Yellow Bass Fishing

The yellow bass (Morone mississippiensis), also known as the barfish is a type of freshwater fish that is native to the southern and Midwestern parts of the United States of America. Although many people make the mistake of confusing it with the striped bass or the white bass, the yellow bass can be easily distinguished from these two types of bass thanks to its yellow belly as well as the broken pattern in its lowermost stripes. The name of the species – “mississippiensis” refers logically to the Mississippi River where it was first located and commonly found nowadays, as well as in Lake Michigan. It was introduced in Arizona in 1930.

The body has golden-yellowish sides along with 5 to 7 horizontal lines. These lines appear as broken and offset about midway on the lower side of the bass. The dorsal fins of the yellow bass are connected and the 2nd anal spine is approximately just as long as the 3rd anal spine. The bass has no patches of teeth on the tongue. Similar with the white bass and the striper, it belongs to the “true bass” family, as opposed to the sunfish family. In comparison with the white bass it is slightly smaller, measuring from 6 to 13 inches and with an average weight of 4 ounces to 2 pounds. Their lifespan is maximum 7 years.

Regarding its habitat, it can be found in the Salt River Reservoirs (Apache, Saguaro, Tempe Town Lake, Roosvelt and Canyon) as well as the Upper Lake Mary. Similar with the white bass, the yellow bass is known for being a schooling fish, relating to bottom structures more in comparison with the white bass. As far as their reproduction is concerned, they spawn from March until May as water temperatures approach 60 degrees. They prefer spawning over rocky gravel areas with water currents or circulation. The eggs are adhesive and sink as they are fertilized. In 4 to 6 days, the eggs hatch. These fish are known for being slow growers, reaching 4-5 inches the first year and growing only 1-2 inches per year thereafter. They reach sexual maturity (6-7 inches) in two years. The young fish feed primarily on fish, crustaceans, and insects. Adults often eat large quantities of fish, and may even cannibalize their own young. Schools are most often found in midwater or near the surface.

The yellow bass enjoys eating insects, crayfish, shad and small minnows. The most efficient lures used for fishing yellow bass are considered to be jigs, spinners, worms, minnows, small crankbaits and spoons. The meat quality of the yellow bass is quite good. The meat is white, firm and flaky. The red meat along the lateral line may taste a bit “fishy” so its removal will enhance table quality for many people.

The Alabama state record for the largest yellow bass ever caught is 2lb, 8 oz and was caught in the Guntersville Reservoir section of the Tennessee River back in 2000, on April 12th. The former record – 1lb, 9.5 oz was caught in the Inland Lake which is a tributary of the Locust Fork of the Black Warrior River system. However, the current world record belongs to Jim Raymer of Greenfield as he broke the existing 2 pound and 9 ounce yellow bass record by 6 ounces. The fish he caught measured 16,7 inches long and had a 12,7 inch girth

Although they are quite popular as a sportfish in the United States, some anglers consider them to be a small-sized nuisance because they are aggressive bait-stealers and seldom weigh more than a quarter pound. Their main threats are not anglers, but pollution and continuous habitat loss.