Plan serves as guidebook to maintaining, enhancing catfishing opportunities

Catfish angling has a long history in Kansas. Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks fisheries biologists have developed a comprehensive plan to ensure that the tradition continues.

Twelve species of catfish inhabit Kansas waters although channel, flathead, and blue catfish are the most sought species among anglers. While Sunflower State anglers’ preference for catfish has not waned in the past century, fishing opportunities have increased dramatically through the years with development of hundreds of lakes around the state.

Another relatively recent development is a growing interest in trophy fishing, especially for flathead and blue catfish, which are the largest fish in Kansas. The state record flathead catch weighed in at 123 pounds. The state record catch for blue catfish is 94 pounds.

To incorporate public input on the plan, a draft version was circulated in recent months among interested anglers and conservation organizations. The plan explains how KDWP assesses catfish populations and catch rates, analyzes fish age and growth rates, explains the role of state hatcheries, describes the methods used to set angler harvest regulations, and more.

“The plan consolidates the latest science in catfish management,” said Doug Nygren, chief of KDWP’s Fisheries Section. “It’s also a living document that will be updated as new information becomes available.”
The Catfish Management Plan is available online at the KDWP website.