Spring white bass run brings area fishermen to the water
Local residents got their first taste of the spring white bass run last weekend as temperatures warmed and the fish began biting.
On Saturday, Tecumseh resident Bill Driscoll and a friend took to Norfork Lake at the Bridges Creek Access, locally known as Stump Hole, off County Road 551 (Smokey Road) and left with a stringer full of white bass and crappie.
Driscoll posted a photo on Facebook of his catch with the caption, “Springtime spawn is beginning!” Between the pair of friends, they took home 26 whites and a few crappie. Driscoll said he caught his fish, which were all males, on a 3-inch purple Pinn’s minnow.
Hardenville fishermen Justin Hubbard and son Karson also had luck at the Stump Hole, throwing an Alabama-rig setup Sunday.
“Caught them all in about 30 minutes,” Hubbard told the Times Monday. “A lot of times, we each had one on the line at the same time.”
By Sunday evening, action at the Stump Hole had shut down for some fisherman. Driscoll says finding that sweet spot in the water temperature is key.
“Cold fronts and water temperature is the issue. The water temperature was 51 degrees on Sunday evening. I find the best fishing is somewhere between 53 and 55 degrees,” Driscoll said.
Hubbard said the water temperature was 53.9 degrees during their big haul.
With air temperatures warming to nearly 70 degrees on Monday, fishermen were out in full force by afternoon –including Hubbard, who brought home another stringer full of fish. The Bridges Creek Access parking lot was full of vehicles and boat trailers Monday. A few trucks were also parked at the Tecumseh access with a handful of fisherman casting their lines from the banks. The access, which is set to undergo a $1 million renovation that will last through April 2020, is scheduled to be barricaded off anytime, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers project manager Mark Case told the Times at a Feb. 13 meeting held in Gainesville to discuss the renovations. However, those barricades were not yet in place Monday afternoon, and several fisherman had taken advantage of the open access to park their vehicles down in the sandy, debris-lined roadway.
Fishermen can fish for white bass and hybrids (a hybrid between a white bass and striper) all year long. Missouri fishing regulations limit fishermen to a daily limit of 15 white bass, hybrids or stripers. While the statewide regulation limits fisherman to up to four white bass, striped bass or hybrids longer than 18 inches per day, a special regulation on Lake Norfork, Bull Shoals Lake and its tributaries supersedes this regulation. Fisherman on those waters instead follow a specific regulation that limits fisherman to keep only 3 striped bass with a minimum length of 20-inches within that 15 fish aggregate. However, there is no regulation on length of white bass or hybrids on Bull Shoals, Lake Norfork or its tributaries.
A Missouri fishing permit is required for most fishermen except residents ages 15 and younger or 65 and older, among other exceptions. To buy a fishing permit or to view additional regulations, visit https://huntfish.mdc.mo.gov/permits/fishing-permit-information.