Fishing Regulations

 

The information in this Web site is a service to anglers. It has been prepared as a guide only. This is not a complete list of regulations. For more detailed legal information, contact the department's Law Enforcement Division. Complete regulations may also be viewed and printed online. Just click here .

Special regulations for specific waters are posted on the Fishing Location Pages

BOWFISHING: It is unlawful to take blue catfish, channel catfish, and flathead catfish with archery equipment in rivers and streams.

WILD-CAUGHT BAITFISH: The maximum mesh size for dip and cast nets used to catch baitfish has been increased from 1/2-inch to 1-inch.

PADDLEFISH: To assist law enforcement in preventing paddlefish from being poached for their eggs, new regulations govern the amount of paddlefish eggs that can be possessed, as well as transportation of paddlefish eggs and harvested paddlefish. See Paddlefish.

TROPHY SUNFISH: To create trophy sunfish angling, a 6- to 9-inch slot length limit is in effect for bluegill, redear sunfish, green sunfish and their hybrids at Jewell State Fishing Lake, Lake Lenexa, Miami State Fishing Lake and Pottawatomie State Fishing Lake No. 2. The daily creel limit is five sunfish that are 9 inches long or longer and unlimited for sunfish 6 inches long or shorter. (These are not all the changes to length limits, so be sure to check “Locations, Length and Creel Limits”)

FREE FISHING DAYS: 2019 Free Fishing Days are June 1 and 2.

YOUTH/MENTOR WATERS: At Youth/Mentor locations licensed adults may fish only if accompanied by a person younger than 16 who is actively engaged in fishing. Youth/Mentor Waters include Dodge City Demon Lake, Elk City State Park Pond, Fall River State Park Pond, Kanopolis State Park Pond, Melvern Mentoring Pond, Pratt Kids Pond, and Wilson State Park Pond.

NEW TROUT WATERS: Lake LeClere in Coffeyville and Eisenhower State Park Pond have been added to the list of Type 1 Trout Waters. See the Trout section.

Floatline Fishing

Floatline fishing is allowed year-round, 24 hours per day at the following locations:

  • Council Grove, 
  • Elk City, 
  • Fall River, 
  • Glen Elder, 
  • Hillsdale, 
  • John Redmond, 
  • Kanopolis, 
  • Lovewell, 
  • Tuttle Creek, 
  • Pomona, 
  • Toronto, 
  • Wilson reservoirs.

Anglers will be allowed no more than eight floatlines. All floatlines must be under immediate supervision of the angler and must be removed from the water when fishing ceases. All float material shall be constructed only from plastic, wood, or foam and shall be a closed-cell construction. A "closed-cell" construction shall mean a solid body incapable of containing water.

KS Fishing Regulations 15 cover

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KS Fishing Regulations 15 cover

Unless otherwise listed in the "Special Regulations" of a certain lake, the following length and daily creel limits apply to all Kansas waters that are open to public fishing access, and to all rivers and streams. City, county, and other locally-managed waters may have more restrictive length and creel limits, as posted on the areas. Special Regulations for certain waters are posted on the Fishing Location Pages or you can contact a district biologist for more information.

CULLING: Once a daily creel limit of any particular species has been possessed, any other fish of that species that is caught must be releasedimmediately, unharmed, into the water. It may not replace another fish already in the creel.

THE POSSESSION LIMIT ON ALL FISH IS THREE TIMES THE DAILY CREEL LIMIT.

 

Type of Fish Number of Fish Length of Fish
Channel catfish 10  
Blue catfish 5  
Walleye, sauger, saugeye (single species or in combination) 5 15 inches
Rainbow trout, brown trout (single species or in combination) 5  
Black basses (largemouth, smallmouth, spotted, single species or in combination) 5 15 inches
Flathead catfish 5  
Northern pike 2 30 inches
Striped bass 5  
Wiper (white bass/striped bass hybrid) 5  
Crappie 50  
White bass, bullhead, bluegill and all other legal species No limit  
Paddlefish 2  

 The statewide 15-inch length limit on walleye, sauger and saugeye does not apply to in rivers, streams and tailwaters.

Bass Pass

Anglers participating in a black bass tournament between Sept.1 and June 15 who possess a Tournament Black Bass Pass ($14.50) may keep five fish as part of their five-fish limit, to be released after tournament weigh-in, that meet the statewide 15-inch minimum length limit but are under a special length limit for that fishing location.

