Dry impoundments, late lake turnover may delay stocking at three sites
PRATT -- The Kansas trout season begins Oct. 15 and runs through April 15. During this season, the Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks (KDWP) stocks rainbow trout in designated waters throughout the state. Some waters stocked with trout require a $12.50 trout permit for all anglers 16 or older, whether they are fishing for trout or not (Type 1 Waters). Other waters require a trout permit only for anglers fishing for or possessing trout (Type 2 Waters). Anglers 15 and younger do not need a permit.

Trout fishing at Mined Land Wildlife Area Unit #30 requires a trout permit year-round. Trout permits are valid for the calendar year, so permits purchased last January or later are valid through Dec. 31. All residents 16-64 years old and all nonresidents 16 and older must also have a valid fishing license.

The daily creel limit is five trout unless otherwise posted (two trout for anglers 15 and younger who do not have a trout permit). The possession limit is three times the daily creel.

While most designated trout waters in the state will be stocked with trout in time for opening day, three impoundments may be delayed: the stilling basin below Cedar Bluff Reservoir, Smoky Gardens south of Goodland, and the Sand Sage Bison Range Pond in Garden City.

As of Oct. 3, the Cedar Bluff Stilling Basin had yet to experience fall turnover, which occurs as surface water cools. The cool surface water sinks, and warmer water near the bottom rises. When this happens, dissolved oxygen levels in the water plummet, and it takes some time for the system to recover and provide conditions that will support trout. Rather than risk a fish kill for newly stocked trout, biologists may delay the stocking. Conditions will be monitored, and if the basin is not ready by Oct. 15, the stocking will be delayed until Nov. 1 or later, if necessary.

Smoky Gardens and the Sand Sage Bison Range Pond are currently dry. Both must fill with rainwater before trout can be stocked.

For updated information regarding the Cedar Bluff stocking plans, as well as all other trout waters, contact the KDWP Hays Regional Office, or visit the KDWP website,, and type "trout stocking schedule" in the search box.

Trout permits are available at the KDWP website, at KDWP offices, and license vendors.