Keith Sebelius Reservoir / Norton Wildlife Area
The area attracts good numbers of waterfowl allowing for good opportunities to hunt all around the area. With high numbers of waterfowl, the management takes a high priority in these species. Starting November 1st, the middle portion of the reservoir is designated as a waterfowl refuge and is closed until January 31st. While duck hunting can be good on the area goose hunting takes place mainly on the surrounding private grounds because hunting pressure is generally too great for feeding patterns to become established on the public lands and provide consistent successful goose hunting.
Hunters will find the area enjoyable with multiple opportunities to hunt. Special draw hunts for waterfowl and deer are available by on-line application and provide good opportunities for kids to get into the sport of hunting. Spring turkey hunters find plenty of competition while the fall pressure is light. Both white-tail and mule deer are present on the area with pressure the heavies during the firearms season. Archery pressure is heaviest during the rut in early November. With pheasant and quail populations up, it creates great hunting opportunities for hunters.
The area provides great fishing spots for fisherman. The primary sport fish on the area include saugeye, wipers, largemouth bass, crappie, and channel catfish. Spotted bass, walleye, flathead catfish and bluegill are also present. Special creel and length limits may be in effect for some fish species. Make sure to check the Kansas Fishing Regulations Summary and all posted notices before fishing. The area has boating access available depending on water levels, there are two high water ramps and one low water ramp.
Camping spots are available on the wildlife area on a limited basis. It is only allowed on the six designated areas. Please do your part to keep the area enjoyable by taking your trash with you!
This year on the wildlife area many projects have been planned and finished. This year we sprayed and drilled about 300 acres back to native grass. The native grasses have come back nicely providing great cover for our wildlife. There is about 250 acres of drilled cover crop on the area. Although we did not get the rainfall we were hoping to, the cover crop still provides great food and cover options for the various wildlife. We burned about 120 acres to reset the natural succession of the native grasses and forbs and all those areas have responded nicely. With the water level down, it has created mudflats that we broadcasted cover crop and millet seed into that came up providing food for the various waterfowl that come in.
The Norton Wildlife Area is a reservoir property that is owned by the Bureau of Reclamation, but managed under a long-term agreement by Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism for fish, wildlife, and recreation. The Norton Wildlife Area borders Keith Sebelius Lake which was created in 1964 when the Bureau of Reclamation completed construction of the Norton Dam.
The wildlife area comprises of 6,500 land acres and 2,181 water acres when full. There are seasonal and permanent roads that provide great vehicle access to the area. The only fees required are for fishing, hunting and boating which supports the management of the area. There are kiosks placed around the area for more detailed information.