White Bass vs. Striped Bass: What’s the Difference?

The bass family is home to many subspecies, and most make great fishing targets. White bass and striped bass are two very similar subspecies that can harbor a fun bite on the water. Today we’ll explain the main differences between White Bass and Striped Bass (commonly called ‘Stripers’).

A couple of the key differences between white bass and striped bass include the body shape, size, number and pattern of stripes, and more.

Striped BassWhite Bass
AppearanceProminent horizontal stripes, slender bodyLess prominent stripes, rounded body
Size24-26″ and 10-25lbs10-12″ and 1lb
DietPlankton, insects, and baitfish Shad, larvae, and minnows
LocationAtlantic Coast and in the Gulf of MexicoNorth America


The appearance will be a differentiating factor as site fishing will be a strategy. Striped bass have more clear, standout horizontal stripes that stretch from the head to the tail. White bass’s stripes are not as prominent and have more hazy lines.

The shape between the two also differs slightly. White bass have a more rounded and tall body as striped bass are thicker around and a bit flatter from top to bottom. These might be hard to distinguish in the water, but it is best to look for the coloration and distinct lines of striped bass.

White Bass

White bass have a short, wider body and less prominent stripes

Striped Bass

Striped bass are slender with more pronounced stripes


Along with the appearance, size will be the most telling factor when looking at them in the water. White bass are 10-12 inches in length and 1 pound in weight, on average. The sizes can move both ways a little bit, but this is the standard size to look for.

The average size of striped bass is 24-26 inches and 10-25 pounds in weight. Right away, you can see this major difference in size. There is a large range of sizes with striped bass and whether they be freshwater or saltwater will make a difference. The biggest striped bass tends to be on the eastern coast of America.

Difference in Diet

The natural diet of a white bass includes shad, larvae, and minnows. Specific diets will always vary based on the body of water, but these are generally what white bass look for. It is also important to note that white bass are smaller than stripers, so the bait will also be the smaller size.

If you’re fishing for striped bass, lures work great. We wrote a separate article listing the 14 Best Lures for White Bass

Striped bass are a little different in their feeding approach as they are far less picky. They eat plankton, insects, and baitfish. Although plankton is super small, when it comes to baitfish, they can handle a larger shad than a white bass.

Fishing for striped bass? Try using a fish finder rig with live bait.

Where Do They Live?

White bass are found all over North America. This is the area of the world where white bass are found, and they can even be caught in all three countries on the continent. They are also found in many types of water bodies. White bass can be caught in ponds, huge lakes, and in slow spots of rivers. They love clear water and hard structure.

An adult white bass

Striped bass can live in freshwater or saltwater environments. In freshwater, they are found in large lakes, and saltwater brings them up the Atlantic Coast and in the Gulf of Mexico. Especially in the northeastern United States, huge stripers are targeted. Striped bass are one of the most popular surf fishing species.

Spawning Habits

The spawning season of a white bass starts in the spring, and a more specific time period will depend on the region. Texas, for example, will see spawning start in February, whereas it will not be until May in Minnesota. White bass bed on rocky flats and in protected areas to increase the likelihood of the spawn surviving.

An adult striped bass

Striped bass have a bit more complicated spawn process because there are both freshwater and saltwater offerings. Saltwater stripers move into freshwater tides and spawn in the spring when water temperatures increase. Freshwater stripers spawn similarly to other bass subspecies. Both move in between April and June to bed and spawn.

What is a Hybrid Striper?

When in the world of white and striped bass, it is important to talk about the hybrid striper. Hybrids basically merge stripers and white bass into one fish. This merger is seen in the size and body lines.

The weight range is usually 9-13 pounds, so it is that middle ground between the two previous subspecies. You will also see a darker black top and whiter belly. This contrast is a point you could see in real time. As the name implies, a hybrid bass is quite literally a hybrid of the two subspecies in question. For more infor, check out this article on hybrid striped bass.

More on White Bass

White bass is a unique subspecies of bass because it closely relates to yellow bass and white perch. When many people think of bass, the picture automatically goes to largemouth, but they are more related to a white perch than a largie.

White bass are great to eat. They have pure, white flesh, so it can easily be fried, grilled, and seared into a nice meal. Specific limits and sizing rules will depend on the location in which they are caught. This is both at the state and local levels. If you’re fishing for white bass, you should definitely check out our guide to the Best White Bass Tackle.

Conservation efforts are reliant on people following the rules and keeping populations healthy. There are even areas where white bass are stocked to help control shad populations, so it goes both ways.

More on Striped Bass

There are a few other names for striped bass other than the striper nickname. Linesider and rockfish are both names for striped bass you may hear.

Because of the unique ability to live in freshwater and saltwater, they are found all over North America. The renowned striper fishing is done on the east coast in the surf. There are even guide services in the region to get you hooked up with some monsters.

However, it was not always the rich hub it is now. Because of gross overfishing, the population was decimated a few decades ago. This prompted a revitalization in stocking and hatcheries, so now the Atlantic coast is a hub for striper fishing in a very healthy way.