PRATT – The Kansas Wildlife, Parks and Tourism Commission met June 17, 2021 at the Great Plains Nature Center in Wichita for their first in-person meeting in more than a year. Several virtual options were available, allowing some commissioners and the public to participate or watch online.
During the meeting, the commission approved new regulations to help ease over-crowding issues at select public waterfowl hunting areas. After a presentation by Stuart Schrag, Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism (KDWPT) Public Lands director, commissioners unanimously passed the following regulations, which will be in place prior to upcoming waterfowl seasons:
Cheyenne Bottoms Wildlife Area
Boats with motors will not be allowed in Pool 3A
All boats will be limited to speeds that do not leave a visible wake
Boats with motors will not be allowed on water in Pool 4A after 1 p.m.
Pool 4B will be “Youth Only” during the Youth/Military weekend
McPherson Valley Wetlands Wildlife Area
Motorized boats will be prohibited in all pools
The Big Basin Unit will be designated “Youth Only” during the Youth/Military weekend
Neosho Wildlife Area
Hunters will not be able to access the water before 5 a.m. and must be out of hunting areas an hour after sunset
Greater prairie chicken season
Commissioners approved a new regulation that will make the greater prairie chicken season continuous from Sept. 15-Jan. 31. Previously, the season ran Sept. 15 to Oct. 15 and from the third Saturday of November to Jan. 31.
Kent Fricke, KDWPT small game coordinator, said the agency requested the change to create more opportunities for hunters afield in late October and early November, including the opening weekend of pheasant and quail seasons. Fricke confirmed that Kansas’ greater prairie chicken populations aren’t significantly impacted by hunting.
Youth pheasant and quail
The maximum age for participating in the special youth upland seasons will be raised from 16 to 17. Additionally, the daily bag limit for youth upland season will be raised from two to four rooster pheasants and from four to eight quail.
2022 Fishing regulations
Doug Nygren, KDWPT fisheries division director, discussed possible changes to creel and length limits on select waters, beginning Jan. 1, 2022. The proposed changes are expected to be voted on by commissioners at a Nov. 18 meeting in Oakley.
At Tuttle Creek Reservoir, Nygren said the department would like allow anglers to keep 10 blue catfish, but only one could be 35 inches or longer. Current regulations only allow the keeping of blue cats 35 inches or longer. Nygren said the reservoir’s blue catfish are reproducing well and have plenty to offer anglers interested in harvesting the fish.
Dave Spalsbury, KDWPT district fisheries biologist, presented proposed changes for walleye length limits at Cedar Bluff Reservoir. His proposal would allow anglers to keep two walleye between 15 and 18 inches within the current, five-daily, 21-inch minimum length limit. It’s hoped the change will allow anglers to harvest more male walleye, which rarely reach 21-inches in Cedar Bluff.
KDWPT district fisheries biologist Craig Johnson outlined proposed changes to length and creel limits at Marion Reservoir. The proposal would change the daily limit to three walleye, only one of which could be 21-inches or longer. The current daily limit is five walleye, 18-inches or longer. It’s hoped the change will bolster the population of large walleye, while still allowing anglers to harvest fish.
Chris Steffen, KDWPT aquatic nuisance species coordinator, discussed a proposal to make it legal to sell more species of dead fish for bait. Currently, only dead gizzard shad may be sold. The new proposal would also allow the sale of Asian carp, skipjack herring, emerald shiners and threadfin shad.
The next KDWPT commission meeting is scheduled for Thursday, Aug. 5, 2021 in the James P. Davis Hall at Wyandotte County Lake in Kansas City. The public will be allowed to participate at the meeting in person or virtually. For participation instructions, visit ksoutdoors.com/KDWPT-Info/Commission/Instructions-to-Participate-in-Virtual-Meeting.