Walk-In Fishing Access (WIFA) program.
The WIFA Program, formerly the F.I.S.H. Program, which stands for Walk-In Fishing Access was patterned after the very successful Walk-In Hunting Access Program with a goal of increasing public fishing opportunities in Kansas.
The WIFA Program was first introduced to Kansas anglers and landowners in 1998. The Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism (KDWPT) leases private waters from landowners for public fishing. Landowners participating in WIFA receive payments, as detailed below. WIFA. provides anglers with a place to fish while leaving the land in private ownership. By providing a place to fish, the tradition of fishing can be preserved.
Special regulations are in place for the public that access WIFA properties and KDWPT officials periodically patrol the areas. Violators will be ticketed or arrested for vandalism, littering or failing to comply with fishing regulations. Access is limited to foot traffic, except on roads designated by the landowner in the case of very large tracts of land. Additionally, under this program some landowners are eligible for fish stocking, habitat managment, fence crossers, cattle gaurds, rock boat ramps, or rocked parking areas.
Each year, KDWPT publishes a fishing atlas with the location of each body of water enrolled in the program, boating allowances for each location, and common fish species.
WIFA sites are open for public access from March 1 to October 31 or year-round. Where winter fishing opportunities exist, landowners allowing year-round access receive a 10% lease increase.
The program leases privately-owned ponds for public access by the acre. Base lease rates range from $75-$125/acre/year depending on what county the pond is located in (as detailed on the "County Payment Rate Tier Map"). Boating allowance bonuses are available as well. Ponds allowing carry-in boats only will receive an additional $10/acre/year and properties allowing all boats access (adequate launching site must be present) will receive an additional $25/acre/year.
Another focus of the WIFA program is to increase access to streams for fishing. Depending on the quality of the stream's fisheries resources, annual lease rates for fishing access range from $500 to $1,500/mile.
Big River Access Leasing
The Kansas, Arkansas, and Missouri Rivers are considered navigable waters and are thus public fisheries. However, locations allowing for public access are limited. To increase public access to these public fisheries, the F.I.S.H. program leases access sites from willing landowners. Landowners along these rivers, with adequate launch facilities, can annually receive $1,500/site. If the site is within 10 river miles of any other public access site a landowner can annually receive $2,000/site.
Interested in learning more about enrolling your property in the WIFA Program? Contact your nearest KDWPT Regional Office or submit your inquiry to the program coordinator.
This program is made possible by the Federal Aid in Sport Fish Restoration Act (a Federal Aid Project funded by your purchase of fishing equipment), through fishing license sales.
Click the link above for a searchable web map showing the 2022 Public Fishing Access locations. Click on individual tracts and points to display location information. Zoom to areas by city or county name with the search box
and choose from various base map options.
Use the free ArcGIS App to add public fishing locations to your mobile device (data signal required). Once the app is installed on your device, search the Maps for "KDWP FISH" and select the "KDWP: 2022 Fishing Access" map.
Files and instructions for various location format options. Includes Garmin GPS, Google Earth/GE Mobile, and Point/Lat-Long .txt and .csv files.
Click on any of the map pages below to download individual pdf files.
The maps in this atlas pinpoint a variety of public fishing areas, as well as public lands across Kansas. Walk-In Fishing Access (WIFA) areas are privately-owned ponds or streams the Kansas Department of Wildlife Parks (KDWP) has leased and opened to public fishing. WIFA sites are labeled by an abbreviated access period, size, and boating restriction for each location. Each map also shows all federal reservoirs, state fishing lakes, river access areas, and community lakes.
Please use the locator map above to select the part of Kansas that you want to fish. To download a specific map page, click on the specific number on the map above. A download box will appear, asking if you want to open or save the PDF with the map details. Make your selection and print the maps. Maps are all the same scale and can be taped together to create a large area map.
For information on reading the maps and other information in the Fishing Atlas click on the General Fishing Information PDF above or print out the whole atlas by clicking on Fishing Atlas .
Walk-In Fishing Access (WIFA) sites are leased from private landowners and are typically open to public fishing from March 1- Oct. 31, but some proper-ties are open year-round. The WIFA program provides all anglers increased opportunies to enjoy fishing on the state’s streams and small impoundments. Funding for the program is provided through fishing license fees and Sport Fish Restoration Funds. Please observe all rules and regulations, and remember that common sense and ethical behavior will influence the future of the program.
The following guidelines will assist sportsmen in using FISH tracts:
- Look for the WIFA signs before entering the property. Sites may have been withdrawn from the program. If you do not see signs, do not enter.
- Obey lease boundaries. Stay within 50 feet of the stream or impoundment shoreline. If the WIFA property is a stream, fish only on the side of the stream that is posted as an access site. Do not walk or fish on adjacent property.
- Respect the rights of landowners, as well as others using the area. Treat the land as if it were your own.
- Take all trash with you when you leave. If someone before you has acted irresponsibly and left trash, please take a moment and pick it up, too.
