White bass run in Highland Lakes might be delayed
The annual white bass run in the Highland Lakes might be a little late this year due to the ice and snowstorm that rocked Texas in mid-February, but it could also begin any day now, according to Jay “Fish Bird” Frasier, a local fishing guide. Frasier is also the expert angler who reports on Highland Lakes fishing news each week on the “Fishing Report” on KBEY 103.9 FM Radio Picayune.
“It has a lot to do with the water temperature,” Frasier said. “When the temperature reaches about 60 to 65 degrees, that's when they really want to do their thing.”
Their “thing” is spawning. Fish head up the rivers and creeks looking for mates and food, since the extra activity makes them extra hungry.
The temperature change will definitely change spawning, said Jeff Conway, manager of Inks Dam National Fish Hatchery. Conway’s expertise does not extend to white bass, but he does see a lot of them when they begin their annual run. They head right past the hatchery as they make their way up the Colorado River.
“Everything in a coldwater fish life cycle is determined by temperature and light cycle,” Conway said. “We’ve messed with the photo period and the light, and we can make them spawn at any time of the year.”
What Conway doesn’t know is how long the delay in spawning will be after the week of ice, snow, and sub-freezing temperatures that occurred in mid-February. It all depends on whether any more cold fronts come through and how quickly the warm weather takes over, Frasier said.
“We just need a few warm days and a few warm nights,” he said. “The nights have a lot to do with it. When the nights are in the 60s and 70s, that is when it really gets started.”
Frasier also looks up in the trees to help determine the best white bass fishing.
“When the fruit trees bloom, that’s a sure enough good time,” he said. “I haven’t seen any yet.”
When he does, he will have his lures lined up and ready to go. For white bass, he uses small jigs, small crankbaits, and small spinner baits.
Conway invites anglers angling for a white bass run to bring their lures, rods and reels, and fishing licenses to Inks Dam National Fish Hatchery.
“We are open to the public,” he said. “Anyone with a Texas fishing license can use the hatchery to access fishing.”
Inks Dam National Fish Hatchery is located at 345 Clay Young Road in Burnet.
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