El Dorado Reservoir Fishing Information

N37 50.037 W96 47.084
Surface Acres:
8,000 acres
Maximum Depth:
60 feet
Normal Lake Level:
1339 Conservation Pool
Current Lake Level:
See link

Blue Catfish Tagging Project Underway at El Dorado

Blue catfish – native to major river basins in eastern Kansas – can reach massive sizes. Kansas’ current state record was caught from the Missouri River, weighing in at more than 100 pounds. As blue catfish populations become established in Kansas’ largest reservoirs, popularity of this species among anglers also continues to grow. One such growing fishery can be found in El Dorado Reservoir.

While many anglers might associate El Dorado Reservoir with monster walleye, hard-fighting wipers, or slab crappie, blue catfish are developing a following in the 8,000-acre impoundment. Blue catfish were introduced into El Dorado Reservoir in 2004 to establish an additional predatory fish population and to provide anglers with a new sport fishing opportunity. Annual stockings occurred for six years, creating a population that first exhibited natural recruitment in 2009. As the population grew, it became apparent that the fishery would benefit from harvest of smaller fish. In 2016, KDWPT implemented a 25- to 35-inch protected slot length limit, five fish daily creel limit, and a maximum of two fish over 35 inches.

As with any new regulation, data is needed to gauge effectiveness. To collect this data, KDWPT Fisheries biologists are tagging up to 2,000 blue catfish in El Dorado Reservoir. Tags will appear as a small yellow vinyl tube beneath the fish’s dorsal fin. Each tag will display an ID number unique to that fish and a phone number to call to report the catch, (620) 342-0658. Biologists hope to gain information about the area’s blue catfish population size, entrainment through the dam, and the fish’s susceptibility to harvest.

Success of this project is dependent on anglers reporting the tagged fish they capture. Information needed during the call will be the length of the fish, date, tag number, and whether the fish was kept or released. Anglers who report their tagged catch will receive an award as compensation for their participation.

Anglers should note that tagged blue catfish that are not legal for harvest must be returned to the water immediately after recording the tag information. If the tagged catfish is legal for harvest, anglers may keep or release the fish. Because part of this study is to evaluate harvest patterns, biologists encourage anglers not to let the presence of a tag influence their decision to keept or release the fish.

If you find a tagged blue catfish on the end of your line this summer, please take the time to call it in. Data collected from these fish are invaluable to fisheries biologists and will only improve angling success in the future.


Creel limits for similar species, including largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, and spotted bass; or walleye, saugeye, and sauger; or wiper and striped bass apply to single species or in combination. For example, at El Dorado Reservoir, an angler may keep five largemouth bass OR three largemouth bass and two smallmouth bass OR two largemouth bass, two smallmouth bass, and one spotted bass or any other combination of the three.

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