Elk City Wildlife Area

Area News
Elk City Reservoir/Wildlife Area Waterfowl Report
Elk City Reservoir Fishing Information
Elk City State Park

The dam is located 5 miles northwest of Independence. The 12,446 acres of fish and wildlife habitat are licensed to the department from the Corps of Engineers. The area has many different habitat types and is managed primarily for waterfowl, upland and small game, deer and turkey. Camping is permitted at the state park and Corps of Engineers campgrounds.Toilets are available at these areas also. Anglers primarily fish for catfish, flathead and crappie, and pursue white bass in the river in the spring. Hiking trails are available in the state park and on the Corps of Engineers properties. No hunting is allowed in the state park or in the refuge area and in the safety zone adjacent the state park, hunting is restricted to archery and shotgun with pellets only. The refuge is closed to all activities from September 1 to March 31 and angler access is allowed in the refuge from April 1 to August 31. Check current hunting regulations summary for additional hunting requirements.

5089 CR 2925
Independence,KS    67301

Manager: Ryan Lies
Fish Biologist: Seth Lundgren

Phone: 620.331.6820

Area News - Updated: 07/20/2022


September 2020

Elk City Reservoir flooded this summer with some impacts to area agricultural fields and shoreline habitat.

PRAIRIE RESTORATION - Native grassland restoration continues with the use of a skid steer mounted saw to remove trees from existing blocks of native grass. Brush is being piled and stumps treated to prevent re-sprouting. These work areas are scattered across the area and have targeted native grasslands as well as quail habitat areas. Extensive spraying of invasive weeds has occurred on several areas above flood stage water levels.  

DOVE SEASON -  Sunflower fields WERE PLANTED this spring ON ELK CITY WILDLIFE AREA. Some flood damage was detrimental to the fields, but still provided ample opportunities. Dove season opener hunter survey cards showed 1250 dove were harvested on 3 fields.

No Lead shot is allowed on dove management hunt areas while posted.  The non-toxic requirement is in response to the concentrated hunting of doves and accumulation of lead in the fields, available to wildlife while feeding.  Non-Toxic shot is required on numerous dove management areas across the state.  Please check the department web site for additional information on managed sunflower hunting opportunities across the state.

A reminder to hunters, the Berentz-Dick Wa (Buffalo Ranch) is open to hunting on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday only. Hunters can check-in / check-out here, https://ksoutdoors.com/checkin using your licensing login credentials. NO SUNFLOWERS SURVIVED EXTENSIVE RAINFALL AND COOL TEMPERATURES ON THE BUFFALO RANCH.

WETLAND MANAGEMENT - The majority of the small wetlands and ponds and shoreline near the reservoir were impacted by the summer flooding but have responded well to hand planting of Japanese Millet.  The larger Widgeon/Simmons wetlands further west up the watershed do have extensive stands of moist soil plant already partially filled. Staff was able to manipulate some areas of the marshes to improve long term vegetation. We will continue to capture water as rain allows.  

ROADS:  Several roads on the area were inundated by the flooding, and most of the debris and silt has been removed.

The Chetopa Creek / Quaker Cemetery Road: This road will be seasonally closed (September to April) The road WILL BE OPEN during duck hunting seasons. Vehicle access will be allowed during early teal, youth and all of regular duck season, and will be closed immediately following duck season. This is to decrease vehicle disturbance while increasing wildlife utilization and improve hunting opportunities in the Chetopa Creek area for deer and turkey.

DEER HUNTING: Hunters are reminded that changes were made for public land hunters regarding baiting and the use of blinds. No individual may use more than two portable blinds or tree stands on any single department owned or managed property. Portable blinds or decoys shall not be left unattended overnight. Each portable blind or tree stand shall be marked with the users name and address or the users department issued identification number in a visible, legible and weather proof manner.  Stands are to be removed two weeks after season closes.

