El Dorado Wildlife Area

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Area News
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Facilities
El Dorado Waterfowl Report
El Dorado Reservoir Fishing Information
El Dorado State Park

The reservoir has a combination of steep rocky shoreline and shallow mudflats. Three boat ramps provide access to waters near the upper ends of the reservoir. Fair to excellent populations of walleye, channel catfish, smallmouth bass, crappie, largemouth bass, flathead catfish, white bass, bluegill, and wiper are found in the lake. Blue catfish have also been recently introduced into the lake. Wildlife area lands primarily consist of native grass prairie with some large tracts of woodlands and crops. Hunting is allowed and hunters may find fair to excellent populations of white-tailed deer, wild turkey, quail, prairie chicken, squirrel, rabbit, dove, and waterfowl. Ring-necked pheasants are present but populations are generally low.

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Phone:
Address:
5095 NE 20th Ave
El Dorado,KS    67042
County/Counties:
Area News - Updated: 11/27/2019

Area News

2019/2020 Hunting Outlook:

Hunters should be aware that abundant precipitation throughout the month of May caused record lake flooding (9.9' above conservation elevation) that persisted until early August.  Some area habitats were impacted by this flood event that persisted for nearly 3 months.  Approximately 36% of area crop field acreage was either lost to flooding or remained too wet to plant.  Some of the resulting natural vegetation that became established in crop fields later in August, as flood waters withdrew, was found to be desirable and remains, while other fields required some management to control undesirable or noxious plant species.  Those crop acres that were not impacted by flooding produced modest yields of corn, milo, soybeans, and sunflowers, and staff planted 9 “green browse” food plots after flood waters withdrew.  As a result, area wildlife will still have attractive high energy food options as weather conditions deteriorate later this fall and winter.  Other area habitats including area woodlands adjacent to the lake have been impacted.  Understory vegetation in some woodland environments was negatively altered and will provide diminished habitat value.  Portions of many area grassland tracts adjacent to the lake were also impacted by the flood, reducing cover values for quail and other wildlife.  Although a significant portion of the property was impacted by record flooding this year, most of the property remained above flood elevations and will provide good food and cover conditions for wildlife and in turn modest opportunities for hunters this season.     

Upland Birds:  The fall hunting outlook for quail on the area is fair.  Hunters should see quail numbers that are reduced as compared to last fall.  Extended periods of snow and ice cover last winter likely impacted area quail.  Spring breeding numbers were reduced as compared to those surveyed in 2018.  Breeding quail were faced with significant flooding this spring that impacted some nesting habitats throughout the area.  Cool and wet weather conditions during May and June then likely impacted survival of young quail that hatched.  Some optimism remains however as several coveys have been observed or reported this fall and past floods have been known to encourage desirable quail habitat in subsequent years by stimulating annual plant communities that can provide good food and cover conditions.  Although floods impacted some quail habitat areas, within most habitats, natural vegetation and area crops should provide good food and cover conditions and should help to sustain breeding populations into next spring.  The wildlife area lies outside the primary range of ring-necked pheasant.  Hunters occasionally encounter pheasants on the area, but numbers are low. 

Waterfowl:  The fall hunting outlook for waterfowl on the area is fair.  Waterfowl populations are reported to remain strong following another good production year within breeding habitats to the north.  Habitat conditions here however are not nearly as strong as those experienced in 2018.  Abundant precipitation in May and flooding into August kept lake levels full for most of the summer.  Food producing plants could not become established on lake fringes because of the flood and late dewatering.  As such, few food resources will be available for waterfowl along the lake edge this season.  Full lake levels however will certainly provide hunting opportunity and improved hunter access and concealment.  Some early season hunters have had some success.  Weather will undoubtedly play a part (as it always does) in determining the extent of waterfowl use this year as well.  Hunters are encouraged to visit the area website to view weekly waterfowl population and habitat condition updates. Hunters are reminded that El Dorado Lake lies within the Southeast Duck Zone. 

