Lake will be partially drained; summer vegetative growth in lake bed should improve fish habitat

During the summer of 2009, visitors to Shawnee State Fishing Lake (8 miles north and 4 miles west of Topeka) will notice a big change. Beginning March 1, local contractors will begin renovating the dam, which is approximately 50 years old and has recently begun to show deterioration. Although the dam is not in imminent risk of failure, the Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks (KDWP) is rehabilitating the dam to provide many more years of outdoor recreation opportunity.

The project is expected to be completed by late summer and will involve enhancing the emergency spillway, installing a new valve to control the lake level, and re-shaping the back side of the dam. In order to safely complete the project, the lake water level will be lowered, but officials believe the lake will not have to be drained.

The valve will be closed immediately upon completion of this project, and the lake should begin refilling in the fall. While the lake is lowered during work, additional vegetation should grow in exposed portions of the lake, creating improved habitat once the lake is refilled. For the angler, this should mean better fishing in the future.

Shawnee State Fishing Lake will remain open to fishing during this construction project. Anyone with questions or concerns should contact David Farmer, Property Manager, at 913-845-2665 or the KDWP Region 2 Office at 785-273-6740.