Saturday, June 30, 2012


Fireworks, fishing tournaments, poker runs headline July events
PRATT — As mid-summer nears, many Kansans look forward to Independence Day weekend — July 7-8 this year — and most park facilities should be ready for Fourth of July celebrations a few days after the actual holiday. These events highlight July at Kansas state parks, but other events are planned throughout the month. Many events are educational, and all make park visits more fun. Current dry, hot, windy weather increases the danger of grassfires. Check with local park offices for information on potential burn bans that may be in place.
For more information on state park events, phone individual parks or click the "Event Calendar" on the "State Parks" page of the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism (KDWPT) website, ksoutdoors.comTelephone numbers of all state parks offices may be found on the KDWPT website. Click "State Parks" at the top of the page, then "Locations" in the left-hand column.
The following is a list of Kansas state park events for July:
  • June 30-July 1 — individual fireworks at Lovewell State Park’s Pioneer Campground;
  • July 1 — Kansas Bass Federation Dream Team Fishing Tournament at Wilson State Park;
  • July 1 — Saddle Ridge Trail Riders at Hillsdale State Park;
  • July 2 — Fourth of July Celebration at Crawford State Park;
  • July 4 — Fourth of July Celebration at Prairie Dog State Park;
  • July 7 — Bash on the Beach at Meade State Park;
  • July 7 — Kanopolis Tower Harbor Marina Fireworks at Kanopolis State Park;
  • July 7 —Waconda Volleyball Tournament at Glen Elder State Park;
  • July 7 — volunteer trail workday at Clinton State Park;
  • July 7 — vintage boat show at Kanopolis State Park;
  • July 7 — Wilson Lake Area Association Boat Poker Run at Wilson State Park;
  • July 7 — firework display at Wilson State Park;
  • July 15 — sand castle contest at Lovewell State Park;
  • July 21 — Hays Bass Anglers Association Fishing Tournament at Wilson State Park;
  • July 21-22 — 2nd Annual Waconda Springs Indian Festival at Glen Elder State Park;
  • July 21 — Central Kansas Yacht Club Boat Poker Run at Kanopolis State Park; and
  • July 22 — Buddy Bass and Walleye Fishing Tournament at Hillsdale State Park.

Sunday, June 24, 2012


Publication ranks best beaches in each of 50 states plus District of Columbia
PRATT — To kick off the start of summer, USA TODAY asked local experts to select their favorite beach in each state and the District of Columbia. Scott State Park, north of Scott City, was tagged as having the “best” beach in Kansas.

“Lake Scott opens like a surprise package amidst the vast plains and farmland of western Kansas,” the publication stated in a May 29 article entitled “Just for Summer: 51 Great American Beaches.”
“Hidden in a wooded canyon of craggy cliffs, the park's spring-fed lake has a pleasant swimming beach with a playground and concession stand offering food, fishing supplies, canoes, and paddleboats. The 1,020-acre state park also has camping, hunting, nature trails, and historic sites.”

This is not the first national accolade for the area. In the 1980s, Scott was listed by National Geographic's Traveler magazine as one of 50 "must-see" state parks in the country.

The years that carved a canyon in this area and blessed it with natural springs and the consistently-flowing Ladder Creek also made possible construction of the 100-acre Scott State Fishing Lake, at the heart of the park. Because of these precious water sources, the lake level varies less than 10 inches in any given year, even in one of the most arid parts of the state. Located along the Western Vistas Historic Byway, the lake is a remarkable jewel in the crown of this area, which is surrounded by Ogallala rock formations rising 200 feet or more above the water. Some 150,000 anglers, campers, and nature lovers travel here each year to enjoy the scenery. Some come as far away as Europe, Asia, and the Middle East.
For more information on Lake Scott State Parks, visit the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism website,

Saturday, June 23, 2012


Courtesy MDC

Season runs July 1-Oct. 31; fishing license required

PRATT — It's already been a hot summer in the Sunflower State, and those who love outdoor activities are ready to beat the heat by pursuing bullfrogs in the cool of the night. They'll get their chance on July 1, when the bullfrog season begins.

Bullfrog hunting, or "frogging," as many people call it, is a great way to beat the oppressive summer heat. With days sweltering close to 100 degrees through much of June, the freedom of summer nights beckons with the call of the bullfrog. At this time, shorts and a T-shirt are all that's needed to cool off in the water and pursue this popular quarry.

Froggers can enjoy a season that runs July 1 through Oct. 31 although most frogging activity is in the hotter months of July and August. The daily creel limit is eight, with a possession limit of 24. While bullfrogs may be taken by hook and line, dip net, gig, bow and arrow, or crossbow (firearms not allowed), many froggers prefer to take them by hand. All that's needed is a flashlight, a sack, an old pair of tennis shoes, and some stealth. The only other necessary ingredient is access to a local pond, lake, or stream. A valid fishing license is needed, if required by law.

The best method is to walk quietly through the water at night and shine a bright light along the bank until a pair of glowing eyes appear. Temporarily blinded by the light, frogs can be grabbed or netted.

The fruits of this effort are not only fun times but good food. Frog legs are regarded as a delicacy and have a taste and texture resembling a cross of shrimp and fish. A popular way to cook them is to dip the legs in egg and then into a mixture of flour and corn meal, seasoning salt, and pepper. Then the legs are fried to a golden brown in oil. This gourmet meal is a bonus to a great summer evening that both kids and adults will always remember.

Friday, June 22, 2012


Safari Club International

Application deadline Aug. 1
MANHATTAN — The 10th Annual Youth/Handicap Assisted Deer Hunt is just three months away, and now is the time to sign up. The Riley County Fish and Game Association; Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism; and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers at Tuttle Creek Reservoir are seeking participants for the hunt, to be held Sept. 8 and 9.

Kansas youth 11 through 16 years old and Kansas residents with a certified disability are eligible to participate in this hunt. Participants will need a Kansas hunting license, a deer permit, and, if required by Kansas law, to take or have taken an approved hunter education course. Sponsoring agencies and associations can provide assistance meeting these requirements, including scholarships to help purchase licenses and permits. Rifles and/or ammunition can be provided, as well.

Each hunt participant will be paired with an experienced hunter who will serve as guide. Arrangements have been made with area lockers, where basic processing of harvested deer will be handled free of charge. Other items provided for this hunt include accessible hunting blinds, access to hunting property, hunter orange hats and vests, and transportation to the field.

Hunt participants will also be required to attend a firearm safety presentation and sight-in at the Fancy Creek Shooting Range at 4 p.m. on Sunday afternoon, Aug. 19.

Other groups and organizations contributing to this hunt include the Friends of Fancy Creek Range, Kansas City Chapter of Safari Club International, Kansas State Rifle Association, and the Tuttle Creek Lake Association.

For more information or an application, phone Steve Prockish at the Tuttle Creek Lake Corps of Engineers Office, 785-539-8511, ext. 3167, or email Applications will be accepted thru Aug. 1.

Thursday, June 21, 2012


Winners eligible for regional championships, college scholarships
RUSSELL — The Bass Federation (TBF), in partnership with Forrest L. Wood (FLW) Outdoors, will host the Student Angler Federation Kansas High School Fishing State Championship June 30 at Wilson Reservoir, near Russell. The state championship is a two-person team event for students in grades 9-12. The winning two-person team from each state championship will advance to an FLW Outdoors/TBF High School Fishing Regional Championship held in conjunction with a National Guard FLW College Fishing Regional Championship hosted on a college campus this fall.
Registration for high school anglers and their coaches, who will provide the boat they compete in, is available online at, by phoning 580-765-9031, or by emailing for more details.
Mandatory check-in begins at 7 p.m. on Friday, June 29, in the TBF tournament trailer at Wilson State Park’s Hell Creek Area boat ramp, with a mandatory rules briefing at 8 p.m. Teams are encouraged to preregister online or by phone in advance to avoid late-registration fees.
Students and parents can go to for details on the Student Angler Federation (SAF) and to sign up. Cost is $25 and includes a one-year SAF membership and full TBF and FLW Outdoors benefits, including access to FLW Outdoors Magazine e-Edition and insurance coverage for students and their club. The fee covers all SAF sanctioned events all year.
Each team that qualifies for a regional and/or national championship will receive a travel allowance to help offset expenses. The High School Fishing National Championship winners will each receive a $5,000 scholarship to use at the university of their choice.
An SAF-sanctioned event also includes an “angler testing” component. Anglers can take a free online test at about boater safety, conservation, and angler ethics, which makes them eligible for contingency awards at their state championship.
For more information, email The Bass Federation at, phone 580-765-9031, or go online to

Wednesday, June 20, 2012


Zebra mussels sign, Antrim - -...
(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

People can help stop Asian carp, zebra mussels, other species that threaten Kansas’ waters
TOPEKA — The Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism (KDWPT) recently launched a statewide campaign, Stop Aquatic Hitchhikers, to educate Kansans about the environmental and economic threats that aquatic nuisance species (ANS) such as zebra mussels and Asian carp pose to the state’s aquatic resources. Aquatic nuisance species are animals and plants not native to Kansas that can threaten lake and river ecology, harm native or desirable species, and interfere with the state’s economy. They often hitchhike with unsuspecting people, so an informed, watchful public can help protect Kansas waters.
Stop Aquatic Hitchhikers features animated Asian carp hitching a ride in a boat and includes a new website,; billboards; print advertisements; and TV and radio spots. It aims to alert the public to the threat of ANS and encourages people to visit, where they can learn more and use what they learn to help prevent the spread of ANS.
“Some people may not realize that these non-native species can affect them even if they don’t fish or boat,” says Jason Goeckler, Kansas ANS program coordinator. “Zebra mussels will attach themselves to anything below the water line. In addition to damaging boating and fishing equipment, they’ll foul rocky shorelines with their sharp, dime-sized shells, making it hard to walk or wade along the shore. They can also clog water intakes and damage power-generating facilities. In early May, the city of Council Grove experienced a temporary water shortage due to a thick layer of zebra mussels coating the inside of the intake tank at Council Grove City Lake.
“Asian carp consume as much as 40 percent of their body weight each day, competing with native fish for food and threatening the diversity and quality of other aquatic life,” Goeckler continues. “When young, Asian carp resemble native minnows and shad, which is one reason we adjusted our bait fish regulations to limit the use of wild-caught bait fish. When grown, Asian carp can weigh as much as 100 pounds, and they are prone to leaping out of the water when disturbed, posing a real physical threat to boaters.”
In an attempt to stem the spread of ANS, the Kansas Wildlife, Parks and Tourism Commission passed new regulations effective Jan. 1 of this year. The new regulations prohibit the movement of wild-caught live bait fish between bodies of water or up streams. They also require that vessels being removed from all waters in the state have livewells and bilges drained and drain plugs removed before being transported on any public highway.
“We realize that the new regulations require anglers and boaters to modify the way they fish and boat today,” Goeckler says. “But if we don’t take these steps, the way that we enjoy our waterways in the future will drastically change.”
For more information about aquatic nuisance species, go online to or contact Goeckler at 620-342-0658 or

Tuesday, June 19, 2012


June 14, 2012
New breeding grounds discovered in Kansas
EMPORIA — Surveys have now been concluded for the first range-wide assessment of lesser prairie chicken populations using common methods across portions of five states. The Lesser Prairie Chicken Interstate Working Group is composed of biologists from the state fish and wildlife agencies of Colorado, Kansas, New Mexico, Oklahoma, and Texas. The Working Group collaborated with federal agencies and West Ecosystems, Inc., of Laramie, Wyo., to conduct the large-scale, helicopter-based survey to locate lesser prairie chicken leks across the High Plains in all five states.
Leks, which are also referred to as gobbling grounds, are sites that the birds come to every spring for breeding. These surveys encompassed more than 300,000 square miles, and survey results will be used to produce the first statistically valid, five-state estimate of the number of leks by sometime later this summer.
The lesser prairie chicken has been considered a candidate under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) since 1998, and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will release a proposed rule on the status of the bird under the ESA in September. Information from these surveys will be used as a baseline by these five state fish and wildlife agencies to monitor trends in prairie chicken populations and to target conservation programs in partnership with private landowners, oil and gas industries, and wind-energy and electric utilities.
“These surveys will be the basis for a range-wide lesser prairie chicken management plan that is being developed by the five states in collaboration with the Western Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies Grassland Initiative,” said Jim Pitman, small game coordinator for the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism. “The plan is expected to be completed by next March, and we are hopeful that it will preclude the need for the Fish and Wildlife Service to designate the lesser prairie chicken as a federally threatened or endangered species.”
The surveys this spring detected several previously unknown leks, despite the severe drought that occurred across the region last year. They also detected leks in Kansas that are beyond what was thought to be the northern extent of the historic range of the species. Lesser prairie chicken numbers have been largely increasing in Kansas for the last 15 years while populations have declined in parts of the southern portion of the range. Biologists believe this northward expansion may represent a shift in the population of the species caused by improved habitat from native grasses planted through the federal Conservation Reserve Program.

Monday, June 18, 2012


June 14, 2012
Kansas and Arkansas rivers, portions of federal reservoirs open
PRATT — If you’re an outdoor adventurer looking for the thrill of your life, get ready for the Kansas flathead catfish handfishing season, which opens June 15. This exciting sport not only provides thrills, but bountiful, delicious table fare awaits those hearty souls willing to take up the challenge. Reaching under logs and other structure in dark, cool water for the muscled body of a 40-pound catfish is not for the faint of heart.
The season runs June 15-Aug. 31, and handfishers may catch flathead catfish using nothing but their hands and wits — no snorkel or scuba gear, hooks, or manmade devices may be used. Although such anglers may be few, the season offers a special challenge at a time when summer heat has slowed many other types of fishing.
In addition to a limited season, there are restrictions during the handfishing season. Only flathead catfish may be taken, and legal handfishing hours are sunrise to sunset. A special $27.50 permit is required in addition to a regular fishing license. A stringer may be used but not until the fish are caught by hand and are at or above the surface of the water. No man-made object that attracts fish — such as a barrel, box, bathtub, or any other object — may be used. The season is only open in the following waters:
  • the entire length of the Arkansas River;
  • all federal reservoirs from beyond 150 yards of the dam to the upstream end of the federal property; and
  • the Kansas River from its origin downstream to its confluence with the Missouri River.
Everyone who purchases a handfishing permit will be given a questionnaire they must complete and submit no later than 30 days after the close of the handfishing season. Handfishing permits may be purchased online or at select locations around the state. To find vendors or purchase permits online, go online to


English: Night shot of whitetail deer eating.
(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

PRATT — The Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism (KDWPT) has completed the nonresident deer permit drawing for the 2012 seasons, and for those applicants who were unsuccessful, there’s good news: more than 4,000 permits are left over in other units after the initial drawing. These permits will be sold online at on a first-come, first-served basis beginning at 12:01 a.m. June 18. Click License/Permits on the home page.
Those hunters whose favorite unit does not have leftover permits may purchase a permit for an adjacent unit, if it has leftover permits, then select their favorite unit as the adjacent unit where they may also hunt. The following table shows the number of permits originally allocated in units with leftover permits, as well as the number of permits left over after the nonresident drawing.
# of Leftover Permits
Date Leftover Permits Sold Out
Nonresident hunters who were successful in the drawing should expect their permits in the mail about the second week in June. Those who were unsuccessful — more than 600 applicants — will be notified about the same time. Applicants can check the number of deer permits by unit that are still available online at the KDWPT website,, under “Hunting/Applications-and-Fees/Deer/Quotas-and-Draw-Stats.” Department staff will update this site frequently.
Applicants can check the status of individual applications at

Monday, June 4, 2012


May 31, 2012
Shallow points, flats, and underwater roadways lure anglers to big fish
PRATT — Many anglers pursue walleye in late March and early April, when breeding fish move onto the rip-rap of lake dams to spawn. But the best time to catch walleye is in May and June, when water temperatures warm and walleye move into shallows to feed. At this time, walleye fishing heats up over shallow points, flats, and underwater roadbeds, where walleye feeding is most intense.
While a boat gives an angler more access to lake structure, walleye can also be caught by wading anglers. Look for fish in water 3 to 15 feet deep, along shallow points and submerged roadbeds.
These post-spawn walleye are often aggressive and can be caught trolling with crankbaits or drifting a jig and night crawler combination. Jig size varies depending on the amount of wind and water depth, but usually a - or -ounce jighead works well. Popular lure colors include chartreuse, red, orange, pink, and white.
According to the Kansas Fishing Forecast, the best walleye fishing reservoirs this year are Webster, Kirwin, Glen Elder, Milford, and Cedar Bluff. And anglers shouldn't overlook smaller community lakes. The best smaller lakes rated are Pratt County Lake, Banner Creek Lake near Holton, Lower Barber State Fishing Lake, Herington City Lake, and Jeffery Energy Center Make-Up Lake.
Much credit for successful walleye fishing in Kansas can be attributed to the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism’s (KDWPT) aggressive walleye stocking program. This year, KDWPT fisheries biologists harvested approximately 100 million walleye eggs and stocked almost 54 million fry. In addition, length limits allow walleye to grow to reproductive age, and in some reservoirs, prime habitat produces excellent walleye populations year after year.
Because of their size and reputation as great table fare, walleye are among the most popular sportfish in Kansas. Take advantage of this great angling resource. Conditions for walleye fishing can change daily, so visit the KDWPT Fishing Reports for the latest information.

Sunday, June 3, 2012


Image representing iPhone as depicted in Crunc...
Image via CrunchBase
ree Kansas State Parks Pocket Ranger® is ideal phone app for enjoying Kansas outdoors
PRATT — Just in time for summer travel season, the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism (KDWPT) has launched the Kansas State Parks Pocket Ranger® app — a free, interactive mobile guide to Kansas state parks. The Kansas State Parks Pocket Ranger® app is designed to provide information and technology to guide and enhance the state park experience and to provide added safety and enjoyment for nature lovers and outdoor enthusiasts at all of Kansas’ 26 state parks.
The Pocket Ranger® app offers interactive GPS and mapping technology for tracking trails, marking waypoints, and locating landmarks in state parks. Users are also able to locate friends within parks using the Friend Finder feature. The Alert feature supplies GPS coordinates to designated contacts in case of an emergency. Guests can also cache (store) park maps in advance, so they can still navigate if they lose mobile reception. The GeoChallenge feature offers the novice explorer or more adventurous geocacher various geoquest activities and games throughout the year to guide them on their quests.
In addition to its state-of-the-art GPS technology, the Kansas State Parks Pocket Ranger® app has other tools that make exploring state parks a breeze. Visitors can decide which park to visit using a comprehensive list of activities or search for a park within a particular region. A Calendar of Events helps visitors find upcoming events for each park. Park rules and regulations are a click away, which is especially helpful to anglers and sportsmen. Users can even reserve a campsite or cabin using the Pocket Ranger® to navigate to KDWPT’s new online cabin and campsite reservation site.
The free Kansas State Parks Pocket Ranger® app is available on the KDWPT home page at, on iTunes, in the iPhone Apps Store, and online at and will soon be available for Android phones. Blackberry and feature phone users can use the mobile website version of the Kansas State Parks Pocket Ranger®.
The Pocket Ranger Mobile Tour Guide tutorial is available at For more about Pocket Ranger®, go online to

