Thursday, May 17, 2012


May 17, 2012
KDWPT programs enhance fishing opportunity statewide
PRATT — May is the busiest month for Kansas anglers. Most sport fish species are in shallow water — some just done spawning and others just getting ready. All are more accessible to anglers and easier to catch now than at other times of the year. A look at state records and the Master Angler Award program provides more evidence.
The Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism (KDWPT) issues Master Angler Award certificates to applying anglers who catch fish as long or longer than minimum lengths set for each species (see KDWPT website or the 2012 Kansas Fishing Regulations Summary for minimum lengths and applications). Of the more than 200 certificates that are issued each year, more than 30 percent are caught in May. And 30 percent of the fish species listed as Kansas state records were caught during the month of May. For more information, look on the KDWPT website,, under “Fishing/Special Fishing Programs for You/Master Angler Award Program.”
Other KDWPT programs help anglers catch more fish. Under the Community Fisheries Assistance Program (CFAP), the agency uses matching funds from federal excise taxes on fishing equipment and motor boat fuel to lease fishing rights to nearly 240 community lakes statewide, removing fishing and boating fees for anglers on approximately 13,000 acres of water. The Urban Fishing Program stocks 80 lakes with 3/4- to 1 1/2-pound channel catfish, hybrid sunfish, and wipers as often as every two weeks from April through September. All cities with available public fishing waters and populations larger than 40,000 are served by this program.
A rising star among KDWPT fishing programs is the Fishing Impoundments and Stream Habitat (F.I.S.H.) program. The program enrolls 1,500 acres of ponds and more than 90 miles of streams on private land for public fishing access. The program includes ponds and lakes ranging from 5 acres to more than 100 acres, as well as access to stream reaches formerly unavailable to the public. F.I.S.H. sites are open to public access from March 1 through October 31. The 2012 Kansas Fishing Atlas, available wherever licenses are sold, provides detailed maps showing all public fishing waters in Kansas, including CFAP and F.I.S.H.
In addition to these programs, KDWPT conducts numerous fishing clinics for youngsters throughout the state, and several how-to fishing videos may be found on the KDWPT website under “Fishing/How to Fish.”
Finding the ideal fishing location is simple. Go to the KDWPT website and click "Fishing" at the top of the page, then “Where to Fish in Kansas” in the left-hand column. Public fishing waters also are listed in the Kansas Fishing Regulations Summary, available on the website or in printed form at KDWPT offices and license vendors around the state. The summary also provides a fish identification guide, length and creel limits, and a variety of additional information for anglers.
For information on fishing prospects, lake ratings for all sportfish may be found under Fishing Forecast. Anglers can report their own experiences and read those of others on the department's Public Fishing Reports page.
KDWPT is participating in Cabela’s Wanna Go Fishing for Millions? contest by tagging fish in the following Kansas reservoirs: Milford, Glen Elder, Cheney, Clinton, El Dorado, Cedar Bluff and Hillsdale. The competition began May 5 and gives anglers a chance to win as much as $2 million in cash and more than $225,000 in additional prizes by catching tagged fish in select lakes across 19 states. Anglers must register online at to participate in the contest. In addition, anglers must comply with Kansas fishing regulations and licensing and permit requirements.
If these programs are not enough to entice you to go fishing, check out Kansas Free Fishing Days, June 2-3. On these days, anglers of all ages may fish without a fishing license. Ordinarily, nonresidents 16 or older and residents age 16 through 64 must have a fishing license to fish in Kansas, but on June 2-3, everyone gets to fish for free, making this the ideal time to introduce youngsters to a healthy, challenging pastime that offers a lifetime of pleasure. So get out and enjoy the weather — fish Kansas!

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