could be further from the truth.
"I really don't think it's
gotten going good yet," says Kyle Austin, fisheries management
specialist for KDWP. "The water in the rivers is warming,
and some males have moved upstream to wait for females, but they
really haven't moved yet. Water temperature [typically about
50 degrees to start the run] is important, but photoperiod is
important, as well. As the days get longer, the females will
start to move. By late April and early May, anglers will start
catching big females."
Water temperatures typically
vary from north to south in Kansas, so some movement may begin
later in the state's northernmost lakes. Another factor controlling
the white bass run is water flow. Without good stream flow, the
fish can't make it upstream. Many of the state's reservoirs hold
good populations of whites. Kanopolis, Glen Elder, Perry, and
Cedar Bluff appear to hold the greatest numbers this year. (Reservoir
ratings for all fish may be found in KDWP's Fishing Forecast
online at www.kdwp.state.ks.us.) Kanopolis and Glen Elder both
report fair water flow into the lakes from recent rains although
anglers have not had much luck in the rivers yet. At Perry, the
river flow is fair up to a rip-rap barrier at Valley Falls, about
five river miles, and a few whites have been caught. Having missed
recent rains in the northwest, Cedar Bluff reports that water
flow is minimal. This could change with spring rains, however,
and whites can still be caught in the lake, primarily over the
north shore's main lake points.
White bass prefer to spawn in
rocky or brushy areas along riffles and stage in deeper water
above and below these areas. These are good areas to target.
Brush piles can be good, as well, and may offer the bonus of
a nice channel cat or other species.
Most white bass fishermen use
artificial baits such as jigs, small spinners, and spoons, but
live minnows work well, too. Light or medium action spinning
tackle and 6- to 8-pound test line is the preferred equipment.
An average white bass will weigh about a pound, but some may
grow to 4 pounds. Landing a hard-fighting white that size requires
While many white bass fishermen
wade streams during the spring spawning run, some use boats on
larger rivers. For smaller streams, a jon boat or canoe equipped
with a trolling motor can be an advantage.
For the avid angler who has
yet to dip a line this spring, it's time to get ready; the white
bass run is about to take off. And crappie won't be far behind.
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