Fishing Within the City of Wichita

The waters in this area have been opened to public fishing through cooperative efforts between local governments and the Department of Wildlife and Parks. All state fishing regulations apply and, in addition, some waters may require special permits. Some lakes may also have restrictions on the hours they are open to angling and have more restrictive creel limits than state regulations. There may be special length limitations in effect on these lakes, so read the signs at the park entrances.

Most of these waters receive biweekly stocking of channel catfish from April through September. Rainbow trout are released during the cooler months on a biweekly stocking schedule (October 15 through April 1) at KDOT East Lake and in Big Slough Creek. Most trout are harvested before water temperatures warm to lethal levels.

Many lakes are also stocked with wipers, a white bass/striped bass hybrid. These fish are stocked to provide trophy fish and to help control rough fish and panfish. Bass, crappie, and bluegill sustain their populations through natural reproduction. Additional species include carp, flathead catfish, drum, buffalo, and gizzard shard.

Information was taken from the "Fishing Guide to the Wichita Metro Area" brochure by the Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks.

All public waters in the state have a minimum length limit of 15 inches on walleye and largemouth bass.

Wichita City Ordinances on Fishing

Fishing shall be permitted only in the following areas (excluding, of course, privately owned property within the generally described areas):

Little Arkansas River

Left and right banks (facing downstream) from Central Avenue to outflow into Arkansas River. Right bank (facing downstream) from Bitting Street to Forest Street.

Arkansas River

Left and right banks (facing downstream) within the city limits except the left bank (facing downstream) between Douglas Avenue and Lewis Street and the right bank (facing downstream) between Seneca Street and 500 feet south of Harry Street.

Fishing from the following areas is prohibited

  • Second Street Bridge
  • Douglas Avenue Bridge
  • Lewis Street Bridge
  • Nims Street Bridge
  • Murdock Street Bridge
  • Kellogg Overpass Bridge

Measuring & Handling Fish

Fish length is measured from the tip of the snout to the end of the tail, with the mouth closed and tail lobes pressed together.

Catch-and-Release: Most anglers release fish immediately if they feel they are just too small to take. Many anglers are strictly catch-and-release fishermen. In any of these cases, it is important to know the basics of fish handling to ensure that they will live to fight again.

First, the most difficult part: catch a fish. If it is obviously under any size limit, release the fish without lifting it into the boat or on the bank. To do this, grab the fish at the base of the tail (a cotton glove makes this easier.) Open the bail of your reel and set your rod down. Free the hook. If the fish has swallowed the hook. cut the line as close to the hook as possible. The hook will eventually rust away.

Fish will survive better if not played to exhaustion. If you must land a fish to measure it, use a net. Don't allow the fish to bounce around on the boat floor. This could injure the fish or remove the mucous coating which protects it from infection. Remove the fish from the net by gripping it gently but firmly around the gill plates and mid-section. Never touch the eyeballs or delicate gills. After removing the hook, wet your measuring board and measure the fish. If the fish is under the length limit or you just wish to release it, don't merely toss it back into the water. Release it gently. If it is slow to swim off, carefully move it back and forth, forcing water through its gills. This will aid the fish's revival.

Although some fish will be lost to hook injury, research has found this to be minimized if they are properly handled.

Remember these guidelines for handling fish.

  • Wet hands and keep fish in water as much as possible when handling and removing the hook.
  • Remove the hook gently. Don't squeeze fish or put your fingers into the gills.
  • If deeply hooked, cut the line. Don't pull the hook out.
  • Release fish only after its equilibrium is maintained. If necessary, hold fish gently upright and move it slowly back and forth in the water.
  • Do not play fish to exhaustion.

Caution: Be extremely cautious when removing hooks from walleye. They have very sharp teeth and gill covers, and a thrashing walleye could drive a hook into your hand.