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Fishing regulations in Kansas

Floatline fishing

* Floatline fishing is allowed during daylight hours from July 15 through Sept. 15 at Hillsdale, Council Grove, Tuttle Creek, Kanopolis, John Redmond, Toronto, Wilson, and Pomona reservoirs. Anglers will be allowed no more than eight floatlines or eight setlines (with no more than two hooks attached to each line) or one trotline with no more than 25 hooks attached. Each trotline, setline, tip-up, floatline and unattended fishing line shall have a tag or label securely attached, designating the name and address of the operator.

No trotline, floatline or setline shall be set within 150 yards of any dam. All floatlines must be under immediate supervision of the angler and must be removed from the water when fishing stops. Material used for floats are restricted to "closed cell" devices made of plastic, wood or foam; metal or glass floats are not allowed. A "closed-cell" construction shall mean a solid body incapable of containing water. A $2.50 floatline permit is required. This is three-year pilot program.

Aquatic nuisance species

* Zebra mussels have been found in several Kansas lakes, including Wilson located east of Russell.

Length and creel limits

* Channel and blue catfish -- daily limit of 10.

Walleye, sauger, saugeye -- five with a minimum length of 15 inches

Rainbow or brown trout, 5.

Black basses -- 5, with a minimum length of 15 inches.

Flathead catfish -- 5.

Northern pike -- two with a 30 inch minimum length.

Striped bass -- two.

Wiper -- 2

Crappie -- 50.

White bass, bullhead or bluegill -- no limit.

Paddlefish -- two, with a 34-inch length limit.

CULLING: Once a daily creel limit of any particular species has been possessed, any other fish of that species that is caught must be released immediately, unharmed, into the water. It may not replace another fish already in the creel.

The possession limit on all fish is three times the daily creel limit.

Veterans permits

* Kansas residents who have been separated from the armed services under honorable conditions and have a disability certified by the Kansas Commission On Veterans Affairs as being service-connected and such disability is equal to or greater than 30 percent may apply through the Pratt Operations Office for free hunting and fishing licenses (not applicable for park permits).

Standard regulations

Each angler is limited to two rods (three with purchase of a three-pole permit) with not more than two baited hooks (single or treble) or artificial lures per line. In addition to two lines, a fisherman may set one trotline with no more than 25 hooks or, instead of a trotline, an angler may use eight setlines containing not more than two hooks each. Trotlines and setlines may not be set within 150 yards of any dam.

Setlines, trotlines and any unattended lines must be checked at least once every 24 hours and must be tagged securely and plainly with the fisherman's name and address.

Trotlines and setlines are prohibited on all department-managed waters under 500 surface acres, as well as in the waters at Crawford, Meade and Scott state parks. Other restrictions may be applied by posted notice.

Except where snagging paddlefish and nonsport fish is permitted, fish may be hooked only in the mouth to be considered legally caught by hook and line. If hooked elsewhere, the fish shall be returned, unrestrained, to the water immediately. Nonsport fish may be taken by gig.

Bait fish

Bait fish may be taken for noncommercial purposes by the following methods: seine not larger than 15 feet long and four feet deep, with mesh not larger than one-fourth inch; fish trap with mesh not larger than one-fourth inch and throat no larger than one inch in diameter (must be tagged with fisherman's name and address); fishing line; or a dip or cast net with mesh no larger than three-eighths of an inch.

Bait fish may not exceed 12 inches, and the possession limit is 500 per person. The taking of bait fish is allowed statewide, except that seining is prohibited on department-owned waters.

Legal bait

Legal fish bait includes artificial lures, bait fish, prepared bait, vegetable materials, artificial bait, worms, salamanders, frogs and crawfish.

No species listed as a prohibited, threatened, endangered, or in need of conservation can be used as bait. Any legally taken wildlife may be used, including sportfish of legal length taken by hook and line.

Fishing on private land

Before fishing on private land (except waters enrolled in the FISH program), anglers must obtain permission from the landowner or tenant.

This also applies to anglers fishing from roadways, bridges or railroad rights of way.

Unless otherwise posted, all streams in Kansas other than the Arkansas, Missouri and Kansas rivers are under private ownership of adjoining landowners.

Those three large rivers are public up to the normal high-water line; however, fishermen must obtain landowner or tenant permission before crossing private property to fish them.


