Law Enforcement and the Pond

Separate Rules Apply to Private and Non-Private ponds.

A private pond is defined as a manmade body of water which is located entirely on the property of only one landowner or lessee. There must be no connection with streams or other bodies of water that would allow fish to pass between. A pipe may be installed between a private pond and other bodies of water as long as a screen or other method is used to prevent fish from passing from one to the other. Private ponds enrolled in the Department’s F.I.S.H. program are exceptions to the following rules for private ponds:

  • No fishing license is required to fish in a private pond
  • No creel or size limits apply to fish caught from a private pond.
  • Fish may be caught from a private pond using any methods, except for substances which could escape, endanger or kill fish in other waters.
  • Private ponds may not be stocked with fish provided by the Department.
  • Private ponds are open to fishing year-round.
  • The landowner or legal tenant of a private pond controls access to the pond.
  • The landowner or legal tenant may raise and sell fish from a private pond.
  • Statewide rules, as published in the Fishing Regulations , apply to the taking of bullfrogs from private ponds.

Some private ponds are enrolled in the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks & Tourism's Fishing Impoundments and Stream Habitats (FISH) program. Through leasing, the status of these ponds changes from private to public. These rules apply:

  • The landowner or legal tenant, and the immediate family living with him, of the F.I.S.H. pond are exempt from a fishing license. Everyone else fishing there is required to have a valid Kansas fishing license.
  • The statewide creel and length limits which are listed in the current year Kansas Fishing Regulations Summary apply.
  • The statewide legal fishing methods which are listed in the current year Kansas Fishing Regulations Summary must be used.
  • Under the lease arrangement, the Department may furnish and stock fish in a F.I.S.H. pond or body of water.
  • F.I.S.H. waters vary from being open to the public year around to time frames between March 1 and October 31 only; F.I.S.H. areas are only open from sunrise to 1/2 hour after sunset.
  • F.I.S.H. areas are open to the public, are posted with special rules and are patrolled by The Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks & Tourism.
  • Statewide rules as published in the Kansas Fishing Regulations Summary govern the taking of bullfrogs from F.I.S.H. areas.

Non-private ponds include those which lie on the property of more than one landowner or are connected to another body of water with movement of fish between them. This classification also includes private ponds which have been stocked with fish by the Department during the preceding ten years. Non-private ponds are subject to these rules:

  • The landowner or legal tenant, and his immediate family living with him, are exempt from license requirements. A fishing license is required for all others.
  • Statewide creel and length limits, and statewide fishing methods apply.
  • Fish may not be raised and sold from non-private ponds.
  • The taking of bullfrogs on non-private ponds is regulated by statewide rules published in the Regulations Section of the fishing page.

Trespassing and Fishing Access

Landowners and legal tenants control access to their property for fishing. Many choose to post their property with signs to limit that access. To allow fishing, they may give verbal permission. Most signs and posting requires the landowner to swear out a complaint against the offending party and be available to testify to the offense in court. Some landowners and tenants opt to erect “no hunting, fishing, or trapping without written permission” signs, or to utilize written permission and to issue citations without involvement of the landowner. If this system is used, the landowner must be certain to provide the required written permission to everyone except his immediate family residing with him, who are exempt.

Natural Resource Officers and other law enforcement officers may enter private property to perform their duties in the enforcement of statewide fishing regulations where they apply, as well as the taking of bullfrogs from ponds or other waters.