Sunday, April 01, 2007

White bass spawning runs are on!

According to the state Fishing Report, white bass, also known as "sand bass," are beginning their annual spawning runs in parts of the state, and fishing for the popular springtime sport fish is heating up.

"Anglers need to get in on the sand bass fishing now," said Paul Balkenbush, southeast region fisheries supervisor for the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation. "The spawning runs are starting, and that means there will be feeding frenzies upstream in lake tributaries. Sand bass anglers can fill up a stringer in a hurry this time of year, if they get out there and don't miss the annual run."

According to Balkenbush, white bass fishing is popular in Oklahoma because of the action offered by their aggressive feeding behavior during late March and early April, when the fish migrate in large numbers into upper-lake tributaries. Their large appetites and dense concentration in creeks and rivers can lead to non-stop action. But he also said the simplicity of white bass makes it an ideal way to spend a spring day.

"The beauty of a white bass run is you don't have to have all the fancy equipment," Balkenbush said. "You just need some simple gear and you'll have all the fun you want."

Right now, according to the Department's weekly Fishing Report, white bass are staging and starting their annual run up the Mountain Fork River at Broken Bow Lake and are being caught on an assortment of grubs. Reports also say the "sandies" are being caught in southeast Oklahoma up creeks at Murray, Arbuckle, Hugo, Eufaula, Konawa, Sardis, Robert S. Kerr, McGee Creek and Pine Creek.

Southeast Oklahoma is not the only place producing great sand bass fishing, however. Fishing is reportedly excellent now in tributaries at the upper end of Ft. Gibson using crankbaits and spinnerbaits, and also good at Grand Lake, Hudson, Sooner and Keystone.

In the southwest, reports are good at Waurika Lake on live bait and along the dam at Canton Lake in the northwest part of the state.

According to anglers, top choices for catching white bass during the spring river run include jigs, spinners and minnows.

"This time of year, you can use a variety of tackle to catch white bass," Balkenbush said. "The important thing is to be there on the water during their annual run. The spring rains will help kick start spawning activity in some places where it hasn't already started."

The white bass is among Oklahoma's most widely distributed game fish. Excellent populations can be found in all regions of the state, including Broken Bow (southeast), Ft. Cobb (southwest), Canton (northwest), Oologah (northeast) and Hefner (central).

Story from the Wildlife Department.

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