Deer:  The fall hunting outlook for deer on the area is good.  Although area deer numbers were believed to be negatively influenced by the 2012 EHD outbreak and habitat degredation following the 2015 flood, habitat conditions were largely favorable in 2016, 2017, and 2018.  Deer numbers have been good in recent years and those trends continued into 2019.  Although record floods have impacted some deer habitats adjacent to the lake, most of the wildlife area benefited from timely precipitation during much of the summer.  Woodland, cropland, and grassland habitats outside of flood zones largely benefited from the abundant rainfall.  Those habitats are often robust, producing attractive food and cover conditions for deer, particularly as weather conditions deteriorate later this winter.  Deer sightings and deer sign appeared frequently again this year, antlerless deer and fawns were a common sight again this summer, and reports of a few nice buck have been received.  

Turkey:  The fall hunting outlook for turkey on the area is fair.  Although still locally common, turkey numbers have declined recently on the wildlife area as a result of diminished production this year.  Prolonged periods of cool wet weather in May and June and subsequent flooding until August negatively impacted nesting and brood rearing efforts.  Fewer young turkeys were seen on the wildlife area this summer.  On a brighter note, most area habitats outside of flood zones benefited from abundant moisture this year.  Robust conditions within many cropland, grassland, and woodland habitats will help to provide attractive habitat for wintering turkeys and enhance nesting opportunities for birds next spring.  In addition, past floods have been known to encourage desirable annual plant communities in later years.  Those plants can provide attractive food and cover options for upland wildlife including turkeys, providing some optimism for hunters in the future.  Prior to declines in turkey production this year, turkey populations benefited from good production dating back to 2012.  As a result, hunters may still find turkeys, but numbers will be fewer with a greater proportion of older birds in the population.  Spring turkey hunters will likely find fewer jakes next year which in turn means fewer 2-year-old birds in the spring of 2021.  Turkey numbers on the area are often best early in the season with numbers declining later in the year as some harvest occurs and remaining birds spend more time on nearby private property as a result of hunting pressure.   

Small Game:  Opportunities to hunt fox squirrel and cottontail exist.  Of the two, fox squirrel, typically provide greater opportunity.  With much of the area wooded and with hunting interest in squirrels often low, the area can provide some attractive hunting.  Although mast production was not abundant this year, some oak, walnut, and hickory nuts were produced providing an attractive food source for woodland wildlife and potentially good hunting sites for hunters pursuing squirrels.  Cottontail populations are often not strong but can provide some opportunity during most years.  Rabbit hunters are encouraged to concentrate efforts outside of zones where long-term flooding impacted food and cover options for upland wildlife.    

Furbearers & Coyotes:  The area is open to the hunting and trapping of furbearers.  In most years, good opportunity to harvest beaver and raccoon exists.  Coyote and bobcat populations are generally fair, providing some opportunity.  Opportunity for these species will likely be diminished within flood impacted areas as food and cover options were reduced.  Small mammal prey sought by predators was also likely reduced within flood zones.  As a result, furharvesters are encouraged to focus efforts within upland habitats away from flood zones. 

New Shooting Range Completed at El Dorado State Park:

El Dorado State Park staff are pleased to announce the grand opening of the recently completed shooting range at El Dorado Lake.  Located adjacent to the park office, near the east end of the lake dam, the range is scheduled to open on December 8, 2018 at 1pm.  The range will provide shooters with several different distance options including 30 lanes within a 15-yard pistol range, 14 lanes within a 25-yard rifle/pistol range, and 12 lanes within a 100-yard rifle range. Range safety is paramount at the facility.  The range will be staffed and supervised by trained Range Safety Officers.  The facility is fully baffled and bermed, with concrete side and end walls to enhance bullet and sound retention. To view details on hours and pricing, please visit www.eldoradostateparkrange.com or contact El Dorado State Park at #316/321-7180. 

Please remember that target practice is not allowed on the El Dorado Wildlife Area. Agency regulation (115-8-1), allows target practice only in areas designated as open for target practice.  The El Dorado Lake Shooting Range is the only area designated for firearm target practice on public lands at El Dorado Lake.  An existing archery range, also within El Dorado State Park, is the designated area for archery target practice.  Both facilities will soon provide quality shooting opportunities for area hunters and shooting sports enthusiasts.  

Want Current Lake Condition Information?  It’s Just a Click Away!

It can be argued that technology is not always a good thing.  But for outdoor recreationists wanting to know current information about El Dorado Lake, technology can be good because the information is available and can be accessed 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, by visiting the internet on your computer or smart phone.

