For Texas anglers and fisheries biologists alike, heavy rainfall early in the year signals the beginning of a very exciting event – the annual white bass spring spawning run upstream from reservoirs into rivers and creeks. With ample moisture currently falling across the state, anglers could see schools of the popular sport fish concentrating in their local fishing holes very soon.
“We know anglers have been catching some male white bass since the beginning of February, but the spawn was delayed this year because the temperature and the water flows weren’t ideal,” said Richard Ott, Texas Parks and Wildlife Department Inland Fisheries District Supervisor for Tyler South. “What we’ve been waiting for is a good warm Gulf rain to come up here and entice female white bass to make their way up stream. The rain we had this week is going to turn things on for sure.”
White bass, also known as sand bass, are one of the top freshwater species preferred by Texas anglers both for sport fishing and for the dinner table. With recent rainfall boding well for white bass abundance across the state this spring, anglers should make plans to target this species in rivers and creeks above most reservoirs from now until early May. While most riverside property is privately owned, public access to high-quality white bass runs can be found at many Texas State Parks, Texas Paddling Trails, leased River Access and Conservation Area (RACA) sites and highway and bridge crossings.
Here are a few locations to get started:
San Gabriel River: Upstream of Granger Lake, anglers can find white bass fishing at a public access point called Dickerson’s Bottom, a.k.a. “The Steps.” This location can be found three-quarters of a mile east of SH 95 on County Road 347.
Neches River: Above Lake Palestine, anglers can find public access at Chandler River Park. This RACA site – also supported by the East Texas Woods and Waters Foundation – offers nearly 6,000 feet of river frontage for bank fishing and includes a boat ramp and kayak launch.
Sabine River: Above Toledo Bend Reservoir, anglers can find public access for white bass fishing at the Grand Bluff Boat Ramp, which offers 275 feet of river frontage and a single trailer boat ramp. This River Access and Conservation Area (RACA) site offers public fishing access through Aug. 31.
Frio River: Above Choke Canyon Reservoir, public access points for white bass fishing can be found at county road and highway crossings, including the Highway 99 bridge.
White bass action and public access points can also be found on the Guadalupe River above Canyon Lake; the San Gabriel River above Lake Georgetown; the Navasota River above Lake Limestone; the Llano and Colorado Rivers above Lake Lyndon B. Johnson; Yegua Creek above Lake Somerville; the Colorado and Pedernales rivers above Lake Travis; the Bosque River above Lake Waco; and the Brazos River above Lake Whitney. Directions to public access sites at these waterbodies can be found online here: https://tpwd.texas.gov/publications/pwdpubs/media/pwd_br_t3200_0022e.pdf.
A variety of artificial lures will work for anglers targeting white bass, and fisheries biologists recommend small jig fishing; small, medium-running crank baits, and even night fishing using lights. Anglers should pack a cooler if the fish are biting, as the limit for white bass is 25 per day with a 10-inch minimum length in most locations. More information on bag limits and fishing regulations can be found in the TPWD Outdoor Annual.
For more information about white bass identification, fishing patterns and life history and biology, visit TPWD online.