Kansas bass fishing is on the national map. La Cygne Reservoir, the 2,600-acre power plant cooling lake in Linn County, is listed as one of the country’s top 100 bass fishing lakes by Bassmaster Magazine. In the publication’s July/August 2018 issue, the nation’s top 100 bass lakes are listed by region, based on the number and size of largemouth or smallmouth bass that are produced and caught. La Cygne is listed as No. 10 in the Central Region.
Criteria used to rank most lakes on the list involved weights brought in by tournament bass anglers. However, while local clubs conduct bass fishing tournaments at the comparatively small La Cygne, it’s not on any major tournament circuit. Bassmaster Magazine editors considered the results of Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism (KDWPT) biologists’ electrofishing efforts last spring, which turned up an eye-popping 17 bass longer than 20 inches per hour of shocking effort. Editors also noted that two largemouth bass weighing more than 10 pounds were caught on the same weekend in March 2017.
La Cygne Reservoir consistently ranks near the top for bass fishing in Kansas. Each spring, biologists use electrofishing to sample the largemouth bass populations of Kansas lakes, gathering data to help make stocking requests and regulation recommendations. The data is also used in the annual fishing forecast, and the 2018 Kansas Fishing Forecast lists La Cygne as No. 1 with a Density Rating of 89.09 bass longer than 12 inches per hour of electroshocking. Of those, 66 were longer than 15 inches and 17 were longer than 20 inches. While some smaller state and community lakes produced fish over 20 inches during sampling efforts, none approached the numbers found at La Cygne.
Because the lake’s water is used to cool the La Cygne Generating Station coal-fired power plant, it rarely freezes and fish enjoy warmer water temperatures year-round. The longer growing season, and the fact that some Florida strain largemouth bass genes still linger, probably account for the lake’s big bass. Florida strain largemouths, which grow bigger than their northern cousins but are temperature sensitive, were stocked in La Cygne in the early 1980s. It was hoped that with the warmer water temperatures, larger fish would be produced. However, subsequent surveys didn’t indicate strong survival of the Florida strain fish, so no follow-up stockings were conducted. But subsequent genetic testing of La Cygne bass shows remnants of their Florida cousins.
To learn more about La Cygne Reservoir, see weekly fishing reports or to download the 2018 Kansas Fishing Forecast, visit www.ksoutdoors.com. If you like to catch big bass, make plans to visit La Cygne.