STATE FISHING LAKES OFFER GREAT MEMORIAL DAY OUTINGS
Survey indicates highly-satisfied Memorial Day weekend visitors
PRATT — Looking for a peaceful, uncrowded Memorial Day weekend outdoor experience? Try a Kansas state fishing lake.
Last year, Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks (KDWP) fisheries biologists and public lands managers conducted surveys at state fishing lakes during the Memorial Day weekend to determine if anglers felt crowded. A total of 337 interviews were completed at 24 state fishing lakes across Kansas.
The result? Most anglers reported low levels of crowding, high satisfaction, and sufficient access for shore and boat anglers. Three observations made it clear that state fishing lakes offered an uncrowded, user-friendly experience, even on the busiest weekends:
- minimal to no wait time to launch a boat;
- on average, only one-third of parking areas full; and
- anglers less crowded than they anticipated.
Anglers were highly satisfied with their experience, indicating that state fishing lakes are great alternatives for those seeking less crowded experiences during a traditionally busy fishing and camping holiday weekend.
In addition to fishing, picnicking and camping were popular activities at state fishing lakes. Some, such as Kingman, McPherson, Mined Land, and Ottawa offer modern, affordable cabins for those who prefer not to camp. Many state fishing lakes also have ADA-compliant facilities, such as accessible docks and piers.
You don’t need a boat to enjoy the state fishing lake angling experience because numerous piers, jetties, and accessible shoreline are available for easy access. In fact, last year’s survey indicated that nearly half of the interviewed anglers fished from shore, and they responded positively when asked if there was enough access to the lake without having a boat.
As the name suggests, most state fishing lakes are managed for anglers, so no pleasure boating, skiing, or swimming is allowed. (Because Crawford, Meade, and Scott are also state parks, they allow swimming, and Crawford and Scott allow some recreational boating and offer recreational facilities such as sand volleyball courts, bathhouses, and horseshoe pits. Chase State Fishing Lake also has a swimming beach.) Water-use restrictions may limit their appeal to some outdoor users, but for others, the limitation may be a peaceful plus.
“The bottom line is that anglers who chose to fish on Memorial Day weekend at state fishing lakes last year were very happy with their experience,” said Doug Nygren, KDWP Fisheries Section supervisor. “And most did not feel crowded, even on the busiest weekend of the year. These lakes are great alternatives to large federal reservoirs on Memorial Day. If you just want to enjoy nature, camp, and fish, you may be able to find a great family-friendly spot all to yourself at a state fishing lake this Memorial Day weekend.”