Lake Washington: A trophy white bass destination

The author holds a couple trophy white bass from Lake Washington. (Photo by Dakota Fleming)

The white bass is a target species for many anglers, and I have found a white bass destination here at Lake Washington. They are prolific spawners and make their annual runs in massive numbers, offering fishermen excellent opportunities to catch these hard fighters for fun and food. White bass can be caught with a multitude of fishing gear, making them an obvious target for fishermen of all experience levels.

White bass start spawning earlier in the spring than other species. This allows the angler to get on the water earlier in the year. Long time white bass anglers say that the white bass begin their spawn when the redbuds bloom. The redbuds are blooming here on Lake Washington, I saw one going to get my coffee this morning.

Spring rain and water temperatures between 55°-60°F are vital for a productive river spawn. White bass have adapted to lakes as well and can grow to massive size for their species. This is especially true where forage, like shad and crawfish, are available in healthy numbers. The same fertile waters here on Lake Washington that help grow giant crappie and bluegills also contribute to trophy-sized white bass. I was able to land a 4-pound 2-ounce white bass on the Li’L Tuffy Swimbait and I saw many more around that weight caught here during my stay. White bass are aggressive feeders and when you locate a school you can catch one on every cast.

White bass in the spring

I was fortunate to be in the boat with Dakota Fleming. Fleming has several bass Angler of the Year trophies regionally and has now stepped up to the major tours to fish. Fleming fishes Lake Washington regularly and loves to hit white bass hot spots when the largemouth aren’t cooperating. He knew where a great spot was and took me there to catch a few. I asked Fleming where to look for white bass in the spring on Lake Washington.

“White bass like some wind where they spawn,” he said. “Unlike other species that prefer a protected bay, white bass need moving water for a successful spawn. So, points that are on the outside of these coves and exposed to the wind is where I find them in great numbers during spring.”

I wanted to know where to find white bass when the spawn was over. Fleming informed me that after the white bass spawn they can be hard to catch for a little while. After the post-spawn lull, you will find them cruising open water chasing baitfish. This will go on throughout the summer until they come shallow again in the fall.

I asked Fleming what his favorite lure was to catch white bass.

“It’s a squarebill crankbait and it works great when the white bass are up shallow,” he said. “Even when the white bass are out in open water, they are often only a few feet deep. My squarebill will get down to them up until the heat of summer when they go deep. There’s lots of different baits you can use but I like the squarebill the best, especially in the spring. Another good bait is a small swimbait like the Li’L Tuffy you’re using. It’s great for fishing all types of cover and can be fished shallow or deep and white bass love a little minnow bait like that.”

Fleming finished as another giant white bass hammered his squarebill.

Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply