Monday, December 17, 2012


English: Rainbow trout

Trout season is in full swing, providing great winter fishing fun
PRATT – The Kansas state record rainbow trout weighed 15.43 pounds. That’s not a typo; the official state record really weighed more than 15 pounds. Nicole Wilson caught it last March while fishing at Lake Shawnee in Topeka.
Kansas trout fishing is a wintertime activity. With one exception, the cold-water fish won’t survive a Kansas summer, but they do fine when stocked from November-April. There is a strip-mined lake on the Mined Land Wildlife Area in Cherokee County where cool spring flows allow trout to survive year-round. All other Kansas trout waters are stocked periodically throughout the trout season, Nov. 1-April 15, 2013.
Trout fishing is a great way to get out of the house on a warm winter day and enjoy some fishing. If you’re 16 or older, you’ll need a Trout Permit, which is $12.50 and valid through the calendar year. All resident anglers 16-75 (anglers 65-74 need a fishing license beginning Jan. 1, 2013) will also need a fishing license. Anglers 15 and younger may fish for trout without a trout stamp, but they may only keep two trout per day. An angler with a Trout Permit may keep five trout per day, unless a more restrictive creel limit is posted.
More than 30 waters are stocked with trout, and they are divided into two categories, listed in the Kansas Fishing Regulations Summary. All anglers 16 and older fishing on Type 1 Trout Waters must have a Trout Permit. On Type 2 waters, only anglers fishing for or possessing trout must have a Trout Permit.
Revenues from the sale of Trout Permits allow the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism to purchase trout from contracting hatcheries for stocking. Contracts require catchable-sized trout along with a percentage of larger fish, so there is always the chance to catch a lunker. Most trout stocked are rainbows, but there are some brown trout stocked in the Kanopolis Seep Stream and Mined Land Unit No. 30.
Anglers use a variety of techniques to catch Kansas trout. Many still-fish commercial baits such as Berkley PowerBait, usually on or near the bottom. Others prefer to cast small spinners, spoons, or jigs on light tackle. And others choose to use fly tackle. Winter water is clear, so light line and ultra-light tackle is recommended. Even though these fish have been raised in hatcheries, they can be as finicky as their wild counterparts. Keep switching lures, flies and presentation until you find the combination that works. No matter how you catch them, winter trout are great fun and tasty when slow grilled or smoked fresh.
For more information on Kansas trout fishing, consult the 2012 Kansas Fishing Regulations Summary, available wherever licenses are sold and online at A complete list of stocking schedules can be found online at:

Sunday, December 16, 2012


Online reservation system allows reservations up to a year in advance
PRATT – If you’re making plans for next year’s state park fun, you can reserve your favorite campsite or cabin up to a year in advance, beginning at 12:01 a.m., Dec. 15. You can also purchase your 2013 permits and licenses beginning Friday, December 14, 2012, and all issuances will be valid through the rest of 2012 and all of 2013.
Camping and cabin reservations guarantee the holder their spot will be open and ready when they arrive at the park. All Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism’s (KDWPT) 121 cabins can be reserved year-round. About half of each individual park’s sites may be reserved for the camping season which is April 1-Sept. 30, 2013.
It’s never been easier to reserve a cabin or campsite. Last spring, KDWPT unveiled its Outdoor Recreation Management System (ORMS), which provides reservation services and much more.
In addition to allowing customers to make reservations from the comfort of home, photos of each campsite and whether it’s available will be hosted online. In most cases, ORMS will save park users money through reduced service fees and more efficient management. The system also will allow staff to mark sites with problems — such as broken hydrants or electrical issues — until these issues can be fixed. ORMS data will show which sites are used the most, making management planning more efficient. ORMS will allow park staff to look within the system to see what sites are full and who is on that site, making emergency notifications much faster.
For those who still prefer using a phone, park staff can use ORMS to help callers with reservations.
Payment in full is required at the time a reservation is made. Reserving a cabin requires a non-refundable $14 reservation fee. Reserving a campsite requires a non-refundable $3 reservation fee per campsite.
And remember the $15 Kansas State Parks Passport annual vehicle permit will be available during your vehicle registration process in 2013. It saves money and is convenient. Regular annual state parks vehicle permits for $25 are still available at KDWPT offices, and daily vehicle entrance permits are $5. Annual vehicle permits for seniors and persons with disabilities are still available through department offices for $13.75.

