Fishing FAQ

Look here first for answers to common questions about where and how to fish.  This section also answers questions about state record fish, eating the fish you catch, and information on the fish that live in Kansas waters 

If you already know the basics of fishing and are looking for a place to go, click here: Where to fish in Kansas. 

If you are interested in learning more about fishing techniques, equipment, and bait, click here:

It is safe to eat fish caught from the vast majority of Kansas waters.

If you've caught fish from one of the dozens of Kansas reservoirs, hundreds of state fishing and community lakes, tens of thousands of farm ponds or miles of rivers, you can rest assured they are safe to eat.  There are some advisories on fish consumption, but they are limited.  For a list of water with consumption advisories and additional information, click here: Are my fish safe to eat?

A potential state record fish must remain intact until officially certified as a state record. 

If you wish to release the fish, place it in an aerated container for transport.  If you plan to keep the fish, place it in an ice chest and cover it with ice.  DO NOT FREEZE THE FISH.  Get the fish to a business (U.S. Post Office, butcher shop or grocery store) with certified scales as soon as possible.  The weighing must be witnessed.    The fish must be identified by a Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks fisheries biologist or a Wildlife and Fisheries Division regional supervisor.  Click here to locate the office nearest you.  A color photograph must be taken of the fish and this photograph must accompany the application.  Frozen fish and species that are threatened or endangered will not be accepted.  All applications for state records require a 30-day waiting period before certification.  Click here for an online application.

Current fishing conditions for a particular public lake are listed on the individual lake pages.  Click here for a listing of public waters.

Report forms for any tagged fish studies that KDWP are currently conducting are available by clicking here.

The first full weekend in June is traditionally the free fishing weekend. 

Anglers do not need a fishing license on those days but must abide by all other regulations such as length and creel limits, equipment requirements, etc.

No, it is illegal to release any fish into public waters unless caught from that water.

No, it is illegal to release any fish into public waters unless caught from that water.  For more information on this issue, go to

License requirements, catch and length limits, and legal equipment answers.

For answers to further questions, view and download a copy of our fishing regulations summary here.  These pages and this publication are not intended to be a complete listing of all Kansas fishing regulations.

If you purchased your license online:  Contact us at (620) 672-5911

If you purchased your license from a local vendor:  return to the store where the license was purchased, or contact the county clerk in the county where the license was purchased.

Yes.  To purchase a license by phone, call 1-800-918-2877.

Free copies of our regulations summary are available from most license vendors.  To download a PDF version of the regulations, click here.

If you are going to take a child fishing, buy a license for yourself.  Invariably, you will end up with the pole in your hand.

Anyone with a permanent physical disability that prevents them from fishing may apply for a Disability Assistance Permit. 

The permit allows a licensed designated person to actually harvest fish while accompanying the permit holder.  For more information or applications, contact KDWP Law Enforcement at (620) 672-5911.

Yes.  However, anyone needing assistance - due to a permanent physical disability that prevents them from fishing - may apply for a Disability Assistance Permit.

The permit allows a licensed designated person to actually harvest fish while accompanying the permit holder.  For more information or applications, contact KDWP Law Enforcement at (620) 672-5911.

Night fishing is allowed at most public waters.  Check local rules before fishing at night.

Answers to common questions about managing your own pond or lake.

Since 1990, the primary focus of KDWPT has been to provide technical assistance on managing fish populations in ponds and information on where pond owners can purchase fish.

It is illegal for KDWPT to stock a private pond not open to the public for fishing. The department may stock privately owned ponds leased to the department through the F.I.S.H. program. Click here for more information.

The state does not sell fish. 

A list of Kansas fish growers is available at:  for recommendations on stocking fish in your pond, click here.

All vegetation is not bad.

A certain amount is needed for good fish growth and protection. In fact fish will benefit from more vegetation than anglers will typically tolerate.  With that said, aquatic plants can become so abundant that they interfere with fishing, swimming, and boating. To control aquatic plants, it is important to know what type is causing problems.  For Information on plant identification, click here.

To cure the muddy water problem, the source of the turbidity should be identified. 

Often, the problem is a combination of factors.  Muddiness is usually caused by soil type, wind and erosion, or animal activity.  Many treatment methods are only temporary measures, and will probably have to be repeated each year.  Additional information on muddy water is available here.

Blue-green algae, technically known as cyanobacteria, are microscopic organisms that are naturally present in lakes and streams.

They usually are present in low numbers. Blue-green algae can become very abundant in warm, shallow, undisturbed surface water that receives a lot of sunlight. When this occurs, they can form blooms that discolor the water or produce floating rafts or scum on the surface of the water.

