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

Prohibited Species as Bait

Species listed as prohibited may NOT be possessed live or utilized as live bait.
Species which are listed as threatened, endangered, or in need of conservation
may NOT be used as bait. Any other LEGALLY TAKEN wildlife, subject to the
restrictions listed in “Wild-Caught Bait” (see Page 9) may be used, including sport
fish of legal length taken by hook and line.

Commercial Bait

The following DEAD species of wildlife may be commercially sold in Kansas
for fishing bait:

  • gizzard shad
  • threadfin shad
  • silver carp
  • bighead carp
  • skipjack herring
  • emerald shiners

Colby-Villa High Lake, Mined Land WA Unit #30 and Sherman County Smoky
Gardens Lake have changed from a Type 2 trout water to a Type 1 - ALL
anglers fishing at these waterbodies are now required to possess a trout permit
from Nov.1-April 15.

Youth Designation

Persons under the age of 18 can fish waters designated as youth fishing
only waters. Youth/Mentoring: Licensed adults, 18 years or older, may fish
Youth/Mentor designated waters only if accompanied by a person younger
than 18 years of age, who is actively engaged in fishing.

Reservoir Regulation Changes

Bone Creek Reservoir:

  • Largemouth Bass - 18-inch minimum length limit
  • 5 fish daily creel limit

Cedar Bluff Reservoir:

  • Walleye - 21-inch minimum length limit
  • 5 fish daily creel limit
  • Except up to 2 walleye greater than 15 inches but less than 18 inches may be included in the 5 fish daily creel

Marion Reservoir:

  • Walleye - 18-inch minimum length limit
  • 3 fish daily creel limit
  • No more than 1 fish 21 inches or longer

Tuttle Creek Reservoir:

  • Blue Catfish - 10 fish daily creel limit
  • No more than 1 fish 30 inches or larger

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 ( 8 ) 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

KS Fishing Regulations 15 cover

Individual waters may have different length and creel limits than those listed below. Check individual listings on Pages 20-38.


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


All vessels used by participants in a weigh-in bass fishing tournament must have a working livewell that contains an electrolyte chemical-water solution, and the following procedures must be followed for weigh-in and release:
• One individual work crew support for each 10 anglers
• One weigh-in tank filled with an electrolyte - water chemical solution and fitted with recirculation and aeration accessories for every 25 anglers
• If the water at the tournament site is 75 degrees or cooler, the water in the weigh-in tank shall be maintained at the same temperature
• If the water temperature at the tournament site is warmer than 75F, weigh-in tank water shall be 5-10 degrees cooler but shall not exceed 85 degrees
• Not more than four anglers shall be in the weigh-in line at any time
• Weigh-in bags containing livewell water shall be reinforced, reusable, and capable of holding up to 15 pounds of live fish and 2 gallons of water
• The weigh-in site shall be located near the vessel mooring site and the release site, vehicle or vessel and under a portable awning, event tent or in the shade
Minimum requirements for releasing bass during a weigh-in fishing tournament include:
• Fish shall not be released directly into the water after being weighed
• If release tubes, vehicles or vessels are used, holding tanks shall contain a one-half percent noniodized salt solution
• If release tubes, vehicles or vessels are not used, fish must be dipped in a 3 percent noniodized solution the same temperature as the lake water for 10-15 seconds before being released
• The release site must have water at least 3 feet deep with good circulation and hard bottom Anglers participating in bass fishing tournaments from Sept. 1-June 15 and who possess a Tournament Black Bass Pass ($14.50) may keep five fish as part of their five-fish limit, to be released after the weigh-in, that
meet the statewide 15-inch minimum length limit but that are under a special length limit for the lake being fished. 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 events conducted on KDWP managed lands and waters require special event permits if one of the following conditions exists:

  1. An entrance, admission, or participation fee is charged;
  2. Food, merchandise, or services are offered for sale;
  3. The exclusive use of a facility or a specified land or water area 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.

An event sponsored by KDWP does not require a special event permit. Applications for special event permits are available at KDWP offices. Each application for a special event permit shall be made to KDWP not less than five weekdays 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.

Residents age 16 through 74 must have a resident license in possession while fishing in Kansas, unless exempt by law. All nonresidents 16 and older must have a valid nonresident license to fish in Kansas. Most licenses expire 365 days from date of purchase or 365 days from the expiration date of your current
license, 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 below 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. More information about American Indian Fishing, Hunting and Trapping License can be found on the License Information page.

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.