Bullfrog season runs July 1 through Oct. 31. Daily creel limit is eight. Possession limit is 24 bullfrogs. Unless angler is exempt, a valid fishing license is required to take, catch or kill bullfogs.

Bullfrogs may be taken any time of day or night by dip net, gig, hook and line, hand, bow and arrow, or crossbow. A line must attach bow to arrow, and the arrow must have a barbed head. Any other method of taking bullfrogs is prohibited.


All waters are open to bowfishing, unless posted otherwise. Some bowfishing is permitted at city, county, township or private lakes, but regulations vary, so anyone bowfishing should consult local rules. Fish that can be legally taken by bowfishing are nonsport fish. Crossbows are legal.

Bowfish anglers must have in possession a valid Kansas fishing license, unless exempt by law. Arrows must have barbed heads, and each arrow must be attached by a line to the bow. Waters within 50 yards of an occupied boat dock or ramp, occupied swimming area, occupied picnic site or camping area, and other occupied public-use areas are closed to bowfishing.


Common snapping turtles and soft-shelled turtles may be taken year-round. Daily creel limit is eight, single species or in combination. Possession limit is three creel limits. A valid fishing license is required (unless exempt). Legal equipment: hand, hook and line, setline, hand dip net, seine, turtle trap, or gig.

Unlawful acts

It is unlawful to refuse to allow law enforcement officers to inspect fish or wildlife in possession or devices or facilities used in taking, possessing, transporting, storing, or processing any wildlife.

It is also unlawful to sell fish taken by sport fishing methods, except as specifically authorized under a commercial fishing permit.


Icefishing with baited hooks or lures is legal on lakes, reservoirs and streams.

In addition to the allowed two lines, eight tipups may be used to icefish, unless otherwise posted. Tip-ups may have a maximum of two hooks each. Unattended tip-ups must be tagged plainly with the angler's name and address. County or city lakes may have local laws controlling such activity. Holes cut in the ice of public waters may be no more than 12 inches in diameter or 12 inches square.


Handfishing, for flathead catfish only, is legal from sunrise to sunset June 15 through Aug. 31 at two locations: the Arkansas River from the John Mack Bridge on Broadway Street in Wichita downstream to the Kansas-Oklahoma border, and on the Kansas River from its origin downstream to its confluence with the Missouri River. It also is legal at all federal reservoirs from beyond 150 yards of the dam to the upper end of the federal property. A special permit is required in addition to a fishing license.

Paddlefish snagging

A special paddlefish snagging season runs March 15 through May 15 on posted areas inside city parks on the Neosho River below the Chetopa and Burlington city dams, Marais des Cygnes River below Osawatomie Dam, and the Browning Oxbow Lake of the Missouri River or other areas posted by KDWP. Paddlefish may be snagged using pole and line with not more than two single or treble hooks. The daily creel limit for paddlefish is two and the possession limit is six. All paddlefish snagged must be kept, except on the Kansas-Missouri boundary waters, where there is a 24-inch length limit. A paddlefish permit includes six carcass tags. Upon harvest, anglers must sign a carcass tag, record the county/date/time of harvest, and attach the carcass tag to the lower jaw of the paddlefish taken. Anglers must stop snagging once the daily limit of paddlefish is reached.

Nonsport fish (carp, drum, grass carp, threadfin and gizzard shad, goldfish, gar, suckers including carpsucker and buffalo, goldeye, and bowfin) can be snagged in waters posted open to snagging during the paddlefish season. There are no limits on nonsport fish.


Unless otherwise posted, spearguns, without explosive charge, can be used to take nonsport fish in waters posted "open to scuba and skin diving."

Spears must be attached to speargun or person by a line.

Alcoholic beverages

The consumption of beverages containing no more than 3.2 percent alcohol is permitted on department lands and waters, unless otherwise posted. Check local posted regulations. Boating under the influence of alcohol is illegal, and BUI laws are strictly enforced.

State fishing lakes

Motorboats can be used on state fishing lakes for fishing and hunting only, unless otherwise posted. Wading and tube floating in state lakes is legal as part of fishing, hunting, bullfrogging and trapping.


All fish taken shall have the head, body and tail fin attached while in possession on the water. Sportfish taken must be kept until consumed, processed, taken home or given to another person, or released.