White Bass

Illustration by Duane Raver
(Enlarge photo)

Scientific Name: Morone chrysops

Classification: Game Fish

Abundance: Large reservoirs in the Mountain and Piedmont region of NC.

White Bass and White Perch Identification (PDF)


White bass (Photo by NCWRC)

State record white bass (5 lbs., 14 oz., Kerr Reservior by Jim King; 3/15/1986)

Additional Information

The top and the upper body of this fish are usually silvery-gray to blue with a white-to pale-green side. The white bass usually has faint horizontal stripes or lines on its sides, which can often be difficult to see. The front dorsal fin is slightly separated from the rear dorsal fin. Smaller individuals are sometimes confused with white perch; however, white bass have one tooth patch on the back of the tongue, while white perch do not. The white bass has a deeper-bodied silhouette and is considerably smaller than its cousin, the striped bass.

In North Carolina, white bass are native to the rivers in the western part of the state that flow to the Mississippi. However, they have been widely introduced into rivers that flow to the Atlantic Ocean, such as the Catawba and Yadkin rivers. White bass often travel in schools, chasing baitfish in the open waters of lakes and large rivers. As a result, they are rarely associated with cover. Schools of white bass often chase baitfish to the surface. This splashy commotion, often called “jumps,” provides great fishing to anglers who locate them. White bass are active feeders during the spawn and can be caught in great numbers at this time. Adults feed on zooplankton, aquatic insects, small fish, crayfish and other aquatic animals.

The white bass is classified as an inland game fish.

The following fishing regulations are effective Aug. 1 of each year.

Inland Fishing Regulations
Regulatory authority between the Wildlife Resources Commission and Division of Marine Fisheries. Inland game fish regulations include Manner of Taking, Seasons and Using Trotlines and Set-hooks.

Warmwater Game Fish
Game fish size and creel limits. Also, Bass and Morone (striped bass) Identification Charts.

Fishing Tips:

Anglers often have success fishing with live minnows or shad and artificial lures, such as jigs, spinners, spoons and small crankbaits.

Places to Fish:

White bass can be found in practically all of North Carolina’s large reservoirs. Look for spawning white bass in the upper tailraces and major tributaries of these lakes during the spring. Look for schools of feeding white bass, or jumps, during the summer and fall on the main portion of these lakes.


Summaries (One-page Fact Sheets)

2017 - Effects of a Regulation Change on White Bass in Jordan Lake (PDF)