By MIKE CORN
Confusion was the driving force behind an effort to mark Kansas lakes with creel and length limits signs.
Signs detailing a specific lake's regulations, at least as far as the number of fish that can be caught daily and the minimum length to keep a fish, have been going up.
Rooks County State Lake south of Stockton is among the last to see the signs being installed.
Of course, that lake was on the dry side for several years before heavy rains last fall filled it almost overnight.
For some time, state lakes had a standard creel and length limit. Anytime that was changed for a specific location, a footnote was added to the regulations issued by the Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks.
"We didn't post anything unless it was different," said Steve Price, fisheries supervisor for the KDWP's western region.
Soon, the footnotes became longer than the regulation itself.
And that's when confusion reigned supreme.
A couple years ago, Price said, the agency's fisheries regulation committee recommended installing signs at area lakes to help simply the situation facing them. Eventually, that proposal made its way thorough the the department and received approval.
The book that details regulations became simpler as well.
"That way when you go to a lake, you read the book or the sign," Price said.
The signs are being installed at primary access points, such as boat ramps or at kiosks that attract considerable attention.
Price likes the new signs.
"It's got to be clearer when all you have to do is look at one paragraph," he said of the fishing regulations book. "It's right there."
The signs were developed in a way so that changes can be incorporated quickly and easily.
Price called it a bumper-sticker type of an approach.
As changes in regulations are made, the new creel or length limit can be made quickly.
"Even if it gets weather beaten, even if there's no change, we can go in and dress it up," he said.