Blog comments invited on bait recommendations
PRATT -- Controlling the spread of non-native wildlife and plants in Kansas depends on the assistance of the state’s citizens. Precautions taken by anglers and boaters, for example, help prevent the spread of troublesome aquatic species such as zebra mussels and white perch.

The Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks is considering regulatory changes aimed at enhancing efforts to control the spread of aquatic nuisance species (ANS). One proposed strategy involves limiting the use of nuisance species sometimes used for fish bait. Fishing regulation changes have been discussed in a series of public meetings conducted around the state earlier this year, as well as in meetings of the Kansas Wildlife and Parks Commission . The changes will be discussed again in public meetings of the commission in August and October.

Among changes proposed are the following:

  • eliminate the definition of “bait fish” and create a list of fish species legal for use as bait. Among species recommended for that list are goldeye, gizzard shad, goldfish, red shiner, common carp, golden shiner, fathead minnow, black bullhead, yellow bullhead, freshwater drum, green sunfish, orange-spotted sunfish, bluegill, longear sunfish, and redear sunfish (5-inch maximum length limit on all sunfish species). The same list would apply to bait dealers;
  • prohibit seining and use of cast nets in department-managed impoundments smaller than 500 surface acres;
  • prohibit the use of aquatic nuisance species as live bait, and require that no ANS caught be returned to the water alive. Aquatic nuisance species include white perch , rudd minnow , bighead carp , silver carp , black carp , stickleback, round goby , ruffe , and rusty crayfish ; and
  • prohibit the transportation or use of bait taken by legal means to another stream or impoundment, or to be transported above any upstream dam from the site where the bait is collected.

One goal is to help keep common species common, as described in the department’s Comprehensive Wildlife Conservation Plan , which can be viewed on the department’s website. Aquatic nuisance species can have serious negative impacts on native species by out-competing them for food and space.
Interested persons may visit the department’s blog to submit comments on the recommendations.