Kansas Fly Fishing

Information About How and Where To Go Fly Fishing in Kansas
Many anglers want to know ‘What can you catch with a fly rod in Kansas?’ The answer to that question includes all kinds of fish including bass, carp, catfish, wiper, stripers, bluegill, walleye pike, gar, trout.

Reservoirs fishing for Stripers

Reservoirs fishing is a big part of the Kansas game. With over 20 large reservoirs in Kansas, lake style fishing is popular. You can fish for walleye, stripers, wipers, largemouth bass, white bass, crappie, carp and channel cats. Striped bass are popular fly rod fare in many areas because they have adapted well. Most striper populations are maintained through stocking programs supported by the state because they reporduce naturally in Kansas. Stripers provide fly rodders with great streamer and top water popper action. They fight hard too. There is always a chance at a wopper bass – the state record is a 43 lber.

Streams & Creeks

Kansas Wildlife and Parks stock trout in selected streams and ponds throughout Kansas. A trout stamp is required in addition to regular fishing permit. Further information about the Trout stocking program and stocking schedule is available at KDWP webpage.

Slough Creek is located inside Sedgwick County Park in Northwest part of Wichita. This one mile stretch of stream is restricted to “Flies Only” by Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks and is one of the most favored trout stream for fly fishermen in South-central Kansas.

What to Fish For in Kansas

Trout

  • Rod, Reel, and Line: 2 wt. to 6 wt. with 6 ft. to 10 ft. in length; 4-5 wt. 9 ft. rod, matching reel and floating line preferred.
  • Leaders and Tippets: 5X – 7X leaders and tippets; 6X leader plus matching 18″+ tippet preferred.
  • Flies: Most bead headed nymphs and streamers size 6 to 18, Bead headed olive, black or white Woolybugger (Size 12), Bloodworm patterns (Size 16 – 18)

Most streamers can be fished without any indicators by casting up or downstream and retrieving in various speed, depending on conditions. Some smaller flies can be fished under an indicator with or without dropper flies.

Carp

Last but certainly not least is the revered king of rough fish, the carp. Originating from Europe and Asia, carp have firmly established their presence in Kansas rivers, ponds, lakes, and reservoirs. These giants of the murky depths are not typically sought after for their culinary qualities but are known to grow to impressive sizes, thanks to their voracious appetite for nearly anything within the aquatic ecosystem. Fly fishing enthusiasts, such as the Free State Fly Fishers, humorously refer to it as “going to the dark side” when a member embarks on a mission with a fly rod in hand to pursue the elusive common carp or buffalo. Once you’ve experienced the thrill of capturing a carp, no other fishing experience quite compares. For those keen on sight fishing, consider testing your skills with patterns like “Mike’s Carp Candy,” “MacDaddy,” or “Jamie’s Carp Fly” (formerly known as “The Pimp Formerly Known As Carp Candy”). In Kansas, the state record for the Common Carp stands at an impressive 47.10 pounds, while the smallmouth buffalo boasts an admirable 51 pounds, and the bigmouth buffalo takes the crown with an astounding 54.25 pounds of formidable fighting prowess.

  • Rod & Reel 5 – 7 wt. Graphite Rod & Matching Reel. Light saltwater 6 – 7 wt. with fighting butt recommended. See our Equipment Page for details.
  • Line Floating Line (weight forward or double tapered)
  • Leader 6 – 10 lb Mono (4 ft+)
  • Flies McCloskey Special, Brown, Tan, Green flies

Look for actively feeding fish in shallow water. Look for dorsal or tail fin above water or swirl below the surface. Locate your target and deliver precisely. Anticipate the fish movement and cast 6 – 18 inches in front of the fish. Do not strip. Let it sink slowly. You don’t need to set the hook. They will do it for you. Hang on to your rod and let them run. Make sure you have enough backing on your reel.

Wipers

Kansas waters are home to some of the most formidable aquatic creatures, and perhaps the most tenacious among them is the Wiper. A product of the unique blend between a white bass and a striped bass, the Wiper exhibits remarkable growth rates, strikes with astonishing force, and puts up a fight unmatched by any other local fish. These fierce fighters commonly attain sizes exceeding 3 pounds, often feasting on delectable bait fish and eagerly taking the likes of “Clouser Minnow” or “Icelandic Minnow” when presented as flies. It’s worth noting that the Palmetto Bass (Wiper) is actively stocked by the Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks, and the state’s record for this species stands at an impressive 22 pounds, while the global record boasts an astonishing 27 pounds and 5 ounces.

