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The Ten Best Fly Fishing Sites in Kansas

Kansas is a hidden gem for fly fishing enthusiasts, boasting over 70,000 miles of streams and rivers that offer ample opportunities for catching a variety of fish species. The state’s diverse terrain and water bodies make it an ideal location for fly fishing throughout the year, whether it’s the shallow streams of Flint Hills or the clear waters of the Ozark Plateau. Here are the top 10 best fly fishing sites in Kansas, along with the best time to fish, estimated costs, fish species, and descriptions.

1. Cedar Bluff Reservoir – https://cedarbluffrecreationarea.com/
Best time to fish: Spring and fall
Cost: $5 per vehicle for daily permit
Fish species: Bass, catfish, crappie, bluegill
Description: This reservoir is perfect for anglers looking to catch big fish while enjoying a beautiful view of the surrounding countryside.

2. Clinton Lake – https://www.lawrenceks.org/parks/facilities/clinton_lake
Best time to fish: Summer and fall
Cost: $3 for daily permit
Fish species: Crappie, bass, saugeye, channel catfish
Description: This is one of the most popular fishing destinations in Kansas, featuring clear waters and beautiful scenery.

3. Cowley State Fishing Lake – https://ksoutdoors.com/Fishing/Where-to-Fish-in-Kansas/Fishing-Locations-Public-Waters/Southeast-Region/Cowley-State-Fishing-Lake
Best time to fish: All year round
Cost: $3 for daily permit
Fish species: Bass, bluegill, crappie
Description: This lake is a peaceful refuge ideal for fly anglers seeking solitude. It consists of clear and calm waters, making it a perfect fishing spot for beginners.

4. Elk City Lake – https://www.nwk.usace.army.mil/Locations/District-Lakes/Elk-City-Lake/
Best time to fish: Early fall and winter
Cost: $5 per vehicle for daily permit
Fish species: Walleye, crappie, bass, bluegill, catfish
Description: This lake offers a peaceful environment for fly anglers looking to enjoy the beauty of nature while fishing.

5. Glen Elder Reservoir – https://www.kdwp.info/location/Glen-Elder-Reservoir
Best time to fish: Spring and fall
Cost: $5 per vehicle for daily permit
Fish species: Walleye, bluegill, crappie, catfish
Description: This reservoir is home to some of the largest fish in Kansas, and the clear waters make for great visibility while casting.

6. John Redmond Reservoir – https://www.kdwp.info/location/John-Redmond-Reservoir
Best time to fish: Spring and fall
Cost: $5 per vehicle for daily permit
Fish species: Crappie, walleye, channel catfish, white bass
Description: With over 9,000 acres of water, this reservoir is perfect for fly anglers who like to explore and try new spots.

7. Lake Shawnee – https://parks.snco.us/589/Lake-Shawnee
Best time to fish: All year round
Cost: $5 per vehicle for daily permit
Fish species: Channel catfish, bass, crappie
Description: This lake is conveniently located in the city of Topeka and offers many amenities such as boat rentals and a bait shop.

8. Pomona State Park Pond – https://ksoutdoors.com/Fishing/Where-to-Fish-in-Kansas/Fishing-Locations-Public-Waters/East-Central-Region/Pomona-State-Park-Pond
Best time to fish: Spring and fall
Cost: $3 for daily permit
Fish species: Catfish, bluegill, crappie
Description: This park pond is perfect for anglers looking to catch small fish and enjoy the peaceful surroundings.

9. Prairies State Fishing Lake – https://ksoutdoors.com/Fishing/Where-to-Fish-in-Kansas/Fishing-Locations-Public-Waters/Southeast-Region/Prairie-State-Fishing-Lake
Best time to fish: All year round
Cost: $3 for daily permit
Fish species: Bluegill, bass, crappie
Description: This lake, located in the heart of the Flint Hills, offers beautiful scenery and clear waters that are perfect for fly fishing.

10. Quivira National Wildlife Refuge – https://www.fws.gov/refuge/quivira/
Best time to fish: Summer and fall
Cost: Free permit required
Fish species: Catfish, carp, bass
Description: This wildlife refuge offers some of the most remote and beautiful fly fishing spots in Kansas, where you can cast the line in solitude and watch wildlife roam around you.

In conclusion, Kansas is a fantastic location for fly fishing. The ten best fishing spots listed above are designed to appeal to both beginners and experienced fly anglers. With a 5 or 2 weight rod and line, you can cast the lure to the right spot and enjoy the thrill of catching fish. Unlike conventional fishing, fly fishing requires a certain amount of patience and attention, enabling you to enjoy the environment and the thrill of the catch. If you’re trying to escape from the bustle of city life and immerse yourself in pristine waters, these are the places you should visit in Kansas.

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