True Bass of Arkansas


True Bass of Arkansas are aggressive game fish, popular with many anglers.

From bank fishing at the Arkansas river Dams to the open water of the large reservoirs, True Bass provide anglers with a diversity of fishing opportunity.

Smallmouth and largemouth bass are actually members of the sunfish family.

True bass and black bass not only differ in appearance, but also in habitat requirements and spawning behavior.

True Bass of Arkansas

True bass are distinct in appearance. They are generally silvery white in color and most have dark horizontal lines along their sides. True bass are spiny-rayed fish with strong spines in their dorsal (back), anal (bottom rear), and pelvic (bottom front) fins. They have two separate, or only slightly connected, dorsal fins and numerous small teeth.

True bass spawn or reproduce in the spring. Adult bass migrate into rivers or shallow water areas of lakes to disperse their eggs. They are broadcast spawners, simply releasing the eggs into the water. Eggs hatch quickly, within two to four days. Unlike other fish, such as black bass, true bass do not build nests and do not provide parental care for the young.

True bass release a tremendous number of eggs during spawning.
A single female striped bass has been known to release as many as four million eggs!
This huge number of eggs makes up for the lack of parental care and helps make sure enough young fish survive.

Bass feed on a wide range of organisms. Young bass eat insects and crustaceans. Older bass primarily eat small fish. True bass are schooling fish and can act together in an organized method of feeding. White bass are especially known to herd schools of baitfish to the surface. The bass then attack in a "feeding frenzy," often forcing the baitfish to jump out of the water.

True bass are among some of the most exciting freshwater fish species in Arkansas.
Ranging in size from six to 55 inches, these bass can provide fishing opportunity for all kinds of anglers.

As a group, true bass are aggressive game fish and put up a good fight when hooked. During feeding, they will often strike just about anything you put in the water. If anglers locate one of these feeding concentrations, fishing action can be fast and furious.

At one time, several species of true bass were important commercial fish species. However, for some, declines in catch and market value reduced their commercial value.

The one exception is for striped bass which remains one of the more sought after species on the east coast.

Two species of true or temperate bass and one hybrid are found in Arkansas waters: striped bass, white bass, and hybrid bass.
A brief description of each is provided in the chart.

Striped Bass
Morone saxatilis

The Striped Bass speed, power, and large size makes them one of the most exciting sport fish known.
Striped bass or "stripers" are the largest of Arkansas temperate basses.

 They are easily distinguished by the seven to nine dark horizontal lines found along their sides, two to three of which extend from the head to the base of the tail.

 Unlike white bass, stripers have a streamlined body shape, with the depth of the body generally less than the head length. In addition, striped bass have two patches of teeth on the tongue.

Smaller striped bass in the ten to 20 pound range generally travel in large schools. Older and larger fish are usually in small "pods" of only a few fish.

Stripers broadcast their eggs near the surface over deep water that has some current or turbulence. The semi-buoyant eggs drift with the current and hatch in two to four days. By early summer, young striped bass move to shallow water .
Anglers use a variety of methods and tackle to catch these incredible fighters.

Although boat fishing provides the best catches, shore anglers take their share of fish.

White Bass
Morone chrysops

White bass occur in the open water habitat of large lakes and reservoirs, as well as some large streams and rivers. They prefer clear water over firm bottom and usually travel in large schools. Sometimes confused with striped bass, white bass can be distinguished by their deeper body shape and single tooth patch on the tongue. In addition, white bass have only one of their dark stripes run the entire body length from head to tail.

Spawning takes place in tributary streams, near shore areas. Female white bass release their eggs near the water surface. The eggs sink and attach to rocks, sticks and bottom vegetation and hatch within two to four days.

White bass are fast growing .
 White bass are known for feeding at the surface in large schools.
They primarily eat insects and small shad and minnows.

White bass are locally popular sport fish. Their aggressive nature and schooling tendency make them one of the easiest fish to catch. The best fishing is in spring when schools of white bass move inshore. Casting or trolling streamer flies, jigs, spinners, and spoons or still fishing with minnows will produce good catches. Since white bass often feed near the surface, be sure to keep lures and bait off bottom.

Hybrid Bass
Morone saxatilis cross Morone chrysops

Hybrid bass are a cross between female striped bass and male white bass. They were originally developed to provide large sport fish that have the fighting quality of striped bass and feed on open water prey fish. Hybrid bass are stocked in waters with large populations of forage fishes and do not compete with sunfishes or black bass.

Hybrid bass are similar in appearance to both parents. They have two patches of teeth on their tongues like striped bass, but are deep-bodied like white bass. The dark stripes found on hybrid bass are usually broken into short dashes.

Hybrid bass are fast growers. reaching eight inches in length in the first year and are double that by age three. Adult hybrid bass feed in open waters and primarily eat forage fish, such as tredfin and gizzard shad.

Hybrid bass are popular sport fish. They are hard fighting and good eating.

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