Annual white bass run arrives in Texas

A white bass from Richard Chambers Reservoir. (Courtesy Photo)

AUSTIN The annual white bass run, a treasured tradition for anglers across Texas, has officially begun.

Each spring, white bass run upstream from reservoirs into rivers and creeks to spawn, creating prime fishing opportunities for new and seasoned anglers. White bass can be targeted from the bank, motorized boat or paddle craft in multiple publicly accessible locations throughout the state.

White bass, also known as sand bass, are a popular freshwater species preferred by Texas anglers both for sport fishing and for the dinner table. 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.

East Texas may have the most promise this year for anglers to pursue white bass. Rains during the last several weeks increased river levels and water flows are normal for this time of year. Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) biologists predict a good year for white bass fishing and in deep East Texas, the Sabine River above Toledo Bend reservoir is the top fishery. Reports indicate that fish have already moved up-river in large numbers. The Neches River above Lake Palestine is also a prime spot for white bass in East Texas.

In Central Texas, the Hill Country and South Texas, the run could be hit and miss due to some rivers and reservoirs currently experiencing low water levels and low flows. These conditions could impact the timing and size of the white bass run. One exception in Central Texas is the San Gabriel River above Granger Lake where TPWD biologists indicate potential for a good run.

Here are a few locations to get started:

Brazos River: Fuller’s Folly River Ranch and Sandy Bottoms River Company are recent site additions to the RACA program upstream of Lake Granbury. Reports indicate water flow remains below normal overall, but TPWD staff are hopeful that recent rain events with the potential for more in early spring, will support a good run from Lake Granbury into the upstream section of the river.

San Gabriel River: Upstream of Granger Lake, three-quarters of a mile east of SH 95 on County Road 347 in Williamson County, anglers can find white bass fishing at a public access point called Dickerson’s Bottom, aka “The Steps,” in the Granger Wildlife Management Area.

Neches River: Above Lake Palestine, anglers can find public access at Chandler River Park featured in this TPWD YouTube Video. This RACA site offers nearly 6,000 feet of river frontage for bank fishing and includes a boat ramp and kayak launch.

Llano River: The Kingsland Slab RV Camp provides access to the river, with 750 feet of river frontage along the Llano River. This RACA) site offers free public fishing access and is located at 7300 River Oaks Dr. in Kingsland.

Sabine River: Above Toledo Bend Reservoir in Panola County, 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 RACA site offers free public access to the Black Shoals fishing hole located about 3 miles upstream.

Frio River: Above Choke Canyon Reservoir, anglers can find public access points for white bass fishing at county road and highway crossings, including the Highway 99 bridge crossing and boat ramp in McMullen County.

Colorado River: Above Lake Buchanan, bank anglers can fish for white bass at Colorado Bend State Park. The park offers a boat ramp (currently closed to motorboats) and bank access.

Public access points for the white bass run 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 Colorado River 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.

TPWD recommends that anglers check the water levels and river flows before heading to their favorite location.

A variety of artificial lures and flies will work for anglers targeting white bass, including small jigs, crank baits and streamers. Night fishing using lights or around lighted docks can also be effective. White bass are excellent table fare for anglers looking for versatile and healthy source of protein. The daily bag limit for white bass is 25 with a 10-inch minimum length. More information on fishing regulations can be found in the TPWD Outdoor Annual.

For more information about white bass identification, fishing patterns, life history, biology and access to public sites visit the White Bass Fishing in Central Texas website.