Only flathead catfish may be taken; other restriction apply

The first-ever handfishing season in Kansas opened June 15. At a November 2006 meeting of the Kansas Wildlife and Parks Commission, a regulation was passed allowing handfishing for flathead catfish. While Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks (KDWP) staff do not expect many anglers to participate in this challenging sport, it will offer another outdoor opportunity for the most intrepid outdoorsmen and women.

There are a number of special restrictions, as well as a season, for handfishing. Only flathead catfish may be taken; legal handfishing hours are sunrise to sunset; and the season runs from June 15 through Aug. 31 at only two locations: 1) the Arkansas River from the John Mack Bridge on Broadway Street in Wichita downstream to the Kansas-Oklahoma border and 2) the Kansas River from its origin downstream to its confluence with the Missouri River.

A special $27.15 permit is required in addition to a regular fishing license. Handfishermen may not use hooks, snorkeling or scuba gear, or any other man-made device or possess any fishing gear except a stringer. Stringers may not be used until the fish are caught by hand and are at or above the surface of the water. In addition, no man-made object that attracts fish -- such as a barrel, box, bathtub, or any other object -- may be used.

Anyone who purchases a handfishing permit will be given a questionnaire they must complete and submit no later than 30 days after the close of the open handfishing season. Handfishing permits may be purchased online or at select locations across the state. To find vendors or purchase permits online, go here.