Crappie

Moving on to the world of crappie, we encounter two prominent species residing in most farm ponds and lakes across the region: the white crappie and the black crappie. Both species display an affinity for “Sarge’s Crappie Fly.” The white crappie, thriving abundantly throughout Kansas, thrives in the expansive reservoirs and various state or county lakes. These resilient panfish, renowned for their fighting spirit, are recognized as some of the finest slab-sided white crappie specimens found in the United States. The world record for white crappie stands at 5 pounds and 3 ounces, with the Kansas record closely trailing at 4 pounds and 1/4 ounce.

In contrast, the black crappie, although less prevalent than its counterpart, prefers the serenity of smaller lakes and farm ponds. They share a similar size and shape with their white cousins but sport a distinctive uniform dark flecking without visible barring. The world record for black crappie tips the scales at an impressive 6 pounds, while the Kansas record stands at an enviable 4 pounds and 10 ounces.

Bass

For those seeking a more challenging pursuit, bass fishing emerges as an enticing option. Kansas offers a diverse group known as the black basses, including the smallmouth, spotted, and the iconic largemouth bass, known for its substantial size. While all these bass varieties can be found in farm ponds and lakes, the largemouth bass thrives in shallow, murky waters, often seeking refuge amid weed beds or submerged trees. To enhance your success, consider equipping your deer hair poppers with mono weed guards, especially when using flies like the “Tadpole.” Among the black basses, the largemouth stands out with a distinctive feature—a mouth that extends behind the eye. The recorded world record for largemouth bass is an astonishing 22 pounds and 4 ounces, while the current Kansas record rests at an admirable 11 pounds and 12 ounces.

Recommended Tackle for Bass Fishing

  • Rod & Reel: 6 – 8 wt. Graphite Rod & Matching Reel, See our Equipment Page for Details
  • Line: Floating, Intermediate, Sinking Tip, Full Sinking, Shooting Taper
  • Leader: 6 – 10 lb Mono
  • Flies: Bass bugs, Streamer, Wooly Bugger,

Search using a search pattern flies, search fish from top to bottom in water column. Dark color for stained and muddy water, light color for clear water Dark color in dusk and dawn, light color in bright sun.

Striped Bass

Despite its origins in saltwater habitats, the striped bass, or Striper, has successfully adapted to freshwater lakes and reservoirs in Kansas, thriving on a diet of bait and panfish. While Striper populations do not reproduce in Kansas waters, the KDWP maintains their presence through stocking programs. Stripers have earned a formidable reputation for their relentless fighting spirit, characterized by long, spirited runs, and some enthusiasts even liken them to the freshwater version of tarpon. In Kansas, the state record for Striper stands at a remarkable 43 pounds and 8 ounces, while the global freshwater record soars to a staggering 67 pounds and 1 ounce.

Kansas Fly Fishing Articles & Resources

Kansas Angler
The Kansas Angler offers fishing reports and other information for Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas, Missouri, Iowa, Colorado and Nebraska.
www.kansasangler.com

Kansas trout stocking locations
List of lakes and areas where trout are being stocked in KS.
www.kdwp.state.ks.us/news/fishing/special_fishing_programs_for_you/trout_fishing_program/trout_stocking_locations

Lake Taneycomo
The Mid West’s Premier Rainbow Trout Fishing Lake
https://www.branson.com/branson/laketaneycomo/taneycomo.htm

Trout Fishing in Kansas
www.flatlandflyfishers.org/

Watermark Guide to Fishing in Kansas
www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0922820147/fishingworksco02/002-9831
029-8953655

Flatland Fly Fishers Club of Wichita, Kansas
Information on fishing Slough Creek
https://flatlandflyfishers.org/conservation/a-history-of-slough-creek-trout-fishery-by-ken-mccloskey/

Heart of America Fly Fishers
Kansas City area fly fishing club
www.hoaff.org

Kansas Fly Fishing Shops
K&K Flyfishers
8643 Grant, Overland Park, KS 66212, 800-795-8118
www.kkflyfisher.com/index.html

Zeiners Bass Shop
737 S. Washington #6 , Wichita, KS 67211 (316) 265-5551
www.zeiners.com/index1.html

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