The best way to avoid the problems associated with cyanobacterial blooms is to prevent blooms from forming. This can be done by reducing the input of nutrients, such as phosphates, into the water source or by aerating the water.

All ponds produce some natural food for fish.

The amount of food produced is a function of the pond's productivity.  Fish populations in most Kansas ponds are not harvested heavily enough to overtax natural food production. Supplemental feeding is thus not usually required, although in special cases feeding can be beneficial.  For more information, click here.

On some occasions in some ponds, noticeable mass mortalities of fish do occur.

Once dead fish are seen, it is usually too late to do anything, but knowing the possible causes can sometimes help the pond owner prevent fish kills from recurring or at least reduce their severity. For additional information on fish kill causes and solutions click here.

The pattern of mortality is usually the best indicator of a fish kill caused by pesticides or other chemicals.

In a chemical poisoning, small fish die sooner than large fish and all species of vertebrates including turtles and frogs are affected.  It is difficult to establish with certainty that fish mortality was related to chemical use. Analysis of water samples is expensive and time consuming, and chemicals will often break down by the time analysis is possible. For additional information on fish kill causes and solutions click here.

Muskrat and Beaver Control in Ponds

Sustained population control is the best damage prevention method available for both muskrat and beaver. Small, stable populations of muskrats and beaver will do little damage. Pond owners should not wait until furbearers become overabundant before initiating control, because by then the damage has been done.

Crayfish in Ponds

When a pond owner discovers that his pond has crayfish, an image of a leaky pond comes to mind, followed by thoughts of how to eradicate them without harming the fish. Without much effort, crayfish can be managed to provide benefits for the pond owner.  Having crayfish in a pond can be beneficial.   Crayfish burrows rarely cause ponds to leak. Controlling crayfish in established ponds is best done by stabilizing the water level.

Turtles in Ponds

Most pond owners and anglers view turtles as a threat to fish communities in ponds. Such is not the case. Turtles are primarily scavengers, feeding on dead or dying fish and other aquatic organisms. They thus serve to clean the pond more than cause harm, and should not be indiscriminately destroyed.

Frogs in Ponds

Frogs seldom are a problem because bass and other predators usually keep populations low. Bullfrog tadpoles can become a problem in channel catfish-only ponds or minnow ponds because they can become abundant. Excessive numbers of tadpoles can be reduced by seining, and the adults can be eliminated by capturing them during the legal frogging season.

Find answers to questions about the CFAP, Trout, Urban and F.I.S.H. Programs.

Additional information about all KDWP fisheries programs is available by clicking here.

The Community Fisheries Assistance Program (CFAP) was designed to remove barriers to fishing access and to provide family friendly fishing areas close to where people live.

The F.I.S.H. program,  which stands for Fishing Impoundments and Stream Habitats was patterned after the very successful Walk-In Hunting Access Program with a goal of increasing public fishing opportunities in Kansas.

KDWP created the Urban Fish Stocking Program to improve fishing opportunities in urban areas where the demand for fish exceeds the supply.   All metropolitan areas that have a human population over 40,000, with available public fishing waters, are served by this program. 

KDWP stocks rainbow trout seasonally in select waters throughout the state.

Anyone fishing for trout in these waters during the periods listed below must purchase a trout permit.  THE PERMIT IS VALID FOR THE CURRENT CALENDAR YEAR. 

Click here to purchase a trout permit online.  

Additional information and stocking locations are available by clicking here.

Oct 15- April 15 Stocking.
The Kansas trout season runs Oct. 15 - April 15. 

Year-Round Stocking
Trout fishing at Mined Land Wildlife Area Unit #30 (CherokeeCounty) and Tuttle Creek Reservoir Seep Stream requires a trout permit year-round.

Each program is designed to enhance fishing in Kansas in some specific way - and occasionally, a particular body of water will not fit the parameters of the program. 

In addition, all of these programs are made possible in conjunction with ponds, lakes and streams not owned by the state - meaning the owner of a water body may choose not to participate in the program.



The Department's fisheries management programs do not receive any state tax appropriations, but operate entirely on revenues generated directly from anglers in the following ways:

1) Hunting and fishing license fees

2) Sport Fish Restoration Program - a federal program that levies an excise tax on fishing equipment and boat fuel. The Sport Fish Restoration Program apportions money to state wildlife agencies based on a formula that factors in the size of the state and the number of licensed anglers. Kansas receives in excess of $3 million a year. This money is used for fisheries management projects, stocking, capital improvements, research, aquatic education, and boating/fishing access projects such as new and improved boat ramps.