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White Bass

White bass were once very abundant in Bull Shoals and Norfork Lakes but their populations have declined in recent years. However, White bass fishing remains good on these lakes. White bass run up creeks in early spring and spawn on gravel shoals. They require consistently high inflows in these creeks to be very successful. In the past few years, spring rains have not been sufficient to produce very good year classes. However, in 1996 Arkansas Game and Fish saw a marked increase in the number of young-of-year White bass in the summer which may indicate an upswing in the cycle. Both Bull Shoals and Norfork still have good numbers of White bass that provide excellent fishing opportunities, especially in late March when the spawning runs occur. In Bull Shoals there are significant runs in Howard Creek, Jimmie Creek, the Sugarloafs, Bear Creek, and several others. In Lake Norfork, the primary runs occur in the North Fork River and Bryant Creek in Missouri and smaller runs occur in other creeks on the lake. Occasionally in the summer and fall, White bass will be encountered schooling on the surface, feeding on young shad. At those times they are extremely susceptible to spoons, roadrunners, and jigs.

As with other sportfish, White bass grow fast on Bull Shoals and Lake Norfork. Bull Shoals holds the current state record at 5 pounds 5 ounces. White bass are relatively short-lived fish, rarely living past 5 years old.