I went white bass fishing today and had an extraordinary day – extraordinarily bad! We know it takes a few bad trips to appreciate the good, but this was the worst day of white bass fishing I’ve had in 40 years. After a couple of hours fishing I only had four or five fish to my credit.
I was shocked, ordinarily it doesn’t get any more reliable than white bass fishing. This time of year when I head to the East Fork of the Whitewater River above Brookville Reservoir I’m expecting to catch fifty to one hundred in a matter of a few hours.
Catches larger than that are possible if you want to spend the day.
Another reason I was shocked is that my long-time fishing partner, Bill Baumbauer, has been steadily catching whites for the past two weeks. Usually white bass aren’t that hard to catch. They leave Brookville Reservoir every year at this time in massive numbers and head upstream to spawn. This spawning ritual is no secret so fish on weekdays if you can.
Fly fishing is my preferred way to catch white bass. I use a sink tip line and small white or chartreuse streamers. I fish them on a five foot section of six pound mono. Don’t underestimate the value of a sink tip line in this fishing situation. If you have waders, bring them. Bank fishing can be tough.
Spin fishing can also be productive. I see anglers catching white bass on a variety of baits. Small spinners and twister tails are among the favorites. Once again the best colors are chartreuse and white.
Occasionally I see fisherman using live minnows, if that’s your thing go for it but it’s really not necessary. Pick an overcast day if you can. Evening fishing can be good as well. White Bass can be a little finicky when the sun is high and bright.
Ordinarily I highly recommend catch and release but in this case don’t be afraid to keep a few. White bass are a very prolific fish with a short life span. If you want to try your luck head east from Connersville on State Road 44. Once you see the river, the East Fork of the Whitewater River, turn left or right and veer towards the river. I’m sure you’ll see other cars there, don’t let that discourage you, there is plenty of river to fish.
Fishing should be good until mid May. Maybe even later, the white bass run seems to be running a little late this year.
Shadley’s interest in hunting, fishing and a ton of other outdoor activities started at a very young age. He was hunting and fly-fishing on his own when he was eleven; it’s always been his passion.
He was employed by the Indiana DNR as a conservation officer for 34 years. For the first 17 years, Shadley worked southeastern Indiana as a field officer. For the last 17 years he was in charge of Indiana’s Turn In a Poacher program (TIP) and was the chief public relations officer for the law enforcement division.
Since his retirement he’s spent most of his time fly-fishing, shooting sporting clays, hunting and photographing wildlife.
Shadley is Fishing Editor of the Sporting Report.