For those interested in learning more about current or historic lake levels, precipitation amounts, lake inflow, or lake releases, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers operates a convenient web site providing this information.  Whether you are an angler interested in lake conditions to determine if it might be right for pursuing your favorite species of fish, or are a boater or camper wondering how lake conditions have been impacted by recent drought or rains, the website can be a valuable trip planning tool.  To access this information simply visit:

http://www.swt-wc.usace.army.mil/ELDR.lakepage.html


Welcome New Assistant Manager

Area staff are pleased to announce the recent hiring of Mr. Tyler Burt as our new Assistant Public Lands Manager.  Tyler will be primarily assisting with management responsibilities at El Dorado Wildlife Area and Butler State Fishing Lake, but will also be available to assist with special projects at Council Grove Wildlife Area and Chase State Fishing Lake. Tyler brings a solid reputation as a passionate and dedicated employee with a diverse skill set and interests including public relation and communication abilities, biological expertise, leadership and supervisory abilities, land management experience, equipment operation and maintenance skills, facility and infrastructure management and maintenance abilities, law enforcement proficiency, community involvement, technological experience, and youth program involvement.  Tyler is stationed at the El Dorado Wildlife Area office which is located just east of Hwy. 177 along NE 20th Street.  He can be contacted at #316/322-7513 or tyler.burt@ks.gov. 

Butler State Fishing Lake Added to Areas of Responsibility

Beginning in late August of 2017, Butler State Fishing Lake (SFL), located in southeast Butler County, became an area of additional management responsibility.  Butler State Fishing Lake and Wildlife Area provides scenic outdoor experiences within a nearly 120-acre lake and 200-acre public land complex.  Noted for its quail hunting, largemouth bass fishing, and summer wildflower viewing opportunities, Butler SFL can help to satisfy year-round outdoor recreation interests.  Recently hired Assistant Manager, Tyler Burt (please see above article) will have direct responsibility for the property.  Plans are currently being developed to enhance the visitor experience by improving shoreline angler access, area roadways, restrooms, shelters, signage, and courtesy docks.  Habitat management efforts will continue to incorporate periodic prescribed burns and greater emphasis will be placed on control of noxious and invasive plant species.  Plans are also currently being developed to remove woody vegetation from the lake dam.  With the addition of Butler SFL, staff are now responsible for the management of 4 properties within 3 counties of the Flint Hills region, including Council Grove and El Dorado Wildlife Areas and Chase State Fishing Lake.  Outdoor recreation opportunities abound within these nearly 6,500 acres of public lands! 

General Information
Phone:
Address:
5095 NE 20th Ave
 
El Dorado, KS    67042
County/Counties:

El Dorado Reservoir & WA (PDF 368.06 kB)

Manager: Tyler Burt

Phone: (316) 322-7513

El Dorado Reservoir is located in north-central Butler County, just north and east of the City of El Dorado at the edge of the scenic Flint Hills.


Special Regulations
  • Special length and creel limits may apply for some fish species at El Dorado Reservoir. Please consult the El Dorado Fishing Information Page or area information signs for posted notices prior to fishing.
  • Vehicles are restricted to established maintained roads.
  • Off-road vehicle use is prohibited.
  • Camping is not allowed on the wildlife area.
  • Excellent camping facilities can be found at El Dorado State Park. Contact #316/321-7180 for more information.
  • A “No Trash Policy” is in effect. Trash barrels and dumpsters are not provided and area visitors are asked to take all trash with them.
  • No target practice is allowed.

Here is a complete list of Public Land Regulations or you can download the regulation summary.

History

The 8,000 acre reservoir was constructed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in 1981. That same year, a license agreement was granted to the Kansas Fish and Game Commission (predecessor of the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism) from the Corps of Engineers to establish the wildlife area. The wildlife area consists of approximately 4,000 acres of land and is primarily managed to provide public hunting and fishing opportunities.