Tournament Black Bass Pass holders fishing in tournaments may also cull their catch after the daily creel has been reached, by releasing a small fish and replacing it with a larger one. The Tournament black Bass Pass expires 365 days from date of purchase.

Special Event Permits

A fishing tournament, when conducted on Wildlife and Parks-managed lands and water, requires a special event permit if one of the following conditions exist:

  1. An entrance, admission or participation fee is charged; 
  2. Food, merchandise, or service is offered for sale;
  3. The exclusive use of a facility or a specified land or water is required;
  4. An organized or advertised competition will be conducted; 
  5. Sound will be amplified that may disrupt area users; or 
  6. Temporary structures, other than blinds or common camping equipment, will be erected.

Applications for special event permits are available at Department offices. Each application for a special event permit shall be made to the Department not less than five week-days before the event. The special event permit fee is negotiated based on event type, required services, and lost revenue; the maximum fee is $200. Payment must accompany each application.

LICENSE REQUIREMENTS

Residents age 16 through 74 who have been legal residents of the state for 60 days immediately prior to buying a license, must have a resident license in possession while fishing in Kansas. All nonresidents 16 and older must have a valid nonresident license to fish in Kansas (unless fishing on a private pond not leased for public fishing). Most licenses expire 365 days from date of purchase, except one-day, five-day, five-year, multi-year youth, and lifetime fishing licenses.

Resident anglers age 65-74 are eligible for a senior Lifetime Pass, which is a combination hunting/fishing license valid for the lifetime of the holder for $42.50; or half-price 365-day fishing($15) or fishing/hunting combination ($25) licenses are available. Landowners and their immediate family living with them, and tenants renting land for agricultural purposes and members of their immediate family living with them are exempt from fishing license requirements on waters on their own land, except as described under “License Requirements on Private Land.”

Resident is defined as a person who has maintained the person’s place of permanent abode in the state for 60 days immediately prior to purchase. Domiciliary intent is required, evidence of which may include the location where the person votes, pays personal income taxes or obtains a driver’s license. A residency of at least one year is required to purchase lifetime licenses.

Residents who are at least one-sixteenth American Indian by blood, and so certified by the Bureau of Indian Affairs, may apply to KDWPT for a free fishing license, which must be in possession when fishing. All other laws and regulations apply to American Indians.

Persons on active duty in the armed forces who entered the service while residents of Kansas may purchase resident fishing licenses.Nonresidents on active military duty stationed in Kansas and nonresident students going to school in Kansas qualify for resident fishing licenses, and they must have evidence of active duty or enrollment with them while fishing. Active members of the Kansas Army or Air National Guard are eligible for free fishing and hunting licenses and park permits. Legal Kansas residents who have been separated from the armed services under honorable conditions and have a disability certified by the Kansas Commission On Veterans Affairs as being service-connected and such disability is equal to or greater than 30 percent may apply through the Pratt Operations Office for free hunting and fishing licenses (not applicable for park permits). Applications are also available on the KDWPT website, www.ksoutdoors.com.

LEGAL EQUIPMENT

Each angler is limited to two rods (three with three-pole permit) with no more than two baited hooks (single or treble) or artificial lures per line. An artificial lure is defined as a man-made fish-catching device used to mimic a single prey item. The umbrella rig, popularly called the Alabama Rig, may only have two separate lures with hooks.

Trotlines, Setlines, Floatlines

In addition to two rods, an angler may set one trotline with no more than 25 hooks OR eight setlines with no more than two hooks each, OR eight floatlines with no more than two hooks each. Trotlines, setlines, and floatlines may not be set within 150 yards of any dam. Fishing lines, setlines, and trotlines must be checked at least once every 24hours. Trotlines, setlines, floatlines, tip-ups, and unattended fishing lines must be tagged securely and plainly with the angler’s name and address or KDWPT number. A setline must be anchored at one point by an anchor weighing at least 25 pounds or attached to a fixed and immovable stake or object. Any float used with a setline or trotline shall be constructed only from plastic, wood, or foam and shall be a closed-cell construction. Trotlines and setlines are prohibited on all department-managed waters under 1,201 surface acres. Other restrictions may be applied by posted notice.

