Elk City Wildlife Area

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Area News
Elk City Reservoir/Wildlife Area Waterfowl Report
Elk City Reservoir Fishing Information
Elk City State Park

The dam is located 5 miles northwest of Independence. The 12,446 acres of fish and wildlife habitat are licensed to the department from the Corps of Engineers. The area has many different habitat types and is managed primarily for waterfowl, upland and small game, deer and turkey. Camping is permitted at the state park and Corps of Engineers campgrounds.Toilets are available at these areas also. Anglers primarily fish for catfish, flathead and crappie, and pursue white bass in the river in the spring. Hiking trails are available in the state park and on the Corps of Engineers properties. No hunting is allowed in the state park or in the refuge area and in the safety zone adjacent the state park, hunting is restricted to archery and shotgun with pellets only. The refuge is closed to all activities from September 1 to March 31 and angler access is allowed in the refuge from April 1 to August 31. Check current hunting regulations summary for additional hunting requirements.

5089 CR 2925
Independence,KS    67301
Area News - Updated: 09/07/2018



PRAIRIE RESTORATION - Native grassland restoration continues with the use of a skid steer mounted saw to remove trees from existing blocks of native grass. Brush is being piled and stumps treated to prevent re-sprouting. These work areas are scattered across the area and have targeted native grasslands as well as quail habitat areas. Extensive spraying of invasive weeds has occurred on several large tracts of grassland this season.  Upland areas away from frequent flooding were targeted with good success.

DOVE SEASON -  Sunflower fields WERE PLANTED this spring.  Dove harvest from past years has been variable with just over 3400 harvested in 2014, 700 in 2013, 2400 in 2012 and just over 4000 in 2011. Since 2008, over 24,000 dove have been harvested on managed fields. No Lead shot is allowed on dove management hunt areas while posted.  The non-toxic requirement is in response to the concentrated hunting of doves and accumulation of lead in the fields, available to wildlife while feeding.  Non-Toxic shot is required on numerous dove management areas across the state.

A reminder to hunters, the Berentz-Dick Wa (Buffalo Ranch) is open to hunting on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday only.   Mandatory registration before hunting is in effect and I-Sportsman is now available for registration. It will be MANDATORY for use for all hunting.  No paper registration cards are to be used by hunters.

WETLAND MANAGEMENT - The wetlands finally dried out in July allowing some ground work. Good moist soil vegetation responses were successful in seed production in some areas, and selected portions were disked and planted to millet/milo. A new water control structure in Simmons Marsh was constructed to allow water to bypass out of the marsh during summer months and improve management options. Water was captured in August.

The Chetopa Creek / Quaker Cemetery Road: This road will be seasonally closed (September to April) The road WILL BE OPEN during duck hunting seasons. Vehicle access will be allowed during early teal, youth and all of regular duck season, and will be closed immediately following duck season. This is to decrease vehicle disturbance while increasing wildlife utilization and improve hunting opportunities in the Chetopa Creek area for deer and turkey.

DEER HUNTING: Hunters are reminded that changes were made for public land hunters regarding baiting and the use of blinds. No individual may use more than two portable blinds or tree stands on any single department owned or managed property. Portable blinds or decoys shall not be left unattended overnight. Each portable blind or tree stand shall be marked with the users name and address or the users department issued identification number in a visible, legible and weather proof manner.  Stands are to be removed two weeks after season closes.

No person may place or use bait while hunting on department lands. Bait is defined as any grain, fruit, vegetable, nut, hay, salt, sorghum, feed, other food or mineral that is capable of attracting wildlife. Liquid scents and sprays are not considered bait. Hunting is prohibited within 100 yards of any baited site for up to 10 days after removal of the bait. Hunting is allowed over standing crops or food plots found on the area.

Two deer permits are allowed per person on Elk City Reservoir, including the either sex permit and primary antlerless deer permit only. No vehicles are allowed off maintained roadways.  All terrain vehicles are not allowed on department maintained roadways.


General Information
5089 CR 2925
Independence, KS    67301

Elk City Reservoir & WA (PDF 417.93 kB)
Elk City SP (PDF 240.92 kB)

Manager: Darin Porter
Fish Biologist: Seth Lundgren

Phone: 620.331.6820

Special Regulations
  • All off-road vehicle and horse use is prohibited.
  • The Elk City Wildlife Area has one refuge. All activities and entry is prohibited from September 1 through March 31.
  • The refuge is closed to all hunting year round. Fishing is allowed April 1 through August 31.

Special Features: The world record flathead catfish weighing 123 pounds was caught here in 1998.

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


The 12,446 acres of land and water were licensed from the Army Corps of Engineers to the Kansas Fish and Game Commission after completion of the reservoir.

Elk City Facilities
Barren Bottoms Boat Launch
  • Type of Facility: Boat Launch
  • Location of Facility: N37 14.786 W95 51.228
  • Click for more information

    Gravel launch for small boats

South Squaw Boat Launch

Card Creek Boat Ramp
  • Type of Facility: Boat Ramp
  • This facility is ADA accessible
  • Location of Facility: N37 15.478 W95 50.966
  • Click for more information

    Located in the Corps of Engineers Campground

Elk River Boat Launch
  • Type of Facility: Boat Ramp
  • Location of Facility: N37 17.546 W95 55.109
  • Click for more information

    Ramp located on the River for small boats

Elk City State Park Boat Ramp
  • Type of Facility: Boat Ramp
  • This facility is ADA accessible
  • Location of Facility: N37 14.544 W95 47.204
  • Click for more information

    This boat ramp is located in the Elk City State Park

Elk City Reservoir/Wildlife Area Waterfowl Report - 02/28/2019
Waterfowl numbers Duck season is closed. There are a good number of waterfowl using the area as they migrate back north. The numbers and species vary greatly from day to day. Less than 1,000 snow geese have been seen using the reservoir this week. The light goose numbers are also fluctuating a lot.
Water level The reservoir is currently 0.7 ft high and slowly dropping.  Wetlands are full.
Hunting conditions The lake edge is primarily mud bank now due to repeated flooding.
Expected hunting success Fair to Good.
Comment For updated waterfowl numbers and weather conditions call (620) 331-6820. Individuals utilizing the wildlife area need to be aware of the refuge boundaries. Maps can be obtained at the Fisheries & Wildlife office (below the dam) or at the State Park (on the lake side).