El Dorado Facilities
NE 90th Street Parking Area (east) and Information Kiosk
  • Type of Facility: Parking Lot
  • Location of Facility: N37 57 19.6 W096 45 05.3
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NE 90th Street Parking Area (west)
  • Type of Facility: Parking Lot
  • Location of Facility: N37 57 19.0 W096 46 50.6
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NE 60th Street Boat Ramp and Information Kiosk
  • Type of Facility: Boat Ramp
  • Location of Facility: N37 54 42.4 W096 47 33.2
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NE 75th Street Parking Area
  • Type of Facility: Parking Lot
  • Location of Facility: N37 56 00.4 W096 47 17.0
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NE 85th Street Parking Area (west)
  • Type of Facility: Parking Lot
  • Location of Facility: N37 56 52.1 W096 47 27.2
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NE 85th Street Parking Area (central)
  • Type of Facility: Parking Lot
  • Location of Facility: N37 56 52.6 W096 47 08.1
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NE 85th Street Parking Area (east)
  • Type of Facility: Parking Lot
  • Location of Facility: N37 56 53.4 W096 46 37.1
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NE Chelsea Road Parking Area
  • Type of Facility: Parking Lot
  • Location of Facility: N37 56 34.4 W096 46 36.9
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Walnut River Bridge Boat Ramp
  • Type of Facility: Boat Ramp
  • Location of Facility: N37 55 40.9 W096 46 15.5
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NE 67th Terrace Parking Area
  • Type of Facility: Parking Lot
  • Location of Facility: N37 55 22.7 W096 46 19.3
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NE 70th Street Parking Area (west)
  • Type of Facility: Parking Lot
  • Location of Facility: N37 55 35.1 W096 45 46.6
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NE 70th Street Parking Area (east)
  • Type of Facility: Parking Lot
  • Location of Facility: N37 55 33.8 W096 44 35.2
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North Durechen Creek Parking Area
  • Type of Facility: Parking Lot
  • Location of Facility: N37 55 18.1 W096 44 56.9
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South Durechen Creek Parking Area and Information Kiosk
  • Type of Facility: Parking Lot
  • Location of Facility: N37 55 03.2 W096 44 57.0
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NE Cole Creek Road Boat Ramp & Dock
  • Type of Facility: Boat Ramp
  • Location of Facility: N37 54 38.8 W096 46 11.3
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NE 50th Street Parking Area
  • Type of Facility: Parking Lot
  • Location of Facility: N37 53 49.9 W096 46 28.4
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NE Cole Creek Road Parking Area
  • Type of Facility: Parking Lot
  • Location of Facility: N37 52 47.9 W096 46 04.5
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Satchel Creek Bridge Parking Area
  • Type of Facility: Parking Lot
  • Location of Facility: N37 53 11.2 W096 44 58.0
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NE 40th Street Parking Area
  • Type of Facility: Parking Lot
  • Location of Facility: N37 52 58.8 W096 44 18.6
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Shady Creek Bridge Parking Area
  • Type of Facility: Parking Lot
  • Location of Facility: N37 50 37.0 W096 44 57.3
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NE 10th Street/Hwy. 177 Parking Area
  • Type of Facility: Parking Lot
  • Location of Facility: N37 50 22.0 W096 44 55.7
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NE 10th Street Parking Area
  • Type of Facility: Parking Lot
  • Location of Facility: N37 50 22.1 W096 44 23.7
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Shady Creek Parking Area
  • Type of Facility: Parking Lot
  • Location of Facility: N37 50 39.7 W096 43 51.1
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Bemis Creek Parking Area
  • Type of Facility: Parking Lot
  • Location of Facility: N37 51 09.5 W096 43 51.2
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NE 20th Street Parking Area
  • Type of Facility: Parking Lot
  • Location of Facility: N37 51 14.3 W096 44 24.0
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Office
  • Type of Facility: Office
  • This facility is ADA accessible
  • Location of Facility: N37 51 14.1 W096 44 51.2
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El Dorado Waterfowl Report - 02/06/2020
Waterfowl Numbers Approximately 170 Canada Geese observed on 02/06.
Water level At 1339.26' approximately .26' above conservation elevation (1339') on 02/06.  
Hunting conditions Poor.  Approximately 20% of the reservoir covered in Ice. Most of the summer the lake was above conservation pool allowing for very little food resources. 01/22
Expected hunting success Fair
Comments

NOTE: El Dorado Lake is located within the Low Plains Southeast Zone.

Dark Geese 

Nov 6, 2019-Feb 16, 2020

White-fronted Geese

Jan. 25-Feb 16, 2020

Light Geese

Nov. 6 2019-Feb. 16, 2020