Saturday, June 2, 2012


May 31, 2012
Special events, free park entrance days to be held at many parks
PRATT — During the weekend of June 2-3, anglers of all ages may fish without a fishing license statewide. Ordinarily, nonresidents 16 or older and residents age 16 through 64 must have a fishing license to fish in Kansas, but on Free Fishing Days, everyone gets to fish for free. Many Kansas state parks offer free admission and special events during Free Fishing Days and the excitement continues throughout the month. Special events, some in conjunction with Free Park Entrance Days, are designed to entertain park users who want to explore the history or geology of an individual park, as well as those who just want an excuse to celebrate something “more” than camping, swimming, boating, hiking, and all the other pleasures offered by Kansas state parks.
June events are diverse and may include anything from fishing tournaments and outdoor concerts to mountain bike and equestrian events. Many involve outdoor education. For more information on state park events, phone individual parks or click the "Events Calendar" on the "State Parks" page of the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism (KDWPT) website,
Park goers are urged to phone the park they intend to visit before traveling. Telephone numbers of all state parks also may be found online on the KDWPT website. Click "State Parks" at the top of the page, then "Locations" in the left-hand column.
Events for June:
  • June 2 — Free Park Entrance Day at Prairie Dog State Park;
  • June 2 — National Trails Day at Fall River State Park;
  • June 2 — Free Park Entrance Day at Glen Elder State Park;
  • June 2 — 5K run/walk at Pomona State Park;
  • June 2 — Kids fishing derby at Pomona State Park;
  • June 2 — 8th Annual Youth Fishing Tournament at Glen Elder State Park;
  • June 2 — Kid's fishing clinic at Milford State Park;
  • June 2-4 — OK Kids Day at Prairie Dog State Park;
  • June 2 — Trails workday at Clinton State Park;
  • June 2 — Hays Recreation Center 15K and 5K trail runs at Wilson State Park;
  • June 3 — Kids fishing derby at Lovewell State Park;
  • June 8 — Western Extralite Company Fishing Tournament at Wilson State Park;
  • June 8-10 — Hell Creek Hoedown Bluegrass Festival at Wilson State Park;
  • June 9-10 — Rocky Mountain Team Series Fishing Tournament at Wilson State park;
  • June 9 — Lori and Randy Knippa Benefit Horse Trail Ride at Hillsdale State Park;
  • June 10 — Kansas 70.3 Ironman Triathlon at Clinton State Park;
  • June 16 — Kansas Buddy Bass Fishing Tournament, OK Kids Day at Wilson State Park;
  • June 17 — Kansas Walleye Association Fishing Tournament at Wilson State Park;
  • June 23-24 — Country Stampede Music Festival at Tuttle Creek State Park;
  • June 23-24 — Western Nebraska Bass Fishing Tournament at Wilson State Park;
  • June 23 — Twin Rivers Bass Club Fishing Tournament at Pomona State Park;
  • June 23-24 — Governor’s Cup Walleye Fishing Tournament at Glen Elder State Park;
  • June 23 — National Truck Owners Car Show and barbecue at Hillsdale State Park;
  • June 24 — Twin Rivers Bass Club of Emporia Bass Tournament at Eisenhower State Park;
  • June 24 — Heartland Coursing whippet racing event at Clinton State Park;
  • June 30 — Bass Federation of Kansas State High School Fishing Championship at Wilson State Park;
  • June 30-July 1 — Miami County Bass Club fishing tournament at Wilson State Park; and
  • June 30 — Friends of Fancy Creek Range Kids Day at Tuttle Creek State Park’s Fancy Creek Range.