“Hands-on” Angling Is Hands Down Good Time
PRATT – It takes a strong grip, steady nerve and a high level of moxie to partake in the Kansas handfishing season. For anglers possessing all three, the handfishing season for flathead catfish, June 15 through August 31, is a sure-fire way to have a good time.
Handfishing is allowed only on the Arkansas River; the Kansas River, from it’s origin to the downstream confluence with the Missouri River; and all federal reservoirs, from 150 yards beyond the dam to the upstream end of federal property. In addition to a fishing license, unless exempt, handfishers must also have a $27.50 handfishing permit. Handfishers may not use hooks, snorkeling or scuba gear, or any man-made device except a stringer. Man-made objects, such as barrels or tubs, may not be used to attract fish.
If you haven’t tried it yet, handfishing involves searching for the underwater lairs of flathead catfish, which can weigh more than 50 pounds, by diving and feeling along undercut banks or other recesses. Once a fish is felt, the angler then tries to work a hand in its mouth and grip the fish’s lower jaw to bring it to the surface, hence the need for nerve and moxie.
The daily creel limit for flathead catfish is five. For more information about handfishing and other types of fishing, consult the 2016 Kansas Fishing Regulations Summary, available wherever licenses are sold and at www.ksoutdoors.com.