Bourbon State Fishing Lake Area News

Lake News

Annual Fall Drawdown at Bourbon State Lake

Over the next several weeks visitors to the Bourbon State Fishing Lake will likely notice a significant drop in the water level of the lake. Although this may be alarming to some, this is a planned event done by the Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks to improve the outdoor experience for anglers utilizing the lake. The annual fall drawdown is scheduled to begin this week (9/19-9/23) and plans are to drop the lake level approximately ten vertical feet. The lake will be maintained at this level until at least January 1st, after which, it will be allowed to fill.

The annual drawdown is a management tool that is used to improve the growth of sportfish such as largemouth bass, channel catfish, walleye, and crappie. By reducing the volume of water in the lake, prey fish (gizzard shad, panfish) become concentrated and are forced out of the shoreline vegetation thus becoming more available to the larger sportfish. The drawdown also helps to prevent stunting of panfish by preventing overpopulation so that those panfish that remain have more food available to them and will have improved growth.

The infrastructure of the lake also benefits from the drawdown. Erosion on the earthen piers is reduced due to decreased wave action. This helps to extend the life of the piers and decreases maintenance costs. The decreased water level also allows KDWP staff to perform any necessary maintenance to the piers to improve angler access.

Fishing during the period while the lake is drawn down can be excellent. Many anglers regard the fall and winter months while the lake level is low as the best time to catch fish. Sportfish are highly concentrated during this time and thus easier to locate and catch. Extensions to the boat ramps in recent years make it possible to get boats onto the lake during the drawdown.

Lake visitors that have any questions may contact KDWP at (913)-795-2218 or (620)-449-2539.