Freshwater Fish - Species

White bass (Morone chrysops)

Description: (Anatomy of a Fish)
The white bass is a wide-bodied fish with an overall dark bluish green to gray color with yellow eyes. The two dorsal fins—spiny and soft—are completely separated. The white bass has stripes running laterally down its sides that may be broken. The lower jaw sticks out further than the upper jaw on the mouth. A tooth patch is present on the tongue.

Range: Scattered throughout South Carolina in the Piedmont and in the Coastal Plain in the Pee Dee, Santee and Savannah river drainages.

Average Length: 10 inches

Average Size: 1 pound

South Carolina State Record: 5 pound 4.8 ounces (2006)

Life Expectancy: Approximately 6 years

Preferred Habitat

White bass prefer the deeper pools of large reservoirs and rivers.

Food Habits

  • Aquatic insects and fish, primarily threadfin shad, young gizzard shad and blueback herring.

Spawning

  • White bass migrate upstream from reservoirs to shoals upriver or to the heads of reservoirs and into smaller streams during March and April as water temperatures reach 55°F.
  • Spawning occurs at the surface where several males congregate around one female in shallow areas of the stream where up to one million eggs can be released by the large female and fertilized.
  • These sticky eggs adhere to submerged trees and other substrates where they hatch unattended after approximately 45 days.

Miscellaneous

Not native to South Carolina, the white bass was introduced in 1954 when stocks of adult fish were moved from Tennessee to Lake Wylie by South Carolina Game and Fish Commission personnel. From these early stocks, introductions were made into other rivers and impoundments of the state. Schools of the species may be seen at the surface of large reservoirs as they pursue threadfin and gizzard shad. Sport fishing for white bass is most productive during these schooling periods and during their spawning migration.

Commonly Mistaken Species

Some species of fish which are commonly mistaken for this species:

Identifying The Temperate Bass of South Carolina

Literature Cited

Rohde, Fred C, Arndt, Rudolf G., Foltz, Jeffery W., Quattro, Joseph M. 2009. Freshwater Fishes of South Carolina. University of South Carolina Press, Columbia, South Carolina.

Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries Division. 2009. South Carolina Guide to Freshwater Fishes.

Fish Illustration by Duane Raver.