KDWP program lifts fees, increases quality of local lakes

PRATT - Fishing in Kansas has always been good, but it just got better. Last year, the Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks (KDWP) launched the Community Fisheries Assistance Program (CFAP). Using federal dollars derived from excise taxes on fishing equipment, KDWP has leased fishing rights to 215 community lakes statewide, removing fees and improving access to nearly 12,000 acres of fishing waters. To fish in participating CFAP lakes, all a person needs is a Kansas fishing license (unless exempt by law).

Before CFAP about 55 percent of community fishing lakes charged anglers an access fee. Now nearly 90 percent of community waters are open to anglers with a Kansas fishing license.

Jessica Mounts, KDWP biologist and CFAP coordinator, says anglers are excited about the fishing opportunities offered by places they've avoided before based on the cost to obtain a special permit.

"Anglers love it," Mounts notes, "but local governments across the state have also shown great interest in working with KDWP to provide the state greater fishing opportunities."

Lakes that were not charging access fees were also eligible for the program. CFAP funding formula is based on the number of water surface acres and the quality of the fishery and facilities offered at these lakes. Larger lakes offering more facilities will receive greater lease amounts than a smaller lake with fewer facilities.

By participating in the program, cities and counties will have increased access to resources and contact with area fisheries biologists, receiving priority status for fish stocking, habitat improvement services, and additional improvement grants.

Kansas fishing licenses may be purchased at any KDWP office, at most places that sell fishing tackle, or online. The website CFAP pages also contain information about where you can go fishing in Kansas, including a regional listing of all lakes participating in CFAP.

For more information about CFAP, contact Jessica Mounts by email or phone 620-672-5911.