Joey Fisher

Each year the timing of the great Arkansas White Bass run occurs in early spring meaning March. This year is no exception as the timing could not be better for fishing enthusiasts! Large amounts of rain a week ago have slowed things down, but hopefully, during the coming weeks things will slow down and we can all get in on the action.

As area Rivers and streams return to more normal levels the whites will be full steam ahead in their annual spring run all across the Arkansas River Valley.

White bass may not be quite as popular as crappie as a pan fish but trust me with a good fillet knife and a little patience, they can be a very tasty treat, but most of all they are literally barrels of fun to catch.

As I recall just this time of year a few years ago, spring I pulled into a cove where whites were busting shad all over the surface, yet I was catching them by running a crank-bait underneath the school. Several times I caught multiple fish on one cast. The action is simply incredible when these guys are turned on.

Finally, I came to the point where I could not stand it any longer and broke out the old faithful Chug-bug and went to work. There is no better bite in all of fishing than a top-water bite, regardless of the type of fish you are pursuing. I had several fish knock my bait three to four feet in the air as if they were trying to knock it out before eating it, but once I figured out the retrieve the fish wanted to see, it was nonstop action until the school disappeared back into the lake.

I also caught a couple of larger fish that were either Striped Bass or Hybrid Striped Bass. They look so much alike that it is extremely hard to tell the difference; the surest way is by checking out the teeth on the fish’s tongue. Whites will have teeth in a single patch on the back of their tongue. Stripers will have teeth in two parallel patches on the back of their tongue, as will the hybrids, making these two even harder to separate. Stripers will usually be bigger and the hybrids will have breaks in their horizontal stripes.

White Bass are usually the easiest to distinguish due to their single tooth patch, less distinct horizontal stripes on their bottom half, and their deep body, which seldom exceeds three pounds.

Contrary to popular belief, Whites are very good to eat if filleted properly. They also come with a very generous daily limit.

The best places to go during this time of the year are to any of our numerous smaller rivers and streams as the whites will be running and are fairly easy to keep up with once you find them.

There are also many ways to catch white bass from trolling to casting, and even using live bait but when they are running just easing up and down the river is usually the most productive.

Locally this time of year the Fourche River and tributaries around Lake Dardanelle are the usual hotspots as the whites will be on their annual run. Statewide the hotspot seems to be Lake Maumelle and the creeks and rivers that flow into the big bay on the west end of the lake, and as we all know Greers Ferry is level full of all these species and can be fun in both the spring and fall.

As always if you find a hot spot, just drop me a line and I might just come to join you!

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