Bourbon State Fishing Lake


Elsmore, KS
GPS: N37 47.574 W95 04.150

Contact Information

Manager: Monte Manbeck (620)-449-2539

10 miles south of Moran on Highway 59 to Elsmore then east 4 miles.


The Bourbon State Fishing Lake and Wildlife Area property was purchased in 1957 by the Kansas Forestry, Fish and Game Commission. Two years later, Wolfpen creek was dammed and impounded approximately 103 acres. The property was opened to fishing in 1959


The Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks manage 380 acres. Two hundred – seventy acres of land surrounds the 103 acre lake. The property is located on rolling upland terrain. The lake is situated in the valley of Wolfpen Creek, a small tributary of the Marmaton River which flows approximately one-half mile below the dam. The stream is fed by surface runoff and springs. It flows year-round except for mid-summer, during very dry periods. The east and southwest shoreline of the lake is bordered by steep bluffs with limestone outcrops carved by Wolfpen Creek. The west side of the lake is more intensively managed for shoreline angler access and other day use activities. Several earthen fishing piers, two floating docks and three automatic fish feeders are present to improve angling opportunity.

Special Regulations:
  • Channel Catfish 15” length limit. Two fish creel limit.
  • Hunting is restricted to areas east and south of the lake.

Special Features: A water level management program helps maintain the lake’s quality fishery. The lake is lowered 5 – 8 feet after Labor Day and kept at this level through the winter. Lowering the water level crowds fish, increasing feeding efficiency of predatory fish. The predators feed heavily on small crappie, bluegill and shad improving growth and preventing overpopulation. Angler success will improve during the drawdown because fish are concentrated. An extension was added to the boat ramp so that boats can be launched during low water periods.