Department of Fish and Wildlife
Kentucky Afield Outdoors - The white bass runs are finally here
FRANKFORT, Ky. –
It is now the first of April. If you asked most Kentuckians what it feels like
weather wise, they would say it is the first of March.
The warm winds finally began to blow from the
South earlier this week and brought the white bass upstream with them.
The spawning runs
are finally here.
“Last week, in
Nolin River Lake, they were up to the Cane Run arm of the lake and should be
between Bacon Creek Ramp and Broad Ford by now,” said Rob Rold, northwestern
fisheries district biologist for the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife
Resources. “We’ve had a lot of warmer, sunny days lately and the water temperature
at Wax Marina was 54 degrees on Tuesday.”
breaking the 50 degree mark combined with rainfall signal to white bass that it
is time to move upstream to reproduce. They need a gently rising river along
with sun-warmed water to begin migrating from the main lake into the headwaters
of reservoirs such as Nolin River Lake, Taylorsville Lake, Cave Run Lake,
Herrington Lake and Lake Barkley.
Nolin River Lake has
arguably the best white bass population of any Kentucky reservoir. The really
good fishing occurs from Lick Run all the way upstream to Wheeler’s Mill. Bank
anglers have good access to both sides of Nolin River at the Nolin River
Voluntary Public Access Area (VPA) via KY 728 (Priceville Road) and Kesselring
Road. Bank anglers also fish at Bacon Creek Boat Ramp and at Broad Ford.
Boaters should not
venture upstream of Bacon Creek Boat Ramp as Nolin River Lake reverts back to
the pool and riffle habitat of the pre-impoundment river at this point, risking
the health of any boat motor’s lower unit.
Local anglers are
catching white bass around the KY 248 Bridge in the headwaters of Taylorsville
Lake in Anderson County. White bass run as far up the Salt River as the
once-vibrant river trading town of Glensboro in spring.
The headwaters of
Herrington Lake will be churning with white bass with the warming weather. This
historic run spawned lure inventions and a regional reputation for incredible
fishing. The legendary white bass fishery in Herrington Lake went through a
fallow period in the 1990s and early 2000s, but is now producing good numbers
of white bass from 12 to 14 inches long.
The good fishing starts
near Bryant’s Camp Boat Ramp and upstream into Rankin Bottoms, near the KY 52
Bridge between Lancaster and Danville. Bank anglers may access Rankin Bottoms
at the Dix River VPA site at the end of Rankin Road off KY 52 near the bridge.
This site grants over a mile of bank fishing for white bass.
temperatures just reaching the low 50s, white bass are moving into the upper
reaches of Lake Barkley. They are also hitting in the Cumberland River just
below Lake Barkley.
When the flows
modulate slightly after the recent rains, the white bass will be active below
locks and dams on the Green and Kentucky rivers.
White bass fishing
inspires such ardor in anglers because these fish strike practically anything
that comes near them during their spawning runs. No other fishing compares to
it when white bass are really on and biting. Bank anglers can enjoy fishing
just as good as those fishing from boats.
bass anglers invented the plunker and fly presentation, originally comprised of
a piece of broom handle with an eyelet screwed into it. They tied a piece of
heavy monofilament to the eyelet with a treble hook dressed in white marabou at
the other end. They cast this rig into the boils of feeding white bass and
popped the rod to draw the attention of white bass.
Modern anglers use
a white chugger-style topwater with the back hook removed. They tie a piece of
light braided or monofilament line to the eyelet of the hook and attach a
1/32-ounce marabou jig or a dressed treble hook to the business end. Some
remove both hooks to keep the rig from tangling on the cast. This presentation
still catches white bass as well as it did in the 1950s.
chartreuse 1/16-ounce marabou or feather jigs suspended under bobbers and
allowed to drift downstream also work extremely well on white bass. Adjust the
depth of the bobber until it disappears from a fish.
of practically any color, small silver spoons and white 2 ½-inch curly-tailed
grubs rigged on 1/8-ounce leadhead all score white bass.
White bass are
either right on top, a few feet deep or just above bottom. The depth you catch
them changes from day to day and sometimes from hour to hour. Keep probing the
water column until you find them. When they are mid-depth or deeper, the
curly-tailed grub is hard to beat.
The white bass are
here, signaling this dreadful winter is finally gone for good. Get out in the
next couple of weeks for the most exciting fishing found.