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In the state's larger lakes and reservoirs, gizzard shad are the preferred prey of most sport fish. In the fall, young-of-the-year shad are about 2-3 inches long, and a white or chrome, fat-bodied crankbait is the perfect imitation of a gizzard shad. Cast a deep- or medium-diving crankbait along rocky points and rip-rapped shorelines, and retrieve it quickly, so it gets near the bottom and bounces off the rocks. A deep-diving crankbait may be the best choice even when fishing relatively shallow water. The lure's long lip deflects off rocks and other snags, and this action can trigger strikes. If the lure does hang up, give it some slack, and it will often float free. Using light monofilament or a small-diameter braided line will allow a crankbait to dive deeper.
Later in fall, when water temperatures cool to the low 50s or high 40s, it's time to catch Kansas crappie. Reservoir crappie congregate in large schools over deep brushpiles and creek channel dropoffs at this time. Jigs or jigging spoons fished vertically in 12-25 feet of water are most effective. If too many small crappie are biting, try a larger jig with a 2- or 2 1/2-inch shad-type plastic body. The larger bait will more closely resemble shad and may discourage smaller fish. When concentrations of crappie and white bass are found, use landmarks or GPS to mark their location. If the state experiences a frigid winter and safe ice forms, you can return to the spots that held fish before freeze-up and catch them through the ice.
Even though autumn weather may be mild, always wear more layers of clothing than you think necessary when fall fishing. No matter how warm it feels on land, it will be much cooler on the water, especially if the wind blows. And donít forget to wear a life jacket; it will keep you warm and may save your life.
TROUT SEASON OPEN, SOME STOCKINGS DELAYED
PRATT ó From Oct. 15 through April 15, the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism (KDWPT) stocks rainbow trout in select waters across the state. During this time, some waters stocked with trout require a $12.50 trout permit for all anglers 16 or older, whether they are fishing for trout or not (Type 1 Waters). Other waters require a trout permit only for anglers fishing for or possessing trout (Type 2 Waters).
Type 1 trout waters are Cedar Bluff Stilling Basin, Dodge City Lake Charles, Ft. Scott Gun Park Lake, Garnett Crystal Lake, Glen Elder State Park (SP) Pond, Kanopolis Seep Stream, KDOT East Lake in Wichita, Lake Henry in Clinton SP, Mined Land WA Unit No. 30, Pratt Centennial Pond, Sandsage Bison Range and WA Sandpits, Vicís Lake and Slough Creek in Sedgwick County Park, Topeka Auburndale Park, Walnut River Area in El Dorado SP, Willow Lake at Tuttle Creek SP, and Webster Stilling Basin.
Type 2 trout waters are Atchison City Lake No. 1, Belleville City Lake (Rocky Pond), Cimarron Grasslands Pits, Ft. Riley Cameron Springs, Ft. Riley Moon Lake, Great Bend Veterans Memorial Park Lake, Holton-Elkhorn Lake, Hutchinson Dillon Nature Center Pond, Lake Shawnee, Salina Lakewood Lake, Scott State Fishing Lake, Scott State Park Pond, Sherman County Smoky Gardens Lake, and Solomon River between Webster Reservoir and Rooks County No. 2 Road, and Syracuse-Samís Pond.
Trout fishing at Mined Land Wildlife Area Unit No. 30 requires a trout permit year-round. Trout permits are valid for the calendar year, so permits purchased last January or later are valid through Dec. 31. All residents 16-64 years old and all nonresidents 16 and older must also have a valid fishing license.
The daily creel limit is five trout unless otherwise posted (two trout for anglers 15 and younger who do not have a trout permit). The possession limit is three times the daily creel.
While most designated trout waters in the state will be stocked with trout in time for opening day, the following waters will be delayed (see following text for details):
Cedar Bluff Reservoir Stilling Basin; Cimarron Grasslands Fishing Pits; Lake Charles in Dodge City; Glen Elder Park Pond ó second week in November; Great Bend Veteranís Park; Kanopolis Reservoir Seep Stream; Pratt Centennial Pond; Rocky Pond in Belleville ó second week in November; Scott State Fishing Lake; and Sedgwick County Park Slough Creek ó low water. Other areas may have to delay stocking, as well. Before a trout fishing expedition, anglers are encouraged to check for updated information on stocking of trout waters by visiting the KDWPT website, www.kdwpt.state.ks.us. Type "trout stocking schedule" in the search box.
As of Oct. 10, the Cedar Bluff Stilling Basin had yet to experience fall turnover, which occurs as surface water cools. When this happens, dissolved oxygen levels in the water can drop, and it takes time for the system to recover and provide conditions safe for trout. Rather than risk a fish kill for newly stocked trout, biologists have decided to delay the stocking. Conditions will be monitored, and if the basin is ready, trout will be stocked in late October.
Trout stocking at Cimarron Grasslands Fishing Pits, Dodge City-Lake Charles, Great Bend Veteranís Park, Pratt Centennial Pond, and Scott State Fishing Lake will be delayed, but the recent cool weather should allow stocking early during the week of October 17.
The Kanopolis Reservoir Seep Stream is currently laden with duckweed and filamentous algae, creating water-quality problems. The seep stream is closed to all fishing, with plans to stock trout in early November, provided conditions have improved.
Smoky Gardens and the Sand Sage Bison Range Pond are currently dry. Both will need precipitation before trout can be stocked.
The Solomon River above Webster Reservoir is not stocked in the fall, nor is it stocked each year. Stocking is dependent upon flows. In years when flows are adequate, stocking generally occurs in January, February, and March.
The Glen Elder Park Pond is not stocked in October. The first stocking of the season is scheduled for mid-November each year in order to allow time for the water to cool.
Trout permits are available at the KDWPT website, at KDWPT offices, and license vendors.
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