- Do not open gates or enter properties with vehicles, unless authorized. Park along the road or in designated parking areas. Leave field-access, drives, and rural roads open so that landowners moving large implements may pass.
- Avoid stretching fences when crossing them, and use fence stiles where available.
- Do not attempt to contact cooperating landowners to ask about fishing other portions of their land. Landowners often enroll in the program to reduce contact with anglers.
Regulations governing WIFA area use:
- The WIFA sites are open to public access from March 1 through October 31. (Some are open year-round, see legend.)
- Impounded WIFA waters have a creel limit of two channel catfish, a creel limit of two largemouth bass, and an 18-inch minimum length limit on largemouth bass. Otherwise, all Kansas fishing regulations and statewide creel limits apply. It’s especially important for anglers using the sites to respect and follow the rules that apply on WIFA properties. You do not need to contact the landowner for permission on WIFA waters.
- The following regulations are in effect on WIFA waters: The discharge of firearms is prohibited (KAR 115-8-5); Seining is pro-hibited on all F.I.S.H. waters, and trotlines and setlines are prohibited on impoundments under 1,201 acres in size (KAR 115-8-6); No swimming (KAR 115-8-8); Camping by posted notice only (KAR 115-8-9); No pets, except on a leash (KAR 115-8-10); No horseback riding (KAR 115-8-11); No stocking or release of wildlife, including the dumping of live bait (KAR 115-8-12); Vehicles shall be operated only as authorized (KAR 115-8-13); No fireworks (KAR 115-8-14); No unauthorized fires (115-8-15); No littering (KAR 115-8-18); No cereal malt beverages or alcoholic liquor (KAR 115-8-19); Destructive acts such as digging or destroying signs or vegetation is prohibited (KAR 115-8-20).
- All Kansas boating laws are in effect on WIFA waters.
On occasion, sites enrolled in the program are removed at the landowner's request. Make sure the land you are entering is posted with FISH area signs.
Funding for this program has been provided in part by fishing license fees.
WIFA Benefits Landowners and Anglers
WIFA provides anglers with a place to fish while leaving the land in private ownership. By providing a place to fish, the tradition of fishing can be preserved, and rural-urban ties can be strengthened. And, of course, there is a financial incentive.
Many landowners own waters far from home or don’t have time to worry about who’s fishing on their property, It may be more convenient for them to enroll in the WIFA Program. The department annually publishes a Fishing Atlas outlining each body of water enrolled in the program and anglers are asked not to contact landowners.
The Kansas Recreational Use Statute also provides limited liability for landowners enrolled.
Conservation officers periodically patrol WIFA areas. Violators will be ticketed or arrested for offenses such as vandalism, trespassing, littering, or failing to comply with fishing regulations.
Landowners have the option to withdraw from the program at any time. They will be paid a prorated portion of the agreed payment and provided with signs denoting that the water has been removed from the program.
The Fishing Impoundments and Stream Habitats (F.I.S.H.) program was first introduced to Kansas anglers and landowners in 1998. The program was patterned after the highly successful Walk-In Hunting Access (WIHA) program, with the goal of increasing public fishing opportunities in Kansas. Through F.I.S.H, the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism (KDWPT) leases private waters for public fishing, providing anglers with exciting new places to fish while leaving the land in private ownership.
Beginning in 2020, KDWPT is renaming the (F.I.S.H.) program to the Walk-In Fishing Access (WIFA) program. The Department hopes that this change will help bring more recognition to the program, which opens approximately 57 miles of streams, 1850 acres of private ponds and lakes, and 8 river access sites to public fishing.
Help KDWPT celebrate the renaming of this program by entering a design in the WIFA logo contest! The winning designer will receive $2,500, and have their logo featured on signs, informational literature, KDWPT’s website, and more! See contest rules below.
For questions please email, firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Entries must be submitted at KSoutdoors.com/WIFA_Logo
- Only original artwork will be considered, copyrighted images may not be used.
- Only electronic submissions will be accepted.
- Entries must be submitted in black and white. A color version of the logo may be submitted in addition to the black and white logo.
- Entry submissions must be a high-resolution vector based EPS file.
- Participants may submit no more than three unique designs.
- Entries must be received by March 1, 2020.
- Participants must be at least 18 years of age by March 1, 2020 to participate.
- Contest runs January 1 – March 1, 2020.
- The contest winner will be determined by KDWPT Fisheries Access Committee members, and will be notified within 60 days of the submission deadline.
- The contest winner will receive $2,500 in exchange for providing KDWPT a royalty free, irrevocable, non-exclusive, and perpetual license to use the submitted artwork for advertising, promotional, or educational purposes.
- KDWPT reserves the right to not choose a contest winner if no suitable entries are received.
- KDWPT employees and immediate family will not be eligible for this contest.
View more information about Kansas Fisheries on the Facebook page, https://www.facebook.com/KDWPTFisheries