BY STEVEN HAUSLER

The Hays Daily News

Fishing opportunities are looking good across northwest Kansas for a weekend of free fishing and more.

The Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks has scheduled the weekend of free fishing for anglers looking to test the waters across the state. Fishing licenses are not required to fish some of the best waters in the state.

Ordinarily, nonresidents 16 or older and residents age 16 through 64 must have a fishing license to fish in Kansas. But, this weekend is a chance for everyone to go for free.

"There are some really great opportunities out there," said Dave Spalsbury, fisheries biologist for the Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks at Cedar Bluff.

"Walleye fishing has really been good here (Cedar Bluff), and the catfishing should really take off by the weekend," Spalsbury added.

The recent fishing reports indicate good fishing opportunities for nearly every species that swims at all area lakes, including state fishing lakes like Scott State Fishing Lake, Sheridan State Fishing Lake, and several impoundments in the Fishing Impoundment and Stream Habitat program. The FISH program leases private bodies of water open to public fishing.

"We have some really good bodies of water in the FISH program, and a new one located northwest of WaKeeney," Spalsbury said.

Maps showing the locations of FISH program waters are located on the KDWP web site at www.kdwp.state.ks.us.

Some activities planned for the upcoming weekend include OK Kids Day, held in conjunction with the free fishing weekend Saturday at Scott State Fishing Lake, and a fishing clinic at the township lake in Atwood from 9 a.m. until noon. KDWP stocked the township lake in Atwood with about 100 additional channel catfish on Thursday for the clinic.

"Fishing is really looking good in all the lakes, streams and smaller impoundments with all the rain we have had" said Steve Price, regional fisheries supervisor with KDWP in Hays.

Some of the best prospects for a weekend of free fishing include; crappie fishing at Kirwin, white bass and walleye fishing at Webster, Walleye fishing at Cedar Bluff, striped bass and walleye fishing at Wilson, crappie fishing at Keith Sebelius, bluegill and channel catfishing at Sheridan SFL, walleye and crappie fishing at Scott SFL, just to mention a few.