Fish Profiles White Bass

White bass (Morone chrysops) is a freshwater fish.  White bass are native to the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence River, southern Ontario and Quebec in Canada, the American Midwest, and the Mississippi River area as far south as Louisiana and Texas.  The fish has also been widely introduced to lakes and waterways outside of its natural range.  As a result white bass are now found in most US states.


White bass’ backs are black or dark-grey while their bellies are closer to white.  Most of the rest of the fish’s body is a silvery color.  Adult white bass closely resemble young striped bass, and the two fish are often mistaken for one another.  The main different between the two species is that full grown white bass are smaller than their striped counterparts.  White bass grow to about the size of a ruler (about 30 cm or 12 inches).  White bass have stripes that run horizontally along the upper portions of their bodies.


White bass are carnivorous fish.  Their diet includes insect larvae, crustaceans and smaller fish such as shad.  White bass move in schools especially during the spring mating season.  Male fish head to the spawning grounds up to a month before the females arrive.  The spawning grounds are typically located in gravel or rocky sections of waterways.   After spawning the fertilized eggs of the female sink to the bottom of the waterway where they attach themselves to rocks.  The eggs hatch in about two days.

Fishing for White Bass:

White bass are popular with many anglers.  This is the reason why the fish have been so widely introduced across the US by human beings.  Catching white bass is facilitated by the fish’s tendency to congregate in schools.  So if one white bass is spotted, there are usually several others nearby.

White bass are edible.  Some people, however, consider them to be a lower quality food fish.  White bass meat is delicate and will fall apart if not properly handled.


White bass are native to North America west of the Appalachians and east of the Rockies.  They live mainly in the Great Lakes River basin and in the Mississippi River system.  In their natural range they can be found as far north as southern Ontario and as far south as Texas.  In part because of their popularity with anglers, these fish have been introduced into rivers and lakes across the continental US.


Tony Kinton and Bill Dance, “White Bass,” p. 54-58 in Fishing Mississippi.  US: Tony Kinton, 2002.