Fishing license a great gift for outdoors woman
PRATT — Mother’s Day is May 8, and the Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks (KDWP) has the perfect gift for the outdoors woman in the family — a Kansas fishing license. Whether Mom loves to relax on the bank and enjoy some of the best channel, flathead, and blue catfishing in the Midwest, or if she likes to crank up the boat and cruise the reservoirs for hard-fighting wipers, Kansas has it all.

Kansas boasts 24 large reservoirs ranging from 1,200 to 16,000 surface acres, and most offer park facilities. Depending on individual reservoir characteristics, each has its own specialty. In the northeast, reservoirs are known for producing crappie, white bass, and channel catfish. In the southeast, crappie, largemouth bass, white bass, and catfish are tops. In the central part of the state, reservoirs draw anglers looking for walleye, white bass, striped bass, wipers, and channel cats. In the west, reservoirs are known for walleye, largemouth bass, wipers, and crappie.

For those who prefer smaller waters, KDWP owns and operates 40 state fishing lakes as small as 50 acres or as large as 300. Most offer primitive facilities, and boating is allowed for fishing only. Two state fishing lakes, Meade and Scott, offer full-service state parks. State fishing lakes are great places for family trips and provide good fishing for largemouth bass, crappie, and channel catfish. More than 200 community-owned lakes can provide outstanding angling opportunities. The Community Fisheries Assistance Program has leased fishing rights to most of these lakes to allow fishing from the shore or a boat with no additional fees. All Mom needs is a Kansas fishing license. A few of these lakes may establish creel and length limits more restrictive than state regulations, so it's a good idea to check locally before fishing.

And don’t overlook rivers. More than 10,000 miles of streams and rivers run through Kansas. Although most are privately owned, three navigable rivers — the Arkansas, Missouri, and Kansas — are open to the public (permission required to access rivers through private land). Some reaches are leased by the department through the Fish Impoundments and Stream Habitats (F.I.S.H) Program, while other reaches, such as those above reservoirs, are in public ownership. Many streams provide excellent channel and flathead catfishing, and those in the east and southeast may also hold spotted bass. A little research using the Kansas Fishing Atlas and legwork visiting with landowners could open some great stream fishing.

To help Mom find the best fishing, go to the KDWP website,, and read the Fishing Forecast, a compilation of biologists' sampling efforts. For up-to-date information, look up the Fishing Reports for lakes of her choice. Field staff update the fishing reports each week through the fishing season, reporting on fishing success, lake levels, water temperatures, and other important information.

This year, give a Mother’s Day gift that will last the rest of the year — a Kansas fishing license. And make the gift even better by cleaning her catch.