Applications are also available on the KDWPT website,


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 24 hours. Trotlines, setlines, floatlines, tip-ups, and unattended fishing lines must be tagged securely and plainly with the angler’s name and address or KDWP 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 (a solid body incapable of containing water). 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
Floatline fishing is allowed year-round, 24 hours a day at Council Grove, Elk City, Fall River, Glen Elder, Hillsdale, John Redmond, Kanopolis, Lovewell, Tuttle Creek, Pomona, Toronto, and Wilson reservoirs. Anglers are 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.
Except for paddlefish and nonsport fish, which may be snagged in designated waters during designated seasons (See Page 10), fish hooked anywhere but in the mouth shall be returned immediately, unrestrained, to the water. Nonsport fish (See definition Page 12) may be taken by gig, crossbow, and bow and
arrow. Blue, channel and flathead catfish may be taken by bow and arrow where no length limits on catfish are in effect except in rivers and streams.


Legal fish bait includes artificial lures, bait fish (as defined on Page 12), prepared bait, vegetable materials, artificial bait, worms, crayfish, leeches, amphibians and mussels. Species listed as prohibited may NOT be possessed live or utilized as live bait. Species which are listed as threatened, endangered, or in need of conservation may NOT be used as bait. Any other LEGALLY TAKEN wildlife, subject to the restrictions listed in “Wild-Caught Bait” below, may be used, including sport fish of legal length taken by hook and line.


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 12.)


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.



Handfishing, for flathead catfish only, is legal from sunrise to sunset June 15 through August 31 at these 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
  • 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, or 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 manmade object — such as a barrel, box, or bathtub — may be used to attract fish.


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.


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.


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 (as defined) may be taken for noncommercial purposes.


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.
  • Use and movement: Live baitfish, crayfish, leeches, amphibians, and mussels may be caught and used as live bait only within the common drainage where caught. However, bluegill and green sunfish collected from non-designated aquatic nuisance species waters may be possessed or used as live bait anywhere in the state. Live baitfish shall not be transported and used above any upstream dam or barrier that prohibits the normal passage of fish. Live baitfish collected from designated aquatic nuisance waters shall be possessed or used as live bait only while on that water and shall not be transported from the water alive.


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.


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 fish or wildlife in possession or devices or facilities used in taking, possessing, transporting, storing, or processing any wildlife. It is also unlawful to sell fish except as specifically authorized under a commercial fishing permit. It is illegal to clip the fins, tag, or otherwise mark fish if they are to be released after catch.

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

Click to view all KDWPT Regulations


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


From Dec. 1-March 31, all anglers fishing on Type 1 waters (see right) stocked with trout must possess a trout permit ($14.50), including youth trout anglers 15 and younger ($7.00). Only anglers fishing for or possessing trout must have a trout permit on Type 2 waters. In addition, all residents age 16-74 and nonresidents 16 and older must also have a valid fishing license. Trout permits are available at KDWP offices, most county clerk offices, license vendors, or online at


Some local governments have their own trout stocking programs and may require a fee but not the state permit. Local city and county recreation departments have details. Approximate trout stocking dates and sites may be found online at 

LIMIT: The daily creel limit is 5 trout unless otherwise posted. The possession limit is three times the daily creel.

PERMIT REQUIRED: Dec. 1-March 31

Coffeyville LeClere Lake, Dodge City Lake Charles, Eisenhower State Park Pond, Ft. Scott Gun Park Lake, Garnett Crystal Lake, Glen Elder Reservoir Outlet, Glen Elder State Park Pond, Kanopolis Seep Stream, Lake Henry in Clinton SP, Mined Land WA Unit #30, Pratt Centennial Pond, Vic’s Lake and Slough Creek in Sedgwick County Park, Walnut River Area in El Dorado SP, Willow Lake at Tuttle Creek SP, and Webster Stilling Basin, Kings Lake-Emporia, O.J. Watson Park-Wichita.


Atchison City Lake No. 1, Belleville City Lake (Rocky Pond), Cimarron Grasslands Pits, Father Padilla Pond in Herington, Ft. Riley Cameron Springs, Ft. Riley Moon Lake, Great Bend Stone Lake, Great Bend Veterans Memorial Lake, Holton-Elkhorn Lake, Hutchinson Dillon Nature Center Pond, Kanopolis State Park Pond, Lake Shawnee, Meade SFL, Salina Lakewood Lake, Sandsage Bison Range and Wildlife Area Sandpits, Moss Lake and Horseshoe Lake in Sedgwick County Park, Solomon River between Webster Reservoir and Rooks County #2 Road, Syracuse-Sam’s Pond and Cherryvale City Lake (Tanko),Sherman County Smoky Gardens Lake,Colby-Villa High Lake, Historic Scott State Park Pond.


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 KDWPT, Law Enforcement Division, 512 SE 25th Ave., Pratt, KS 67124, (620) 672-5911.


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 be given to another if accompanied by a dated, written notice that includes the donor’s printed name, signature, address, and permit or license number.


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.


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.


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.


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

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