Kansas the mid-west state that’s so well known for those ruby red shoes. It’s also known for its expansive fields at Tallgrass National Preserve and the many cows. The State also has a variety of beautiful State Parks, like Cheney State Park, a boater’s paradise! There are several great historical destinations and over 150 lakes. Here you can launch your boat or dip your paddle in Kansas.
Visit a large city like Wichita, Kansas City or Overland Park, or check out a small, historic town like windy ‘Dodge City‘. This town was once known for being the wildest town in the wild west. Regardless of where you go Kansas has a place and a water venue for everybody. So get out there and soak in that Kansas sunshine!
Best Boating Lakes
Where you should plan to launch your boat and hit the water will depend on what area of Kansas state you plan on visiting. But to help you get the ball rolling, we thought we’d mention just a few of our favorite places. These waterways are popular for a reason. Visit Cheney Reservoir, El Dorado Lake, Tuttle Creek Lake, Perry Lake and Pomona Lake.
El Dorado Lake
El Dorado Lake is located on Walnut River just northeast of El Dorado. It is managed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and it is used for flood control, recreation and water supply. The Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism manages boating on the reservoir surface and local fisheries.
There are four areas located in El Dorado State Park, Bluestem Point, Boulder Bluff, Shady Creek, and Walnut River. All of which have access to the lake. All four areas include boat ramps, camping facilities, and hiking trails. There is a marina that operates in the Shady Creek Area.
El Dorado Lake is open for sport fishing. Fish species in the lake include blue and channel catfish, and rainbow trout. Walleye, white bass, white crappie, and wiper are also plentiful. Game animals live on the land around the reservoir. They include beavers, bobcats, coyoes, deer, doves, pheasants, prairie chickens, quail, rabbits, squirrles, and turkeys.
The Lake measures 4,000 acres which formed from 110 Mile Creek and two Tributary creeks. It provides a scenic backdrop to any boating excursion and there is plenty of wildlife to enjoy.
Pomona State Park is accessible from the lake and is managed by the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism. The park includes campsites, beaches, boat ramps, fish cleaning stations and picnic grounds. There are marinas at both sides of the lake and offer fueling, mooring facilities, and other services.
The large lake is perfect for tow water sports. Due to the prevailing winds offer excellent conditions for wind sports.
Turtle Creek Lake
Turtle Creek Lake is located at the northern section of the Flint Hills and attracts over 2 million guests each year. Guests enjoy the endless recreational opportunities provided by the vast lake and surrounding landscape.
Turtle Creek Lake includes 11 parks, a marina, 10,900 acreas of water and 20,000 acres of surrounding land. The lake provides many outdoor recreations with boating, fishing and hiking being the most popular.
Power boaters on Tuttle Creek Lake will enjoy the lake’s large main body of water on calm days for water skiing and pleasure boating. Canoeists and kayakers will find River Pond below the dam a perfect place for paddling. The state park offers canoe, kayak, and paddleboat rentals.
Bald eagles, white-tailed deer, Canada geese, wild turkeys, crappie, walleye, channel catfish and other wildlife can be found at Tuttle Creek Lake. The lake’s fish and wildlife resources provide sightseers, anglers and hunters ample opportunities for their sports.
Turtle Creek State Park has four units which make up the 1,200 acre park. These include River Pond, Cedar Ridge, Fancy Creek and Randolph. It offers electric and water hookups, a swimming beach, boat ramps, courtesy docks, and dump stations. Campgrounds contain:
- 159 water/electric campsites
- 8 electric/water/sewer campsites
- 24 electric-only campsites
- 20 electric sites with community water at the Randolph Area horse campground
- 500 primitive campsites
Located along the Post Rock Scenic Byway about 5 miles north of I-70, west of K-232
Located in the heart of the Smoky Hills, Wilson Lake/Reservoir features a rugged shoreline. It offers scenic cliffs and rocky outcrops sitting in the Wilson State Park. The park and surrounding wildlife area provides photographic opportunities. Here you can find deer, pheasant, waterfowl, songbirds, and furbearers.
Wilson Reservoir offers excellent white bass and striped bass angling. The Cedar Trail in the Otoe area is a one-mile loop with a concrete surface. It’s great for a leisurely, low-stress walk. The 25.5-mile long Switchgrass Bike Trail is popular with mountain bikers.
Wilson Wildlife Area is located on the upper end of 9,000 acre Wilson Reservoir. The 8,069-acre public hunting area is made up of 5,000 acres of rugged rolling hills of native prairie. It holds approximately 2,000 acres of cropland. There are 1,000 acres of riparian timber along the Saline River, Cedar Creek, Turkey Creek, and Elm Creek. The area has a waterfowl refuge that was established in 1996.
National and State Parks
What can you expect from the 24 State Parks located in Kansas? Well, for starters, you’ll find over 32,000 acres of land to explore. You’ll find over 130,000 surface-acres of water to access for boating, paddling and fishing activities! You’ll find landscapes with everything from vast grasslands to rugged canyons here! Start your Kansas outdoor adventure by going sight-seeing, hiking, camping, boating or climbing.
A few of the most popular State Parks include Cheney State Park. It’s prime conditions for sailing, wind surfing or just relaxing on a beach. There’s also Tuttle Creek State Park and it’s awesome fishing, beaches and boating opportunities. Last but not least (although definitely the driest), is the famous Tallgrass National Preserve in Kansas. Visit Kansas State Parks for more information about the boating opportunities. You can find out about boat launch access points or any boating restrictions that may be in place in the park you plan on visiting.
Fishing in Kansas
With over 40 well-stocked state fishing lakes and hundreds of acres of public waters, there’s no risk of running out of sport fishing locations in Kansas. So grab your gear, fuel up the boat and hit the water!
The many lakes, rivers and reservoirs in Kansas are home to a variety of sport fish. Varieties include crappie, trout, saugers, largemouth bass and panfish, among other fish species that can be found in state fishing waters.
Before you go fishing in Kansas, find out everything you need to know about the state fishing regulations, fishing license requirements, local fishing reports and the boating license requirements on Kansas waters. Visit the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism website for more information.