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: 08/30/2016


August 30, 2016

Due to  moderate rainfall events, the reservoir has been relatively stable during the summer months.  No major floods allowed good habitat conditions around the shoreline.

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 re-sprouting. These work areas are scattered across the area and have targeted native grasslands as well as quail habitat areas. Extensive spraying of invasive weeds has occurred on several large tracts of grassland this season.  Upland areas away from frequent flooding were targeted with good success.

DOVE SEASON -  Sunflower fields this summer have been successful and good production has occurred.  No dove fields survived flooding in 2015 and dove use was very limited on the area.  Dove 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. No Lead shot is allowed 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.   Mandatory registration before hunting is in effect and I-Sportsman is now available for registration. It will be MANDATORY for use in 2016 for all hunting.  No paper registration cards are to be used.

WETLAND MANAGEMENT - Following a wet spring, the wetlands have been dry for most of the summer.  Good moist soil vegetation responses were successful in seed production in some areas, and selected portions were disked and planted to millet. Due to extensive dry and hot conditions during mid-summer most of this millet is short and will provide open water areas when flooded. Extensive repairs were done to Simmons Marsh on levee erosion and borrow fill.  Some selected trees were removed and limited repairs to beaver damage were conducted on Widgeon Marsh Cub Pool.

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 2016-2017. Vehicle access will be allowed during early teal, youth and all of regular duck seasons, and will closed immediately following 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 tree stand shall be marked with the users name and address or the users department issued identification number in a visible, legible and weather proof manner.  Stands are to be removed two weeks after season closes.

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 402.90 kB)
Elk City SP (PDF 240.92 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 - 10/06/2016
Waterfowl numbers 1000 teal in the area, but difficult to count due to water levels.
Water level Reservoir has been relatively stable this summer and has decent shoreline vegetation.  Reservoir flooded up 7 feet the weekend of September 10.  Water levels were lowered, but due to heavy rains the 2nd week of October, the reservoir is again flooding up.  
Hunting conditions Simmons Marsh underwent renovation work in August.  Work included repair of south levee bank erosion and borrow fill, tree removal in SW and NE corners and drainage ditch clean out.  Widgeon Marsh had beaver damage repairs on Cub Pool.   Most portions planted to millet have survived and will provide open water areas.  Some excellent smartweed responses. Heavy rains has filled most of the marshes.  Simmons Marsh will be kept a little below full pool to protect newly completed dirt work.
Expected hunting success Looking good for the opener depending upon how high the water levels reach in the reservoir.
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).