Becker, George C. / Fishes of Wisconsin
Temperate bass family - percichthyidae, pp. 787-797 ff. PDF (5.1 MB)
Yellow Bass 797 usually feed at mid-depths or near the bottom (Helm 1958, Shields 1965). In Lake Monona, during the summer months, large yellow bass were concentrated during the day in a power plant outfall area with water temperatures ap- proaching 35°C (95°F) (Neill and Magnuson 1974). Small- and medium-sized yellow bass were more abundant, day and night, in the unheated areas, and appeared to avoid the outfall areas. Burnham (1909) reported that this species is tolerant of water temper- atures higher than 32.2°C (90'F). In Lake Wingra during the spring, yellow bass did not move into the shallows until the water had warmed up to nearly 15'C (59°F). In the fall, they oc- curred in the shallows in reduced numbers when the water temperature dropped below 10'C (50'F), but none remained in the shallows when it dropped to 4°C (39.2°F) (Helm 1964). Young-of-year were cap- tured in Lake Wingra with seines in shallow water at night, but very few were ever captured in the same areas during daylight. The lake bottom was the pre- ferred habitat during daylight hours when light in- tensities were high. Some individuals tended to move up into the middle depths, and even to the surface, when light intensities were low. Kraus (1963) found that yellow bass were most ac- tive between 2000 and 0400 hr. Carlander and Cleary (1949) reported that the two main periods of activity for yellow bass in water over 3 m were from 2000 to 0200 hr and from 0800 to 1600 hr. It is generally agreed that the yellow bass is far less active in the daytime than it is at night. In the Wisconsin River at Spring Green (Sauk County), 22 yellow bass were associated with these species: quillback (1), river carpsucker (8), shorthead redhorse (6), golden redhorse (13), speckled chub (5), bullhead minnow (330), bluntnose minnow (137), emerald shiner (32), spotfin shiner (995), spottail shiner (1), weed shiner (1), river shiner (23), big- mouth shiner (3), brassy minnow (48), Mississippi silvery minnow (2), white bass (7), western sand darter (14), blackside darter (1), logperch (5), johnny darter (16), smallmouth bass (1), bluegill (1), and brook silverside (10). IMPORTANCE AND MANAGEMENT According to Shields (1965), small yellow bass pro- vide excellent forage for many species of fish, in- cluding larger yellow bass. In Lake Wingra (Dane County), yellow bass con- tributed 11% to the estimated total spring biomass in 1973, and 30% in 1974; in 1972, the estimated bio- mass of yellow bass was about 35-40 kg/ha (31-36 lb/acre) (Churchill 1976). In Lakes Waubesa, Monona, and Kegonsa in the Madison area, most anglers do not actively fish for yellow bass, but it is becoming common in catches in these lakes, whereas white bass are rarely taken; it has multiplied to the point where it now makes up 90% or more of the total white bass-yellow bass catch (Wright 1968). Whether the decline in white bass numbers is due to habitat deterioration, the intro- duction of the yellow bass, or a combination of these and other factors cannot be stated. Wright has sug- gested that the Madison lakes may be changing in such a manner as to confer a selective advantage upon the yellow bass. From a number of stations in Lake Winnebago during August 1960, I seined 707 yellow bass (mostly young-of-year) and only 76 white bass. The yellow bass is small, but quite gamy on light tackle. It will take almost any small lure or bait, in- cluding worms, minnows, cut-bait, flies, spinners, spoons, small plugs, and sometimes even flyrod poppers. In Wisconsin, the angling regulations for 1980 allow continuous fishing for yellow bass with no size or bag limit. The flesh of the yellow bass is white, firm, flaky, and delicious. It is often compared to that of the yel- low perch, and it is usually considered superior to the flesh of the white bass.
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