Elk City Wildlife Area

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Area News
Elk City Waterfowl Report
Elk City Reservoir Fishing Information
Elk City State Park

The dam is located 5 miles northwest of Independence. The 12,446 acres of fish and wildlife habitat are licensed to the department from the Corps of Engineers. The area has many different habitat types and is managed primarily for waterfowl, upland and small game, deer and turkey. Camping is permitted at the state park and Corps of Engineers campgrounds.Toilets are available at these areas also. Anglers primarily fish for catfish, flathead and crappie, and pursue white bass in the river in the spring. Hiking trails are available in the state park and on the Corps of Engineers properties. No hunting is allowed in the state park or in the refuge area and in the safety zone adjacent the state park, hunting is restricted to archery and shotgun with pellets only. The refuge is closed to all activities from September 1 to March 31 and angler access is allowed in the refuge from April 1 to August 31. Check current hunting regulations summary for additional hunting requirements.

5089 CR 2925
Independence,KS    67301
Area News - Updated: 08/04/2015


FLOOD UPDATES: June 17, 2015-- Due to an extremely wet period in May and June 2015, Elk City Reservoir flooded up to within 5 feet of the emergency spillway, inundating a large portion of the property.  This pales in comparison to the 2007 flood in which flood waters were 4 feet over the emergency spillway.  The Corps of Engineers is releasing water and the draw down has began, but rain is still in the forecast. Even without additional flooding, this will have a significant impact on the area habitat.  Wetlands that are above the flood stage have been drawn down, but remain wet.  Much of the corn crop has been flooded and limited wheat and soybeans are in the fields.  The quail and turkey nesting period has been impacted by the floodwater and extreme rain events, so nesting success is possibly reduced significantly across the area.

PRAIRIE RESTORATION - Native grassland restoration continues with the use of a skid steer mounted saw to remove trees from existing blocks of native grass. Brush is being piled and stumps treated to prevent resprounting. These work areas are scattered across the area and have targeted native grasslands as well as quail habitat areas.

DOVE SEASON -  Due to flooding, all sunflower dove fields on the Elk City Area have been ruined or impacted. The fields were planted and the sunflowers were up and growing, but did not tolerate flooding or extremely wet, cool weather.  No replacement crops have been planted due to wet conditions.  Harvest from past years has been variable with just over 3400 harvested in 2014, 700 in 2013, 2400 in 2012 and just over 4000 in 2011.  Since 2008, over 20,000 dove have been harvested on managed fields.

It is forecast that none of our yearly designated managed dove hunting fields in 2015 will require registration to hunt.  No Lead shot is allowed for 2015 as well in these areas as posted, as sunflowers will continue to be planted for dove management hunts in 2016.  The non-toxic requirement is in response to the concentrated hunting of doves and accumulation of lead in the fields, available to wildlife while feeding.  Non-Toxic shot is required on numerous dove management areas across the state.

A reminder to hunters, the Berentz-Dick Wa (Buffalo Ranch) is open to hunting on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday only. The sunflowers there so far have survived the wet weather but are in only fair condition.  Mandatory registration before hunting is in effect and I-Sportsman is now available for registration.  It is highly recommended to utilize this method, as it will be mandatory for use in 2016 for all hunting.  

WETLAND MANAGEMENT - Following a wet spring, the wetlands have been inundated or extremely wet allowing little in the way of management.  The weather later in the summer will determine which management options we have available.  Currently some limited mowing, spraying of undesirables and reseeding has occurred.

The Chetopa Creek / Quaker Cemetery Road: This road will be seasonally closed (September to April) The Road WILL BE OPEN during duck hunting seasons in 2015-2016. Vehicle access will be allowed during early teal, youth and all of regular duck season.  This is to decrease vehicle disturbance while increasing wildlife utilization and improve hunting opportunities in the Chetopa Creek area for deer and turkey.

DEER HUNTING: Hunters are reminded that changes were made for public land hunters regarding baiting and the use of blinds. No individual may use more than two portable blinds or tree stands on any single department owned or managed property. Portable blinds or decoys shall not be left unattended overnight. Each portable blind or treestand shall be marked with the users name and address or the users department issued identification number in a visible, legible and weather proof manner.

No person may place or use bait while hunting on department lands. Bait is defined as any grain, fruit, vegetable, nut, hay, salt, sorghum, feed, other food or mineral that is capable of attracting wildlife. Liquid scents and sprays are not considered bait. Hunting is prohibited within 100 yards of any baited site for up to 10 days after removal of the bait. Hunting is not prohibited over standing crops or food plots found on the area.

Commercial guiding on public land is not allowed without a commercial guide permit issued by the department for a specific area. An annual report must be submitted before July 1 on a form provided by the department.


General Information
5089 CR 2925
Independence, KS    67301

Elk City Reservoir & WA (PDF 443.42 kB)
Elk City SP (PDF 284.39 kB)

Manager: Darin Porter
Fish Biologist: Ben Neely

Phone: 620.331.6820

Special Regulations
  • All off-road vehicle and horse use is prohibited.
  • The Elk City Wildlife Area has one refuge. All activities and entry is prohibited from September 1 through March 31.
  • The refuge is closed to all hunting year round. Fishing is allowed April 1 through August 31.

Special Features: The world record flathead catfish weighing 123 pounds was caught here in 1998.

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


The 12,446 acres of land and water were licensed from the Army Corps of Engineers to the Kansas Fish and Game Commission after completion of the reservoir.

Elk City Facilities
Barren Bottoms Boat Launch
  • Type of Facility: Boat Launch
  • Location of Facility: N37 14.786 W95 51.228
  • Click for more information

    Gravel launch for small boats

South Squaw Boat Launch

Card Creek Boat Ramp
  • Type of Facility: Boat Ramp
  • This facility is ADA accessible
  • Location of Facility: N37 15.478 W95 50.966
  • Click for more information

    Located in the Corps of Engineers Campground

Elk River Boat Launch
  • Type of Facility: Boat Ramp
  • Location of Facility: N37 17.546 W95 55.109
  • Click for more information

    Ramp located on the River for small boats

Elk City State Park Boat Ramp
  • Type of Facility: Boat Ramp
  • This facility is ADA accessible
  • Location of Facility: N37 14.544 W95 47.204
  • Click for more information

    This boat ramp is located in the Elk City State Park

Elk City Waterfowl Report - 11/24/2015
Waterfowl numbers 1000-2000 ducks around the area.  Mallards, gadwall, widgeon, teal. 500 Snows.  A few canada geese around area ponds, but not much use on the reservoir.
Water level Reservoir near pool level. Widgeon Marsh has some water from this summer, but little surface open due to vegetation.
Hunting conditions Most marshes are still dry.  Good food available if weather provides water to fill the wetlands.  Caught late summer rains to irrigate and flood wetlands, but most of this water has evaporated.  The Chetopa/Quaker access road will be open for youth Nov. 6-8 and regular duck season Nov. 13 - Jan. 3 and Jan. 9-31.
Expected hunting success Fair.  Flight ducks last weekend provided good shooting.  Looking for another push over the Thanksgiving Holiday with inclement weather forecast.  
Comments For updated waterfowl numbers and weather conditions call (620) 331-6820. Individuals utilizing the wildlife area need to be aware of the refuge boundaries. Maps can be obtained at the Fisheries & Wildlife office (below the dam) or at the State Park (on the lake side).