Saturday, December 15, 2012


Permits help conservation groups raise money
PRATT – Seven numbers will be drawn by Kansas Wildlife, Parks and Tourism commissioners at their scheduled public meeting in January. The numbers will represent state conservation organizations that applied for the coveted Commission Big Game permits, which can be auctioned off to raise money for conservation projects.
Any Kansas-based nonprofit organization that actively promotes wildlife conservation and the hunting and fishing heritage is eligible to apply. Only one permit per organization will be awarded; however, individual chapters of the same organization may receive permits. A chapter or organization is eligible to receive only one Commission Big Game permit in a three-year period.
Kansas Wildlife, Parks and Tourism commissioners will conduct the drawing when they meet on January 10, 2013 at Butler County Community College in El Dorado. Applications must be received no later than Jan. 1, 2013.
To apply, organizations must submit an application that includes a copy of their 501(c)(3) nonprofit status, articles of incorporation, and mission statement, as well as the organization’s preference for an elk, antelope or deer permit. Applications can be downloaded from KDWPT’s website,; enter “2013 Commission Big Game Permit” in the search box. Mail applications to Sheila Kemmis, Commission Secretary, Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism, 512 SE 25th Ave., Pratt, KS 67124.
Seven permits will be issued, which may include one elk, one antelope and up to seven deer, depending upon the preferences of the drawn organizations. Organizations that draw a permit must pay KDWPT the permit fee, and they will be issued a voucher. The final recipient must remit the voucher to KDWPT’s licensing section to receive the big game permit. Permits may be issued to resident or nonresident hunters and are valid in management units and seasons listed on the permits.
Once an organization sells a permit, not less than 85 percent of the amount is returned to KDWPT to be spent on mutually agreed-upon projects. The remaining 15 percent can be spent at the organization’s discretion. (If Kansas Farmers and Hunters Feeding the Hungry (KFHFH) receives a permit, not less than 15 percent of the funds raised is remitted to KDWPT with 85 percent staying with KFHFH.)

Sunday, December 9, 2012


Kansas Ornithological Society Christmas Bird Count runs Dec. 9-Jan. 13, 2013
PRATT — The long tradition of Christmas bird counts provide people interested in birds opportunities to make new acquaintances, renew old friendships, and learn more about birds and birdwatching in Kansas. The counts also provide important information about bird migration and population trends.
Christmas bird counts have been conducted for more than 100 years, and more than 2,000 counts are held across the nation each year. Kansas averages 50 counts per year, with more than 40 scheduled so far this year and others yet to be announced. Many counts are concentrated in the eastern and southern parts of the state, but in recent years, more have been conducted in western Kansas — such as Elkhart and Ulysses — providing additional opportunities to participate.
Christmas bird counts are conducted in circular census areas with a 7.5 mile radius. This is consistent from count-to-count and year-to-year, always surveying the same location, ensuring data collected is comparable for population trends over time.
Count events are easy to prepare for; the best tools being a pair of binoculars, a good field guide, and appropriate clothing and footwear for possible extreme weather. For those counting in an area with a lake, a good spotting scope can be extremely helpful in identifying birds at a distance. It’s also a good idea to study species expected in your location.
There are many count compilers in Kansas who send data to the Kansas Ornithological Society (KOS), and these counts are free. The KOS will accept data collected on counts conducted from Dec. 9 through Jan. 13, 2013. The official Audubon Christmas Bird Count period is Dec. 14 to Jan. 5 every year and this year, there is no longer a $5 fee for field participants.
Information about Kansas Christmas bird counts can be found at the KOS website, For details, just click “2012-2013 Kansas Christmas Bird Counts.” For more information about Audubon Christmas Bird Counts in Kansas, go to

Saturday, December 8, 2012


Operation Game Thief provides safe, fast way for citizens to help catch poachers
PRATT — You see a blatant wildlife law violation and it makes you angry, but what can you do? You assume the local game warden is miles away and couldn’t get here in time. What can you do? You follow the laws and regulations and hunting ethics are important to you, but what can you do? The answer is Operation Game Thief.
Operation Game Thief (OGT), 1-877-426-3843, is a program that provides a toll-free number for anyone witnessing wildlife-related violations to call immediately and make a report. All calls received through the OGT line are immediately relayed to the natural resource officer nearest the violation. The line is available anytime of day or night, every day of the year, and callers may remain anonymous.
Each year, Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism (KDWPT) game wardens check tens of thousands of hunters in the field, and about 96 percent of them are law-abiding. Unfortunately, many non-hunters don’t distinguish between the small percentage of those who break wildlife laws and the majority who hunt legally. KDWPT game wardens work long hours during the fall, but most have large territories to cover, and they are much more effective with help from hunters and landowners who witness illegal activity.
When reporting a wildlife crime, remember these two important reporting rules:
• never confront suspects; and
• provide as much specific information as possible, such as vehicle descriptions and license tag numbers, descriptions of people involved, locations, and the time and location the incident occurred.
OGT calls have resulted in arrests and convictions on violations ranging from public lands vandalism to deer poaching. In many cases, poachers have been arrested within minutes of the call. Even drug operations have been uncovered by alert hunters using this number. Remember, when you see someone violating wildlife laws, they are stealing from you and damaging the image of all hunters. Help bring them to justice by calling OGT at 1-877-426-3843.