Night fishing: Lights, whites, action!

It’s summer in Kansas, and that means daytime temperatures in the 90s and lake temperatures in the 80s. During the day, fishing can be tough. However, when the sun goes down, it’s a different story, and for anglers who love to catch hard-fighting and abundant white bass, there’s a secret weapon: the night light.

Young of the year gizzard shad are big enough to attract hungry white bass by early or mid-July. On calm days, you may see white bass chasing shad on the surface, and if you can get within casting distance, fishing can be good but usually short-lived before the school of whites goes back to deeper water. And you’ll have to deal with hot weather and heavy boat and personal watercraft traffic.

It’s a different story at night. The temperature cools, the wind dies, and recreational boaters crowd the ramps quitting for the day. Night anglers go against the grain and have the lakes to themselves. The first order is to locate fish, using sonar to search river channel breaks, mid-lake humps or other structure in 15-25 feet of water. When schools of gizzard shad are seen suspended over structure, it’s time to set the anchor.

Once the anchor takes hold, it’s time for the light. Most anglers use a submersible halogen light, which is set just below the boat hull and emits a bright halo. It’s almost mesmerizing to watch the light as shad begin showing up and circling. If all goes right, the disoriented shad will attract white bass, which hang just below and pick off stragglers.

That’s when anglers pick off the white bass, fishing jigs vertically. Watch the sonar to determine how deep the white bass are holding and try to adjust your jig to just above them. Some nights, the fishing can be as hot as the daytime temperatures.

A quick look at the 2017 Fishing Forecast,, shows Melvern, Clinton, Cedar Bluff, Cheney and Glen Elder to the be the Top Five reservoirs for white bass, both for numbers and quality sized fish. Night fishing for whites under the lights is a great way to enjoy the coolest part of the summer and catch lots of fish.