Smoky Hill/ Kanopolis Wildlife Area

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Smoky Hill/Kanopolis Waterfowl Report
Kanopolis Reservoir Fishing Information
Kanopolis State Park


The wildlife area is open to public hunting with the exception of the refuge which is closed September 1 - January 31. Hunting pressure is generally moderate , but can be very high during opening weekends of firearm deer, spring turkey and upland bird seasons. The mixture of cropland, refuge and wooded bottoms has increased the deer and turkey numbers in the area offering good hunting opportunity. Treestands may be placed on the area 14 days prior to the season and removed within 14 days after the season they are used for. Upland hunters find pheasants and quail in the grassy expanses and brushy draws. Prairie chickens also use the area and adjacent crop fields. Waterfowl frequent the river and backwaters in good numbers as long as the water is open. Canada geese and mallards are common all season long. The weekly waterfowl report is kept updated throughout the fall and winter months.

Hunters frequently use boats, carts and backpacks when accessing the remote areas.


Fishing access through the wildlife area is limited. Most anglers access the area from the river or lake via boat. You may hike, bike or horseback in using the trails also. The water in the wildlife area is on the upper reaches of the lake and usually fairly shallow. 


Several multi-use trails originating from Kanopolis State Park lead into the wildlife area. These trails allow hike, bike and horseback riding, and are closed to all but foot traffic from November 1 through January 31 annually. There is no horse access other than through the state park, while bikers and hikers can access the trails from the Alum Creek parking lot as well. The wildlife area trails are closed from Nov 1-Jan 31 annually to limit hunter disturbance and for safety. If riding horseback or on a bicycle, please stay on the maintained trails to prevent disturbance and erosion. There are several gates along the trails-keep them closed and latched. The state park maintains the trails and park with your permit fees. Maintenance on the wildlife area is funded through hunting and fishing licenses as well as federal taxes on sporting goods.

200 Horsethief Rd
Marquette,KS    67464
Area News - Updated: 08/12/2010
General Information
200 Horsethief Rd
Marquette, KS    67464

Smoky Hill Wildlife Area surrounds a portion of the upper end of Kanopolis Reservoir.

Located approximately 30 miles west of Salina, or 15 miles east of Ellsworth.

Manager: Scott Thomasson
Phone: 785-658-2465

Special Regulations
  • No camping is allowed in the wildlife area.
  • No vehicle traffic is allowed off the maintained roads.
  • No hunting allowed in the adjacent Kanopolis State Park.
  • Trash in, trash out policy. Take your trash with you.

Special Features:

A refuge/special hunt area along the river is closed to all activities except by special permit from September 1 through January 31. Limited Special Hunts are allowed on the area through a state-wide drawing. Contact the Smoky Hill Wildlife Area Manager at (785) 658-2465.

Several historical sites exist at Smoky Hill Wildlife Area. Do not disturb petroglyphs or other historical sites

Wildlife viewing and photography opportunities are plentiful. In the winter several bald eagles and ospreys fish the river. Songbirds and wildflowers brighten the landscape throughout the area.

Here is a complete list of Public Land Regulations or you can download the regulation summary.


Centrally located on Kanopolis Reservoir and managed by the KS Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism (KDWPT), Smoky Hill Wildlife Area consists 4180 acres of land and 885 acres of water. The reservoir covers approximately 3000 acres of water and the entire US Army Corps of Engineers property extends along the Smoky Hill River for over 15,000 acres.

Smoky Hill/ Kanopolis Facilities
Fork Horn Parking Lot
  • Type of Facility: Parking Lot
  • Location of Facility: 38.653311 -98.024821
  • Click for more information

    Parking lot on Ave P. Access to public hunting.

Cedar Ridge Parking Lot
  • Type of Facility: Parking Lot
  • Location of Facility: 38.638670 -98.055067
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     Parking lot on Ave Q. Located by an old Girl Scout camp. Access to public hunting and special hunt areas on south side of Smoky Hill River..

Stumps Bottoms Parking Lot
  • Type of Facility: Parking Lot
  • Location of Facility: 38.672048 -98.045255
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    South parking lot on 25th Rd. Access to public hunting and special hunt areas on north side of Smoky Hill River.

Alum Creek Parking Lot
  • Type of Facility: Parking Lot
  • Location of Facility: 38.705504 -98.039332
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    North parking lot on 25th Road leading to Alum Creek. Multi-use trails are accessable for hiking and bicycling from this parking lot.

Smoky Hill/Kanopolis Waterfowl Report - 11/25/2015
Waterfowl numbers Approximately 1000 ducks; 800 Canadas. Survey as of Wednesday AM so birds numbers expected to rise with incoming cold front.  
Water level 0.5 ft below conservation pool
Mallard Migration Rank

Current rank is 3

This Mallard Migration Rank is subjective and ranges from 0 (no mallards) to 10 (Peak mallard numbers).

Click here to learn more about the Mallard Migration Rank.

Hunting conditions Mostly exposed shorelines; 

Remember the refuge area on the northwest part of the lake is closed SEPT 1- JAN 31 to hunting except by Special Hunt permit.

To track this year's waterfowl migration and post your hunting results visit Ducks Unlimited's Waterfowl Migration Map by clicking the link below:

DU Migration Map