Floatline Fishing Information

LEGAL BAIT

Legal fish bait includes artificial lures, baitfish (as defined on Page 8), prepared bait,vegetable materials, artificial bait, worms,frogs, and crawfish. Species listed as prohibited, threatened, endangered, or in need of conservation may NOT be used as bait. Any other LEGALLY TAKEN wildlife may be used, including sport fish of legal length taken by hook and line.

It is illegal to clip the fins, tag, or otherwise mark fish if they are to be released after catch.
 

PRIVATE WATERS

A fishing license is required on all public waters. In addition, a license is required for fishing on many private lands, including the following:

• any private impoundment that has a stream or river going into and/or out of it, whether the stream is intermittent or not;

• a private impoundment that is owned or operated by more than one person or group, in which case the owner or opera tor or member of the group would be exempt from the license requirement only while fishing on the portion of the impoundment they own;

• guests of landowners or operators fishing on streams and rivers on land solely owned or operated; and

• any impoundment stocked by the state within the last 10 years. The sole owner of an impoundment or the land through which a stream flows does not have to have a fishing license. Guests may fish private land without a fishing license if it is a private waters fishing impoundment.(See “definitions” page 8.)

ICEFISHING

Icefishing with baited hooks or lures is legal on lakes, reservoirs, and streams. In addition to the allowed two rods, eight tip-ups may be used to icefish, unless otherwise posted. Tip-ups may have a maximum of two hooks each. Unattended tip-ups must be tagged plainly with the angler's name and address. County or city lakes may have local laws controlling such activity. Motorized electric or gasoline-powered two-wheeled vehicles, all-terrian vehicles, work-site utility vehicles, golf carts, and snowmobiles may be operated on ice-covered department waters only for the purpose of ice fishing from one-half hour before sunrise to one-half hour after sunset. These vehicles shall enter onto the ice only from boat ramps and points of entry as established by posted notice. Holes cut in the ice of public waters may be no more than 12 inches in diameter or 12 inches square.

HAND FISHING

Handfishing, for flathead catfish only, is legal from sunrise to sunset June 15 through Aug. 31 at three locations:

  • the entire length of the Arkansas River in Kansas,
  • all federal reservoirs from beyond 150 yards of the dam to the upper end of the federal property,
  • and on the Kansas River from its origin downstream to its confluence with the Missouri River.

A special permit ($27.50) is required in addition to a fishing license. Anyone handfishing may not use:

  • hooks
  • snorkeling or scuba gear,
  •  any other man-made device OR possess any fishing gear except a stringer.
  • Stringers may not be used until the fish are caught by hand and are at or above the surface of the water.
  • No man-made object — such as a barrel, box, or bathtub — may be used to attract fish.

SPEARFISHING & GIGGING

Unless otherwise posted, spearguns, without explosive charge, may be used to take nonsport fish in waters posted “open to scuba and skin diving.” Spears must be attached to speargun or person by a line. Nonsport fish may also be taken by gigging in waters not posted as closed to gigging.

PADDLEFISH SNAGGING

The paddlefish snagging season is open March 15 through May 15 on posted areas inside Chetopa and Burlington city parks on the Neosho River; Neosho River at Iola, downstream from dam to city limits; Marais des Cygnes River below Osawatomie Dam, downstream to posted boundary; and Marais des Cygnes River on the upstream boundary of Marais des Cygnes Wildlife Area, downstream to the Kansas-Missouri border and the Browning Oxbow of the Missouri River. Paddlefish may be snagged using pole and line with not more than two single or treble barbless hooks. Catch and release is allowed in Burlington, Chetopa, and Iola except that once attached to a stringer, a fish becomes part of the daily creel. The daily creel limit for paddlefish is two and the season limit is six. On Missouri River boundary waters, there is a 24-inch minimum length limit. There is a 34- inch minimum length limit on the Marias des Cygnes River. Measure paddlefish from the front of the eye to the fork of the tail.

A paddlefish permit ($12.50, youth $7.50) includes six carcass tags. However, an angler younger than 16 may use an adult’s paddlefish permit while accompanied by that adult with at least one unused carcass tag in possession. Each paddlefish snagged and kept by the youth angler shall be included as part of the daily limit creel limit of the permit holder. Immediately upon attaching fish to stringer, anglers must sign a carcass tag, record the county/date/time of harvest, and attach the carcass tag to the lower jaw of the paddlefish taken. Anglers must stop snagging once the daily creel limit of paddlefish is reached.

Paddlefish caught outside the paddlefish season or in non-snagging areas may be kept if they are hooked in the mouth.