No person may place or use bait while hunting on department lands. Bait is defined as any grain, fruit, vegetable, nut, hay, salt, sorghum, feed, other food or mineral that is capable of attracting wildlife. Liquid scents and sprays are not considered bait. Hunting is prohibited within 100 yards of any baited site for up to 10 days after removal of the bait. Hunting is allowed over standing crops or food plots found on the area.

No vehicles are allowed off maintained roadways.  All terrain vehicles are not allowed on department maintained roadways or any of the property.

Elk City WA Deer Hunters should expect decent vegetation and crops on the wildlife area.  Department staff has planted food plots across the area. Wildlife area farmers have planted a mix of corn and beans, and will have some wheat planted this fall if weather allows.

General Information
5089 CR 2925
Independence, KS    67301

Elk City Reservoir & WA (PDF 417.93 kB)
Elk City SP (PDF 3.43 MB)

Manager: Ryan Lies
Fish Biologist: Seth Lundgren

Phone: 620.331.6820

Special Regulations
  • All off-road vehicle and horse use is prohibited.
  • The Elk City Wildlife Area has one refuge. All activities and entry is prohibited from September 1 through March 31.
  • The refuge is closed to all hunting year round. Fishing is allowed April 1 through August 31.

Special Features: The world record flathead catfish weighing 123 pounds was caught here in 1998.

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


The 12,446 acres of land and water were licensed from the Army Corps of Engineers to the Kansas Fish and Game Commission after completion of the reservoir.

Elk City Facilities
Barren Bottoms Boat Launch
  • Type of Facility: Boat Launch
  • Location of Facility: N37 14.786 W95 51.228
  • Click for more information

    Gravel launch for small boats

South Boat Launch

Card Creek Boat Ramp
  • Type of Facility: Boat Ramp
  • This facility is ADA accessible
  • Location of Facility: N37 15.478 W95 50.966
  • Click for more information

    Located in the Corps of Engineers Campground

Elk River Boat Launch
  • Type of Facility: Boat Ramp
  • Location of Facility: N37 17.546 W95 55.109
  • Click for more information

    Ramp located on the River for small boats

Elk City State Park Boat Ramp
  • Type of Facility: Boat Ramp
  • This facility is ADA accessible
  • Location of Facility: N37 14.544 W95 47.204
  • Click for more information

    This boat ramp is located in the Elk City State Park

Elk City Reservoir/Wildlife Area Waterfowl Report - 01/12/2024
Waterfowl numbers Waterfowl numbers fluctuate with migration, hunting pressure, and changing habitat conditions.
Water level Still have not had any significant rain in the area. We had an inch or so of rain around the area, but it did not result in much runoff. There are some small areas of shallow water in a few of the marshes. The Lake is 5.5 ft. low. We do not have the capability to pump any of the marshes on the wildlife area. Heavy rains will be required to get runoff to fill the marshes. For current Reservoir levels visit http://www.swt-wc.usace.army.mil/ELKC.lakepage.html
Hunting conditions The water situation in the wetlands is poor. A few have enough water to hunt now but others remain dry. There was pretty decent vegetative growth in a lot of the wetlands and around the edge of the lake. There will be a good amount of food available for waterfowl if we get more water. BE CAREFUL NOT TO GET HIGH CENTERED IF USING A BOAT. SOME OF THE SHORELINE IS VERY SHALLOW A LONG WAYS OUT FROM THE BANK AND THE MUD IS VERY DEEP IN SOME AREAS. 
Expected hunting success Variable.  TEAL SEASON IS SEPT. 9-24 REGULAR DUCK SEASON IS NOV. 11-JAN. 7 AND JAN. 13-28
Comments Please do not leave trash on the public ground including empty shells. Individuals utilizing the wildlife area need to be aware of the refuge boundaries. Boats cannot drive through the refuge area on the water. Maps can be obtained at the Fisheries & Wildlife office (below the dam), at the State Park (on the lake side), and online at https://ksoutdoors.com/content/download/20944/140278/file/ELK%20CITY%20RES%20&%20WA.pdf