Kansas may not be the first state that comes to mind when you think of fly fishing, but it offers enthusiasts a surprising array of fly fishing opportunities. The Sunflower State is home to diverse fishing spots, from serene lakes to winding rivers. This article will explore the top 16 places to fly fish in Kansas, highlighting each location's unique features, prominent fly fishing spots, and the type of fish you can expect to catch.
Some of the best fly fishing locations in Kansas include:
- Blue River
- El Dorado Lake
- Fall River State Park
- Flint Hills National Wildlife Refuge
- Glen Elder Outlet
- Gunn Park East Pond
- Kanopolis Reservoir
- Kaw Point Park
- Lake Henry
- And more...
Best Fly Fishing Locations In Kansas
Kansas possesses a unique charm that sets it apart as a fly fishing destination. Its serene prairie landscapes are dotted with picturesque lakes, rivers, and reservoirs, providing a tranquil setting for anglers to cast their lines. The state's diverse fisheries offer ample opportunities to catch a variety of species, including trout, bass, crappie, and catfish.
Moreover, Kansas's lesser-known fly fishing scene means fewer crowds and more solitude, allowing for a truly immersive and personal fishing experience. Kansas proves that fly fishing adventures can be found in unexpected places.
1. Blue River
The Blue River, a renowned fly fishing destination in Kansas, meanders through the eastern part of the state. Its headwaters begin in Johnson County, near the town of Stanley, and it flows southeastward, eventually joining the Missouri River.
Access points for fly fishing can be found along its course, with notable locations including Overland Park, Blue Valley Park, and Gezer Park. The river's accessibility is enhanced by several public parks and conservation areas that provide easy entry points for anglers. With its diverse pools, riffles, and deep runs, the Blue River offers ample opportunities to hook various fish species, including trout and smallmouth bass.
Recommended fly patterns for the Blue River, Kansas:
- Bass Poppers - Size 4-10
- Chubby Chernobyl - Size 10
- Clouser Minnow - Size 0/1
2. El Dorado Lake
El Dorado Lake, located in central Kansas, is a vast reservoir that offers excellent fly fishing opportunities. Anglers can pursue largemouth bass, crappie, and bluegill in its waters. The lake's numerous coves and channels provide plenty of fishing spots to explore.
Recommended fly patterns for El Dorado Lake, Kansas:
3. Fall River State Park
Fall River State Park, nestled in southeastern Kansas, is a haven for fly fishing enthusiasts. The park is located in Greenwood County, around Fall River Lake, offering excellent angling opportunities. The lake spans over 2,400 acres and boasts diverse aquatic habitats that support various fish species, including largemouth and smallmouth bass, crappie, and channel catfish.
Access points for fly fishing can be found at designated areas within the park, such as the marina or fishing piers. The park's idyllic setting, characterized by rolling hills, woodlands, and serene waters, provides a picturesque backdrop for a memorable fly fishing experience in Kansas.
Recommended fly patterns for Fall River State Park, Kansas:
- Slump Buster with Cone - Olive - Size 8
- Double Bunny Black and Olive - Size 6
- Muddy buddy - Black - Size 6
4. Flint Hills National Wildlife Refuge
The Flint Hills National Wildlife Refuge is a haven for fly fishing enthusiasts seeking tranquility and natural beauty. Anglers can target largemouth bass, channel catfish, and sunfish while immersing themselves in the refuge's pristine environment.
Recommended fly patterns for Flint Hills National Wildlife Refuge, Kansas:
5. Glen Elder Outlet
The Glen Elder outlet in north-central Kansas is a prime spot for fly fishing enthusiasts. It is situated near Glen Elder State Park, which surrounds the Glen Elder Reservoir. The outlet, also known as the Solomon River, offers excellent fly fishing opportunities.
Anglers can access the river at various points throughout the state park, including designated fishing areas, boat ramps, and shoreline access points. The Glen Elder outlet is home to a variety of fish species, including walleye, white bass, crappie, and catfish, providing ample excitement for fly anglers.
Recommended fly patterns for the Glen Elder Outlet, Kansas:
- Bass Poppers - Size 4-10
- Clouser Deep Minnow - Size 0/1
- Trophy Dungeon - Rust - Size 8
6. Gunn Park East Pond
Gunn Park East Pond, located in Fort Scott, Kansas, is a hidden gem for fly fishing enthusiasts. This small pond is situated within the picturesque Gunn Park and offers a tranquil and accessible fishing experience. Access points for fly fishing can be found along the pond's shoreline or from the designated fishing pier. While the pond may be smaller in size, it is stocked with various fish species, such as bass, catfish, and bluegill.
Recommended fly patterns for Gunn Park East Pond, Kansas:
7. Kanopolis Reservoir
Kanopolis Reservoir is a scenic lake in central Kansas that offers a variety of fish species for fly fishing enthusiasts. Anglers can target walleye, largemouth bass, white bass, and crappie in its waters. The lake's rocky shorelines and submerged structures provide excellent fishing opportunities.
Recommended fly patterns for the Kanopolis Reservoir, Kansas:
8. Kaw Point Park
Kaw Point Park is situated at the confluence of the Kansas and Missouri rivers in Kansas City. This urban fishing spot offers the chance to catch catfish, largemouth bass, and various sunfish species. Fly fishing from the riverbanks or wading in the shallows are popular methods here.
Recommended fly patterns for Kaw Point Park, Kansas:
9. Lake Henry
Lake Henry, a small lake near Clinton State Park, offers excellent fly fishing opportunities. Anglers can pursue largemouth bass, crappie, and bluegill while enjoying the quiet ambiance of this lesser-known fishing spot.
