Wilson Reservoir

Wilson 3D
Wilson Reservoir Map
This Location does have Boat Access Fishing Forecast State Park Wildlife Area

US Army Corps of Engineers 785-658-2551

GPS Location: N38 54.715 W98 30.066

Sylvan Grove, KS

Impoundment Type: Reservoir

Surface Acres: 9,040 acres

Maximum Depth: 65 feet

Normal Lake Level: 1516 msl. This lake generally has a fairly stable water level.

Current Lake Level: 8.7 feet below conservation, releasing 12 cfs

Lake Temperature: 56 degrees

Fishing PopulationCreel LimitMin Length Limit
Channel Catfish 10
Crappie 50
Flathead Catfish 5
Largemouth Bass 5 15"
Smallmouth Bass 5 15"
Spotted Bass 5 15"
Striped Bass 2
Walleye 5 15"
White Bass
White Perch
Blue Catfish 5 35"
* Largemouth, Smallmouth, Spotted Bass in Combination
** Striped Bass or Wiper in Combination
*** Walleye, Sauger or Saugeye in Combination

Fishing Report - Last Update: 4/17/2015

Species Rating Size Baits, Method, & Location
Crappie Fair 10-14 inches

The crappie numbers are still very low in Wilson, but some quality fish can be found.  We collected the best numbers around the marina, and  Elm Creek while sampling last fall.  There were fairly good numbers around Lou's Point as well. Numbers may be low, but the quality is excellent with 14 inch white crappie and 13 inch black crappie available to anglers willing to look for them.

The crappie will be spawning soon and anglers may be able to catch some as they move shallow.  Keep in mind, however, the clear water will cause them to spawn deeper, but the upper end is more stained and the fish may spawn in 4-6 feet of water.  Check wind protected coves with a sandy or gravel bottom.  Jigs slowly retrieved under a bobber work great as do minnows or roadrunners.

Stripers Fair to Good 3-8 pounds Try fishing off the windy points and toward the lower end of the reservoir.  Other good places to find spring stripers include wade fishing off the points in Hell Creek and fishing around the Lucas Point area. Anglers may also have some luck trolling small shad crankbaits in the upper end and the lower end.
 Walleye Fair to Good 10-21 inches

The walleye spawn is over for the year and fish have moved off the dam.  The next couple of weeks can be a difficult time to catch walleye, but they typically move to the river channel breaks in the middle of the reservoir post spawn.  Anglers have reported catching some fish between 15 and 25 feet deep around Lucas Point, Rocktown, and Minooka.  Jig and crawler are beginning to work better now, but swim baits and slab spoons are also good options.

Due to the big 2014 year class of walleye resulting from natural reproduction, KDWPT will not need to stock walleye again in 2015.

Channel Catfish Good 2-10 pounds

There is always a good channel catfish bait in the spring when the fish move in shallow to feed on dead shad and other bottom dwelling food.  Look for these guys in the upper end of the reservoir around Elm Creek and Duvall Cove, and the backs of the coves where the water is warmest.  This is typically a good pattern for at least a month and anglers might want to try cut shad, shad gizzards, and chicken liver this time of year.  The river channel around Lou's Point is another good place to find catfish now.

Be on the lookout for blue catfish which are also in the reservoir. They are not legal size yet so make sure and take care to return them to the water. There is a 35 inch minimum length limit on blue catfish at Wilson Reservoir!

White Bass Good 12-18 inches, up to 3 pounds White bass continue to hang in there at relatively low numbers, but trophy size.  Fish up to 18 inches were collected again this fall.  Best areas to catch white bass now include Hell Creek, the dam, and the river on the west end of the reservoir.  While they won't be able to run too far up the river now, the fish will be spawning over the next couple of weeks and anglers can catch them using white twistertails and roadrunners.
Black Bass Good 10-18 inches With the water warming into the upper 50's the bass fishing should really begin to heat up as well.  Smallmouth bass will become especially active and anglers will start to see these guys move shallow along the rocky points and banks along the north shore, near the dam, and around Minooka.  They are spawning now or will be very soon and you can often catch them on suspending jerk baits around steep rock bluffs. The largemouth will also get more active now and are routinely caught in the warmer water back in many of the major coves using large white or chartreuse spinnerbaits.  If anglers can find any flooded beaver piles, tumbleweeds, or the new PVC structures, there will likely be largemouth bass hanging out near them.
White Perch Fair 9 to 13 inches

