Shawnee State Fishing Lake

Lake News

The 400 acres of the Shawnee Wildlife Area is dominated by native warm season grasses, forbs, and scattered brushy areas. Primary management techniques include prescribed burning, timber encroachment control, and control of invasive plant species. Food plots are also scattered throughout the wildlife area. The most popular species hunted are upland birds, rabbits, and waterfowl. Deer, furbearers, amphibians and reptiles may also be found.

Primitive camping areas, three vault restrooms, and picnic tables are provided for area users. There is no electricity or running water. Please carry out all refuse.

Approximately 60 acres of the wildlife area is designated for use by the Shawnee County Hunter Education group. Public access and usage of the Hunter Ed facilities is prohibited.


Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks

Public Lands Manager: Justin Hamilton
Phone: (785) 887-6882

Lake News - Updated: 01/11/2011

Lake News

Numerous campfire rings were destroyed by vandalism over the summer of 2010. Due to costs associated with constructing and installing new fire rings and the higher rate of destruction recently, few fire rings will be replaced. In order to prevent numerous rock campfire rings from being made in the camping area, campfires are allowed in these metal rings only as posted at entrances. Enforcement of building illegal rock campfire rings and having fires exceeding the capacity of the provided metal fire rings will be stepped up to help resolve these problems.

Littering remains an issue. Please do your part in helping maintain a clean, healthy environment for everyone to enjoy. Littering laws are strictly enforced and prosecuted by the county district attorney. If you see any litterers, or any other public land violations or vandalism, please contact operation game thief at 1-877-426-3843. You can remain anonymous. The resources are for all to enjoy, please help keep it that way.

Long-term habitat improvements have begun to enhance the native prairie surrounding the lake. Over the next few years, expect to see much mowing, cutting, and burning of woody vegetation. While these species are native, their density is above desirable levels, reducing prairie health and having undesirable impacts on the prairie wildlife. You may also notice random small areas of grassland that appears as if it was mowed, this is from an active haying program we have in place. An agreement is in place with a local farmer to hay portions of our property in the summer on a 3 year rotation to help prevent the spread of woody plants. Haying is timed to avoid disrupting any grassland nesting species.

Major road-work was completed in the fall of 2010. Areas of roadways were re-crowned with new gravel added. A large culvert was repaired to improve drainage and ditches were re-cut and formed. While the roads are in excellent shape now, it is anticipated that a few soft spots will form during the spring thaw that will require additional gravel. Please do not drive in ditches to help maintain good roads and water drainage.

General Information

Shawnee SFL & WA (PDF 522.16 kB)

Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks

Public Lands Manager: Justin Hamilton
Phone: (785) 887-6882

Special Regulations

Hunting is now allowed during any legal season. Centerfire rifles are prohibited and deer hunting is restricted to shotgun and archery methods only.

All alcohol, including cereal malt beverages, is prohibited

Motorized boats are allowed for hunting and fishing purposes only

Camping and campfires allowed in designated areas only

Campfires allowed in provided metal rings only

No camping and no ground fires are allowed on the west side of the lake

Target shooting, off-road vehicle use, and horse riding are prohibited

Area users are encouraged to visit information boards for all area-specific regulations.

Special Features:

  • Shooting range operated by Shawnee County Hunter Ed group. Click here for open range dates and times .
  • Camping Areas may be reserved for special events by contacting the Area Manager.

Here is a complete list of Public Land Regulations or you can download the regulation summary.


The Forestry, Fish and Game Commission of Kansas purchased these acres in 1958. Development of the area as a state fishing lake was initiated in the early 1960's.

Wildlife Viewing

Shawnee State Fishing Lake and Wildlife Area lies in the Glaciated Region a few miles northwest of Topeka. The surrounding landscape is characterized by big and little bluestem, Indiangrass, switchgrass, and a profusion of prairie animals. Songbirds, such as eastern meadowlarks, dickcissels, and grasshopper sparrows, can be heard and seen. Red-tailed hawks, mourning doves, ring-necked pheasants, and greater prairie chickens are common. In late spring listen for western chorus frogs. Reptiles include ornate box turtles and six-lined racerunners. Sliders and painted turtles are often observed sunning on water snags on summer days. Great blue herons, beaver, and muskrats can be viewed around the reservoir. Eastern cottontails and white-tailed deer are also common. Of geological interest are pink quartzite rocks that were plowed up in South Dakota and carried to Kansas by huge glaciers.