Recommended fly patterns for Lake Henry, Kansas:
10. Lake Shawnee
Lake Shawnee, located in Topeka, provides a convenient fly fishing option for anglers in the area. The lake is stocked with catfish, largemouth bass, and various sunfish species, offering a diverse fishing experience.
Recommended fly patterns for Lake Shawnee, Kansas:
11. Milford Lake
Milford Lake, located in northeastern Kansas, is the largest lake in the state and a popular destination for fly fishing. Situated on the Republican River, it covers over 15,700 acres and offers abundant fishing opportunities. Access points for fly fishing can be found throughout the lake, including fishing piers, boat ramps, and shoreline areas.
Milford Lake is known for its diverse fish population, including largemouth and smallmouth bass, crappie, walleye, and catfish. With its vast size and diverse aquatic habitat, Milford Lake offers a rewarding and memorable fly fishing experience in Kansas.
Recommended fly patterns for Milford Lake, Kansas:
12. Mined Land Wildlife Area
The Mined Land Wildlife Area encompasses numerous lakes and ponds that provide excellent fly fishing opportunities. Anglers can target largemouth bass, crappie, and bluegill in these reclaimed mining areas, which now serve as thriving fisheries.
Recommended fly patterns for Mined Land Wildlife Area, Kansas:
13. Pratt Centennial Pond
Pratt Centennial Pond, located in Pratt, is a family-friendly fishing spot that offers a chance to catch trout. The pond is stocked regularly, providing anglers with a rewarding fishing experience in a peaceful setting.
Recommended fly patterns for Pratt Centennial Pond, Kansas:
14. Tuttle Creek State Park, Manhattan, KS
Tuttle Creek State Park, located near Manhattan, Kansas, is a haven for fly fishing enthusiasts. Situated along the shores of Tuttle Creek Lake, this expansive state park offers excellent opportunities for anglers.
Access points for fly fishing can be found at various locations within the park, including fishing piers, boat ramps, and shoreline areas. Tuttle Creek Lake's sprawling 12,360 acres of surface waters provide a picturesque backdrop for fly fishing. The lake is home to a diverse range of fish species, such as largemouth bass, crappie, bluegill, and catfish
Recommended fly patterns for Tuttle Creek State Park, Kansas:
- Bass Poppers - Size 4-10
- Clouser Minnow - Size 0/1
- Double Bunny - Size 6
15. Wichita East KDOT Pond
The Wichita East KDOT Pond is a small but productive fishing spot located in Wichita. This urban pond is stocked with trout, providing an accessible fly fishing option for anglers in the area.
Recommended fly patterns for Wichita East KDOT Pond, Kansas:
16. Willow Lake
Willow Lake, located in the Tuttle Creek Wildlife Area, is a hidden gem for fly fishing enthusiasts. Anglers can target largemouth bass, crappie, and bluegill in its waters. The lake's peaceful surroundings and relatively secluded nature add to its appeal.
Recommended fly patterns for Willow Lake, Kansas:
What Gear Do I Need to Fly Fish in Kansas?
To fly fish in Kansas, you will need the following gear:
- Fly rod (typically 8 to 9 feet long, with a weight suitable for the target species)
- Fly reel (matched to the rod weight, with a smooth drag system)
- Fly line (floating or sinking, depending on the fishing conditions)
- Leaders and tippet material (usually 9 to 12 feet long, tapered for delicate presentations)
- Assortment of flies (including dry flies, nymphs, and streamers)
- Waders and wading boots (essential for fishing in rivers, streams, and reservoirs)
- Polarized sunglasses (to reduce glare and improve visibility)
- Fishing vest or pack (to carry your gear and accessories)
- Landing net (to safely handle and release fish)
- Fly fishing accessories (such as forceps, nippers, and strike indicators)
- Proper clothing and footwear suitable for the weather conditions
Additional Facts about Fly Fishing in Kansas:
Kansas may not have the abundance of trout streams or mountainous landscapes typically associated with fly fishing, but it offers diverse fishing opportunities for various fish species. The state's lakes, reservoirs, rivers, and ponds allow anglers to pursue bass, catfish, sunfish, crappie, and even stocked trout.
Kansas offers both urban and remote fly fishing experiences, allowing anglers to choose between tranquil natural settings and convenient fishing spots close to cities and towns. Fly fishing in Kansas often involves targeting warm-water species such as largemouth bass and catfish, which can provide exciting and challenging fishing experiences.
Local fishing regulations and licensing requirements should be carefully observed to ensure compliance with state laws. Kansas's fly fishing locations often provide additional recreational activities such as hiking, camping, and wildlife watching, making it an ideal destination for nature enthusiasts.
Where is the best place to fly fish in Kansas?
Determining the best place to fly fish in Kansas depends on personal preferences and the type of fish you wish to target. However, some popular destinations among anglers include El Dorado Lake, Milford Lake, Tuttle Creek State Park, and the Flint Hills National Wildlife Refuge. These locations offer diverse fishing opportunities and beautiful natural surroundings.
Where is the best trout fishing in Kansas?
While Kansas is not widely known for its trout fishing, some locations offer stocked trout fishing opportunities. Gunn Park East Pond, Pratt Centennial Pond, and the Wichita East KDOT Pond are popular spots for trout fishing in Kansas. Anglers looking to target trout can find success in these designated trout fishing areas.
Where are the biggest trout in Kansas?
Kansas does not have a significant population of naturally reproducing trout, so the size of trout caught in the state is generally modest. However, some lakes and ponds are stocked with larger trout during certain periods, offering the opportunity to catch larger fish. Gunn Park East Pond and Pratt Centennial Pond are known to receive regular stockings of trout, including larger specimens that provide a more exciting angling experience.