Cedar Bluff Wildlife Area


32001 HWY 147
Ellis, KS 67637
GPS: N38 48 43.00 N99 43 58.50

Contact Information

Area Manager: Kent Hensley
Phone: (785) 726-3212


The Cedar Bluff Property is owned by the Bureau of Reclamation and through Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) is managed by the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism for outdoor recreation. The construction of the Cedar Bluff Dam began in 1949 and was completed in 1952 The reservoir initially filled in the same year the dam was completed. The reservoir has been in constant fluctuation since it initially filled and was at an all time low of 998 surface acres in 1992. The reservoir refilled in 1998 and has declined since. The wildlife area is well known for exceptional deer hunting and premier waterfowl hunting. Upland birds fluctuates with weather conditions but pheasant and quail hunting is generally good.


Cedar Bluff Wildlife Area varies in size with the fluctuating reservoir. The Smoky Hill River which originates in Eastern Colorado intermittently flows into the reservoir. At full pool the Reservoir is 6,800 surface acre and the surrounding Wildlife Area lands encompassing approximately 7,000 acres. The reservoir is currently only 3,500 surface acres and the surrounding Wildlife Area is 10,300 acres. The area lies in the mixed grass prairie and chalk bluff region. Cedar Bluff derives it's name from a 1/2 mile of 100 foot chalk bluffs located on the SW portion of the property that is scenic attraction to visit.

Watchable Wildlife

You can see and photograph a diversity of wildlife species. In winter, bald and golden eagles visit. Deer, turkey, and pheasant roam freely. Waterfowl stop on their migrations, and a small Canada goose flock make the area home. The bluff overlook is a scenic stop to visit.


Public hunting areas are limited in Kansas, so demand is high. Management continually seeks to enhance hunting quality.

  • Big Game: In the past archery and firearm hunters have recorded one of the highest public land success rates. Most deer are whitetails with a few mule deer on the area.
  • Turkey Hunting: Turkey populations have improved in the last 10 years due to conservation, habitat improvement and relocation efforts. Cedar Bluff Wildlife Area is located in the Unit 4 turkey managment unit. There are limited draw spring turkey permits and no fall turkey hunting in Unit 4. Youth turkey permits are statewide.
  • Upland Game: Pheasant populations fluctuate with the most hunting pressure during the season opener. Diverse habitats with grass, crops, weeds produce the best results. Quail numbers are good and populations vary with weather and habitat nesting conditions.
  • Migratory Birds: Doves are plentiful until cold weather moves in. Geese and ducks use the area during migration, numbers vary with habitat conditions. Most goose hunting occurs when the geese leave the area to feed.
  • Special Hunts: Special waterfowl hunts and various youth hunts are available by application. Contact the area office for more information.
  • Youth / Mentor Hunting Areas: Youth Mentor hunting areas are provided in strategic locations. The youth / mentor area East of the dam is shotgun / archery and provides good opportunites for geese, deer and pheasant. West of the State Park is open for all youth / mentor hunting and all equipment can be used in all seasons. At least 1 youth 17 and under is required per each adult mentor. Mentors may hunt. Every kid is waiting to be invited outdoors, just ask them!


From Sept. 1 thru Jan. 31, 500 acres of land and from Nov. 1 thru Jan. 31, 200 acres water are closed to all access except by special hunt permit only. A 320 acre refuge directly below the dam is in effect year-round.


Resurgence of the lake since 1993 has created a fish explosion that will provide unprecedented angling opportunities for the next several years. Black bass, crappie, bluegill, and catfish have benefitted the most from the water level rises. Walleye, white bass, and wiper fishing will improve as the forage conditions stabilize in response to water quality improvement.

Length Limits
Walleye - 18 inch minimum
Black bass - 15 inch minimum

Catch and Release: Voluntary catch and release extends fish resources which are becoming more limited. Reduced harvest of small fish allows more fish to reach a larger, more desirable size. Releasing larger fish increases their recreational use and keeps them in the water to help control undesirable fish by predation. A fish released properly is an investment in future fishing opportunities.

Other Opportunities

  • Boating: Currently there are 3 usable boat ramps located on the reservoir. A “no wake” policy is enforced near boat ramps.
  • Camping: Campers are encouraged to use the State Park where modern and primitive camping sites and rental cabins are available the year round. Camping on the Wildlife Area is primitive and limited to six designated areas. These areas have no fees for camping, so all we ask is to leave your site cleaner than you found it.

Cedar Bluff Google Earth Map (kmz file)

Special Regulations:
  • Special Deer and Waterfowl Hunts are available by drawing through the Headquarters in Pratt.
  • Off Road Driving or ATV use is NOT allowed.
  • Camping is only allowed in designated sites.
  • Land Refuge Areas are Closed Sept. 1 thru Jan. 31.
  • Water Refuge is Closed Nov.1 thru Jan. 31.
  • Other designated Refuge Areas are Closed Year Round.
  • Youth / Mentor Hunting Areas are available.
  • Contact the Cedar Bluff Area Office for more information.