Hard-fighting sportfish migrating upstream from Kansas reservoirs for spring spawn

Water temperatures in streams feeding larger Kansas reservoirs have begun to warm, spurring white bass on their annual spring spawning run. According to the Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks (KDWP), anglers are just beginning to catch white bass in streams above reservoirs typically known to harbor good numbers of this popular species. These include most major reservoirs statewide. Click on KDWP TV to view a current news video on the run.

This year's reservoir ratings for white bass (and all fish) may be found in KDWP's Fishing Forecast. In addition, the most currently-recorded biologists' fishing reports may be found on the agency's Fishing Reports web page, and anglers can report their own experiences and read those of others on the department's Public Fishing Reports page. 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.

White bass prefer to spawn in rocky or brushy areas along riffles and stage (gather for the spawning run) in deeper water above and below these areas. Target deep holes along stream bends, below brushpiles, or around bridge supports.

Most white bass fishermen use 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 lucky anglers occasionally land a 3- or 4-pounder. Landing a hard-fighting white of any size requires fresh, high-quality line, so updated gear is essential.

While many white bass fishermen wade streams during the spring spawning run, some use boats on larger rivers. A jon boat or canoe equipped with a trolling motor can be an advantage on medium-sized streams.

For the springtime angler itching to dip a line, it's time to hit the streams as this hard-fight sportfish makes its annual run. If the timing is right, this can be some of the most fast and furious fishing in the state.