No person may possess paddlefish eggs attached to the egg membrane of more than one fish. No person may possess more than 3 pounds of processed paddlefish eggs or fresh paddlefish eggs removed from the membrane. No person shall ship into or out of, transport into or out of, have in possession with the intent to transport, or cause to be removed from this state any raw unprocessed paddlefish eggs, processed paddlefish eggs or frozen paddlefish eggs. A paddlefish carcass must have all entrails removed before it is transported from Kansas. 

Nonsport fish (carp, drum, grass carp, threadfin and gizzard shad, goldfish, gar, suckers including carpsucker and buffalo, goldeye, and bowfin) may also be snagged in waters posted open to snagging during the paddlefish season. There are no limits on nonsport fish.

A PDF of the complete Paddlefish Regulation can be found HERE.

BOWFISHING

All waters are open to bowfishing, unless posted otherwise. Some bowfishing is permitted at city, county, township, or private lakes, but regulations vary, so consult local rules. Nonsport fish can be legally taken by bowfishing wherever bowfishing is allowed. Blue catfish, channel catfish and flathead catfish may not be taken by bowfishing in rivers and streams but may be taken by bowfishing in other waters where no length limits for these species are in place. Crossbows are legal. Bowfish anglers must have in possession a valid Kansas fishing license, unless exempt by law. Arrows must have barbed heads, and each arrow must be attached by a line to the bow. Waters within 50 yards of an occupied boat dock or ramp, occupied swimming area, occupied picnic site or camping area, and other occupied public-use areas are closed to bowfishing.

BAIT FISH

Bait fish (as defined) may be taken for noncommercial purposes.

Methods: 

Methods: seine not larger than 15 feet long and four feet deep, with mesh not larger than 1/4 inch; fish trap with mesh not larger than 1/4 inch and throat no larger than 1 inch in diameter (must be tagged with fisherman's name and address); fishing line; or a dip or cast net with mesh no larger than 1/2 inch.

  • Size: bait fish may not exceed 12 inches. 
  • Limit: 500 per person.
  • Legal waters: statewide, except that seining is prohibited on department-owned waters.
  • License requirement: unless exempt by law, a fishing license is required.
  • Wild-caught baitfish may be used as live bait only within the common drainage where caught and shall not be transported upstream across any dam or barrier that prohibits the normal passage of fish. Bluegill and green sunfish collected from non-designated aquatic nuisance waters may be possessed or used as live bait anywhere in the state. No person may possess any live fish upon departure from any designated aquatic nuisance species water

BULLFROGS

Bullfrog season extends from July 1 through October 31. Daily creel limit is eight. Possession limit is 24 bullfrogs after the third day of the season. A valid fishing license is required for any person to take, catch, or kill bullfrogs, except persons exempt by law from having such license. Bullfrogs may be legally taken any time of day or night by dip net, gig, hook and line, hand, bow and arrow, or crossbow. A line must attach bow to arrow, and the arrow must have a barbed head. Any other method of taking bullfrogs is prohibited.

Turtles

Common snapping turtles and soft-shelled turtles may be taken year-round. Daily creel limit is eight, single species or in combination. Possession limit is three creel limits. A valid fishing license is required (unless exempt). Legal equipment: hand, hook and line, setline, hand dip net, seine, turtle trap, or gig.

It is unlawful to refuse to allow law enforcement officers to inspect wildlife in possession or devices or facilities used in taking, possessing, transporting, storing, or processing any wildlife or to sell fish taken by sport fishing methods, except as specifically authorized under a commercial fishing permit.

For more information, see K.A.R. 115-08-19 and K.A.R. 115-08-01.

Click to view all KDWPT Regulations

STATE FISHING LAKES

Motorboats may be used on state fishing lakes for fishing and hunting only,unless otherwise posted.Wading and float tubing in state lakes is legal as part of fishing, hunting, bullfrogging, and trapping.

TROUT PERMIT

The trout season runs November 1 - April 15. During that season, some waters stocked with trout require a trout permit ($14.50) whether fishing for trout or not, and others require a trout permit only for anglers fishing for trout.Waters are listed below. In addition, all residents 16 through 74 years old and nonresidents 16 and older must also have a valid fishing license. Trout permits are available at KDWPT offices,  county clerk offices, license vendors, or online. THE PERMIT IS VALID FOR THE CURRENT CALENDAR YEAR.

