I’ve always been somewhat cursed when it comes to fishing. From the time I was a kid, I could fish next to someone else, and using the same bait rigged the same way I’d catch one fish to their dozen. Once, Joyce and I anchored our boat on the same brush pile as some friends, even fishing with the same lures given to us by them, and caught nothing while they hauled in fish after fish. For those reasons I’ve shied away from fishing to this day, but now I’m retired so it’s time to put on my big-boy bloomers and figure this fishin’ thing out.
The Kansas Dept of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism (KDWPT) website, ksoutdoors.com is a goldmine of fishing information. Click on “fishing” at the top of the home page and a lengthy list of fishing related links opens on the left. There is a link called “learn about fish and fishing” that offers a list of 10 instructional videos on all different kinds of fishing here in Kansas. A link on “where to fish” shows the state broken down into 5 different fishing regions. Clicking on each region shows all KDWPT operated fishing waters in that region, city and county lakes included. Clicking on individual lakes or reservoirs opens up a page for each, complete with fish species in them and the latest fishing report there.
Clicking on “reports and forecast” opens up a page with each fish species found in Kansas listed across the top, and a full page on how to read and interpret the information. Clicking on each individual species at the top opens up a forecast page for that species in every Kansas lake and reservoir where they are found. Refer to the instruction page on how to interpret the information. Also shown on the site are all the Kansas waters where trout are stocked each fall and winter plus the trout stocking schedule actually showing when and how many trout are stocked in those waters. There’s also all the necessary information about fishing seasons, limits and regulations, and even a list of all certified bait dealers in the state.
If your fishing experience doesn’t have to include the roar and feel of a big boat motor pushing a tricked-out fishing rig across a large lake, and your catch doesn’t absolutely have to be walleye or striper, then I highly recommend farm pond fishing. Farm ponds are great places to catch largemouth bass, channel catfish and bluegills, and some even have a good population of crappie. You may have to do some detective work to find them as they’re sometimes behind farm buildings or in pastures, but you often have the whole place to yourself when fishing there. As note of caution though, make certain to get permission to fish farm ponds because they are usually on private property.
Well it appears to me that my excuses for not fishing have disappeared like dust in the Kansas wind, if they ever existed in the first place. Despite today’s technology and the “boat loads” of helpful information available to help, there is still no substitute for the guidance of a season Kansas fisherman. So if you’re new to fishing or just bad at fishing like me, find someone to mentor you. If you’re a successful fisherman, take one of us along as you Explore Kansas Outdoors.
Steve can be contacted by email at [email protected]