We found good numbers of white perch around the upper end of the reservoir as well as closer to the dam and Hell Creek.  The middle of the reservoir didn't have nearly as many.  The fish we collected seemed to be targeting the river channel and moving up and down it while feeding.  The west end had the biggest white perch I've seen in some time with 12-13 inch fish common.  Anglers are currently catching white perch off Lucas Point using tube jigs and slab spoons, but they are probably moving toward the dam to spawn right now. - IT IS ILLEGAL TO HAVE A WHITE PERCH ALIVE IN YOUR POSSESSION - IF YOU CATCH IT AND WANT TO KEEP IT - IT HAS TO BE DEAD IN A COOLER OR LIVEWELL. THEY ARE NO LONGER LEGAL AS LIVE BAIT FOR STRIPERS OR OTHER FISH!!!!!

The white perch numbers are down in Wilson right now which is the goal of managing aquatic nuisance species.  While this species will continue to thrive and reproduce in Wilson, they are still an ANS species and KDWPT has manged the predator base in such a way to limit their numbers.  The hope is that the white bass will be able to make a comeback at the expense of the white perch numbers declining.

General Comments

Big thanks to the Salina and Hays bass clubs for assisting with habitat work this month.  With the help of 20 volunteers were were able to construct and sink 30 of the new Georgia Cubes which will provide long-lasting habitat for young bass and other species as well as serving as a fish attractor for larger fish.  In addition, they placed 200 cedar trees around the shoreline in Duvall Cove and Lou's Point to act as brood rearing habitat for the young bass.  We also wired 30-40 trees to the old bridge foundation in Elm Creek to create a new brush pile.  The pictures below were taken by the Hays Bass Club.

Building Georgia Cubes

Members of the Hays and Salina Bass clubs assist with Georgia cube construction.

Bass club members taking out cubes

Members of the Hays and Salina bass clubs haul Georgia Cubes out at Wilson Reservoir.

Georgia Cubes in Wilson Reservoir

This first cubes placed in Wilson Reservoir that should last for many years.

New Elm Creek brush pile

The old bridge in Elm Creek was covered with 40 cedar trees wired to it for a permanent fish attractor.

The Spillway and Hell Creek boat ramps are open and safe for all boats to launch from.  The other boats ramps including Lucas Point and East Minooka are very shallow now and are not recommended for launching boats.

BOAT RAMP UPDATE: With the reservoir 8.7 feet low anglers need to be aware of the following boat ramp conditions and limitations.  In addition, the boat docks are high and dry for the most part and will likely stay that way until a water level rise floods them again.  Anglers are asked to use caution when launching and loading and unloading persons into boats with most of the docks unusable at this time.  The ramp conditions are as follows:

Cedar Point: Closed

Elm Creek: Both ramps at Elm Creek are high and dry.  Launching boats is not recommended.  The courtesy dock is high and dry.

Minooka: West Ramp:  Unadvised access.  Dock is high/dry, Middle Ramp:  Unadvised access. Dock is high/dry, East Ramp:  The ramp is unusable until water levels come back up a couple of feet.

Lucas: This boat ramp is very shallow now and is not usable at this time.  Dock is high/dry.

Spillway:  Poured 20 yards to the low water lane on April 1st, 2014. A new dock was installed in October 2014 and there is still adequate depth for mooring boats.  This low water lane has deep water and good access.  This may be the primary ramp for many anglers to use this year.

Hell Creek: Hell Creek boat ramp is still usable and there is a courtesy dock in the water.  The dock has been extended and now sits in 4-5 feet of water so most boats should be able to use it.

Otoe: This ramp is very shallow at the time, but still open.  The courtesy dock is high and dry.

The current lake elevation and water temperature are posted on the location page daily by the Corp of Engineers - it is linked to this fishing report page for your convenience.

We have two Aquatic Nuisance Species - white perch and zebra mussels and have joined Cheney and El Dorado as lakes with both species. The law now says that if anyone leaves the lake with water in your livewell or boat, you are subject to a ticket for transporting Zebra Mussels since they will spawn and the microscopic little mussels will probably be in every drop of water in the lake. Make sure you drain all water from the boat before you leave the boat ramp area!!! We have been taking veliger samples and the samples were high so be sure to drain and dry everything!!!!!!