Some local governments in areas such as Topeka and Kansas City have their own trout stocking programs. Many of these require a fee, but the state permit is not required. Local city and county recreation departments should have details. Approximate trout stocking dates and sites may be found HERE.

YOUTH 15 & UNDER LIMIT: If they do not have a Trout Permit the daily creel limit is 2 trout. If they do have a Trout Permit the daily creel limit is 5 trout.

ADULT LIMIT: The daily creel limit is 5 trout unless otherwise posted. The possession limit is 15.

YEAR-ROUND SEASON: Trout fishing at Mined Land Wildlife Area Unit #30 (Cherokee County).

TROUT PERMIT REQUIRED OF ALL ANGLERS 16 AND OLDER

Dodge City Lake Charles, Ft. Scott Gun Park Lake, Garnett Crystal Lake, Glen Elder Reservoir Outlet, Kanopolis Seep Stream, KDOT East Lake in Wichita, Lake Henry in Clinton SP, Mined Land WA Unit #30, Pratt Centennial Pond, Vic’s Lake and Slough Creek in Sedgwick County Park, Topeka Auburndale Park, Walnut River Area in El Dorado SP, and Webster Stilling Basin.

TROUT PERMIT REQUIRED ONLY FOR TROUT ANGLERS

Atchison City Lake No. 1, Cimarron Grasslands Pits, Colby Villa High Lake, Father Padilla Lake in Herington, Ft. Riley Cameron Springs and Moon lakes, Great Bend Veterans Memorial Park Lake, Great Bend Stone Lake, Holton-Elkhorn Lake, Hutchinson Dillon Nature Center Pond, Lake Shawnee, Meade State Fishing Lake, Salina Lakewood Lake, Scott State Fishing Lake, Scott State Park Pond, Syracuse-Sam's Pond and Cherryvale City Lake.

ASSISTANCE PERMITS

Anyone with a permanent physical disability that prevents them from fishing may apply for a Disability Assistance Permit. The permit allows a licensed designated person to actually harvest fish while accompanying the permit holder. (This law also applies to hunting.) For more information or applications, contact KDWP, Law Enforcement Division, 512 SE 25th Ave., Pratt, KS 67124, (620) 672-5911.

CLEANING & POSSESSION

 All fish taken shall have the head, body, and tail fin attached while in possession on the water. Sport fish taken must be kept until consumed, processed, taken home or given to another person, or released. Legally taken sport fish may given to another if accompanied by a dated, written notice that includes the donor’s printed name, signature, address, and permit or license number.

FISHING ON THE MISSOURI RIVER

In agreement with the Missouri Department of Conservation, the Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks has established special rules regarding that portion of the Missouri River that borders both Kansas and Missouri. These rules apply only to that portion of the Missouri River that creates a common boundary between Kansas and Missouri. All fish caught from the Missouri River Boundary Waters that are a size or number that is illegal to possess shall be released unrestricted to the water immediately. Aquatic Nuisance Species (ANS) Alert – Asian Carp, Zebra Mussels, and White Perch.

LICENSE REQUIREMENTS:

Anglers with either a valid Kansas or Missouri fishing license may fish any flowing portion and backwaters of the Missouri River and any oxbow lake through which the river flows. They may fish from and attach any legal fishing equipment to the land adjoining these waters.

LIMITATIONS

Tributaries of the Missouri may not be fished without a valid fishing license from the state through which the tributary flows. If any law or regulation governing fishing in the Missouri River is different from the corresponding law or regulation in the state for which the angler has a license, the more restrictive state’s law or regulation will apply. Each angler must keep all legally caught fish restrained separately from any other angler. Bow and arrow or crossbow with a barbed head and a line attached are legal only from sunrise to midnight. Each angler may use three fishing lines. In addition, each angler may use one trotline with no more than 25 hooks OR eight setlines with no more than two hooks each, OR eight floatlines.

LENGTH LIMITS

Black Bass: 12-inch minimum
Paddlefish: 24-inch minimum
Channel Catfish: 15-inch
Sauger and Walleye: 15-inch

DAILY CREEL LIMITS
Black Bass: 6
Channel catfish: 10
Blue Catfish: 5
Crappie: 30
Flathead catfish: 5
Paddlefish: 2
Walleye, sauger, and their hybrids (single species or in combination): 4
Yellow bass, striped bass, white bass, and their hybrids (single species or in combination): 15