WICHITA – The Kansas Wildlife, Parks and Tourism (KWPT) Commission conducted a Public Hearing to hear proposed regulations during the evening session of its meeting in Wichita on Dec. 13, 2018. Commissioners heard Secretary’s Orders setting Free Fishing Days, June 1 and 2, 2019, as well as dates proposed for Free Park Entrance Days. All Kansas state parks will be open to free entrance (camping fees still apply) on May 4, 2019. Additional free park entrance days were also set and are available at individual state park’s pages at ksoutdoors.com.
The commission approved the addition of a $50 Backcountry Access Pass for Little Jerusalem Badlands State Park, the newest state park, which is located in Logan County. When the park opens next year, visitors will only need a $5 daily vehicle entrance permit or annual vehicle entrance permit to enjoy the overlook trails. However, to ensure the fragile Niobrara chalk formations are not degraded, access to the interior of the 330-acre park will be limited. The $50 Backcountry Access Pass will allow visitors to participate on a guided tour into the heart of the park. Only hikers age 16 and older will be required to purchase the pass for guided hikes.
Commissioners approved fishing regulation amendments, including prohibiting the take of channel catfish, blue catfish and flathead catfish with bowfishing equipment in streams and rivers. Catfish can still be taken with bowfishing equipment in lakes and reservoirs that don’t have a length limit for any species.
A regulation limiting the amount of paddlefish eggs that may be possessed was approved to help prevent the poaching of paddlefish for their eggs. The regulation also prohibits transporting a paddlefish carcass out of the state without first removing the entrails.
Two Type 1 Trout Waters were added to the list of waters to be stocked with rainbow trout during the Nov. 1-April 15 trout season: Coffeyville LeClere Lake and Eisenhower State Park Pond.
Various fishing length and creel limits were approved, including a 35-inch minimum length limit for blue catfish at Kanopolis Reservoir, a 10-inch minimum length limit on crappie at Glen Elder Reservoir, and a 10-inch minimum length limit and 20-fish daily creel limit at Lovewell Reservoir. Anglers can view a complete listing of length and creel limits for all public waters in the 2019 Kansas Fishing Regulations Summary that will be available in January.
The current structure for the fall turkey season was maintained, establishing the 2019 dates: Oct. 1-Dec. 3, 2019 and Dec. 16, 2019-Jan. 31, 2020 and is open in Turkey Management Units 1, 2, 3, 5 and 6. The bag limit is one turkey per fall turkey permit. See complete fall turkey regulations, as well as a management unit map, at ksoutdoors.com.
The current structure for the spring turkey season was maintained, establishing the 2020 seasons: Youth and hunters with disabilities – April 1-14, 2020; archery – April 6-14, 2020; and regular season – April 15-May 31, 2020. Bag limit is one turkey per permit and one turkey per second turkey game tag.
The next KWPT Commission meeting is scheduled for Jan. 17, 2019, Foley Meeting Room, Douglas County Fairgrounds.