May 15, 2014

Trophy-size catches are just a cast away

PRATT ­– They’re swimming in the spot you almost casted, they’re biting just milliseconds after you reel in your line, they’re record-breaking fish, and they have yet to be caught. Inhabiting lakes and reservoirs all across the state, trophy fish are lurking about in some of Kansas’ most popular fishing spots. They will be caught; it’s just a matter of when.

If you’ve been thinking about hitting the water for some fishing fun, now is the time. With 36 species of sport fish to choose from, Kansas waters offer anglers of all experience levels the opportunity to catch the next state record.

If the fish on the end of your hook looks like it could be a record-breaker, keep the fish intact until it can be officially certified as a state record. The fish should be weighed on certified scales as soon as possible. Do not freeze the fish before it is weighed. The weighing must be witnessed and the fish species must be confirmed by a Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism fisheries biologist or a Fisheries and Wildlife Division regional supervisor. A color photograph of the fish must accompany the application and all applications for state records require a 30-day waiting period before certification..

But even if you don’t find a 11.81-pound largemouth or 1.7-pound redear sunfish on the end of your line, your next big catch could land you a Master Angler Award. Master Angler Awards are given to anglers who have caught a species of fish that meet or exceed a required length, depending on the species, and May is the top month for Master Angler Award fish. To view the length requirements of each species for a Master Angler Award, visit and click “Fishing / Special Fishing Programs for You / Master Angler Award Program.”

For more information on the state record fish program, including an application, visit and click “Fishing / State Record Fish.” To find a place to fish, click “Fishing” and “Where To Fish.” You can download the 2014 Fishing Atlas, as well as the 2014 Kansas Fishing Regulations Summary, or both publications can be picked up at KDWPT offices and wherever licenses are sold.