PRATT – Last April, the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism (KDWPT) announced that Woodson State Fishing Lake, known locally as Lake Fegan, was scheduled for needed repairs and enhancements. Flooding had damaged the popular Woodson County lake’s spillway, and while assessing the damage, KDWPT engineers noted that the outlet valve and tubes needed attention. The 180-acre lake, which is located just 5 miles east of Toronto, was constructed in 1933 by the Civilian Conservation Corps, and some of the infrastructure was showing its age.
To repair the spillway and outlet valve, lake levels needed to be dropped significantly, and KDWPT Fisheries and Public Lands staff decided to drain the lake entirely so the lake’s fishery could be renovated and angling access enhanced. A public fish salvage, removing daily creel and length limits but still requiring legal methods of take, was ordered May 1, 2017. However, repairs to the outlet valve and pipe were required before the lake could be completely drained. Repairs are now complete, and the water level is coming down several feet a day. As a result, a new salvage order has been issued, allowing fish to be taken by snagging, seine, gig, and by hand. There is no limit to the number of poles an angler may use, and there are no length or creel limits.
During the renovation, the current fish population will be removed. Before refilling, fish habitat will be added to the basin. Other enhancements may include extending boat ramps, as well as improving fishing piers and shoreline access. Once repairs and habitat enhancements are complete, the lake will be refilled and restocked. This process may take up to a year.
It will then take several years for the fishery to fully develop and provide good angling opportunities, but fortunately, Yates Center City lakes, Toronto Reservoir, and Wilson State Fishing Lake are all within a 30-minute drive. In the mean time, local anglers can bet that this historic fishery will come back better than ever.