Limited season open on portions of Kansas and Arkansas rivers
PRATT — For a few rugged outdoorsmen who love nothing more than exploring rivers in summer, the Kansas handfishing season has become a much-anticipated adventure. The season runs June 15-Aug. 31, a time when those of strong nerve may catch flathead catfish using nothing but their hands and wits. Although such anglers may be few, the season offers a special challenge.

In addition to a limited season, there are a number of restrictions during the handfishing season. Only flathead catfish may be taken, and legal handfishing hours are sunrise to sunset. A special $27.50 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. No man-made object that attracts fish — such as a barrel, box, bathtub, or any other object — may be used. Only two locations are open: the Arkansas River from the John Mack Bridge on Broadway Street in Wichita downstream to the Kansas-Oklahoma border and the Kansas River from its origin downstream to its confluence with the Missouri River.

Everyone 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 handfishing season. Handfishing permits may be purchased online or at select locations around the state. To find vendors or purchase permits online, go to kdwp.state.ks.us/news/License-Permits.