Wilson Reservoir

Wilson 3D
Wilson Reservoir Map
This Location does have Boat Access Fishing Forecast Region 1 Public Fishing Reports 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: 7.3 feet below conservation, releasing 18 cfs

Lake Temperature: 72 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: 9/19/2014

Species Rating Size Baits, Method, & Location
Crappie Slow 10-14 inches No change here.  Look for the crappie in the deeper brush piles around Minooka, Hell Creek, Elm Creek, and out from the marina.  There may also be some around the deep structure along the river channel on the lower end of the reservoir.
Stripers Fair to Good 3-8 pounds During the summer, the stripers will move to their deep water haunts like the deep roadbeds and the river channel between Lucas Point and the dam.  Downrigger trolling with large crankbaits or live bait is a productive method now as well as still fishing live bait straight down in 30 to 50 feet of water.  There may also be some surface activity throughout the summer, especially toward the dam and Lucas Point areas.  Did have a recent report of some stripers surfacing for a long time near Nelson Cove.  There is a good shad population at Wilson this year and the stripers seem to be taking advantage of it most days.  Anglers can use this to their advantage when chasing stripers.
 Walleye Fair 11-20 inches The walleye tend to head to deep water during the hot summer months with anglers catching fish from 30 to 40 feet on occasion.  Jig and crawler or jig and leech are still productive, but trolling techniques similar to those mentioned for stripers may work even better now.
Channel Catfish Good 2-10 pounds

There are channel catfish in the upper ends of many coves feeding in less than 2 feet of water.  Some of the better spots to try include Marshall Cove, Duvall Cove, and Elm Creek.  Shad sides, shrimp, and nightcrawlers will all catch channel catfish now.  A few anglers will be chumming for cats throughout the summer using rotten beans, wheat, and milo to attract them into an area.  They can then be caught on stinkbait, cut shad, and nightcrawlers.

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 Fair 12-18 inches, up to 3 pounds White bass can often be found feeding on shad when the wind is blowing from the south.  Look for them along the north shore and back in the coves as they will push the baitfish back in there while feeding.  Calm days will find white bass surface activity throughout the reservoir.  Night fishing with floating lights can yield a variety of species including white bass, white perch, crappie, and stripers.  This is a great way to beat the summer heat.  Some of the better spots for this activity include under the Hell Creek bridge, around Rocktown, and the hump out in front of the outlet tower near the dam.  Small jigs and minnows seem to work the best under the lights.
Black Bass Good 10-18 inches The bass start to get lazy throughout the day, but are still active during the early morning hours and toward dusk as they do most of their feeding at these times.  Topwater lures are tough to beat during the summer as both smallies and largemouth will readily attack them.  Deeper running crankbaits and Senkos work well during the day or in choppy conditions.
White Perch Fair 9 to 13 inches

White perch will go deep like many other species when it is hot out and they can be very easy to catch once you find them.  Jigs and slabs are great ways to catch white perch, but jigs and worms still work very well too.  Look for them in 20-25 feet of water around the brush piles, along the river channel breaks around Minooka, and on the north side around Rocktown.  Once you find a school of them, you can stay busy all day long catching tasty white perch. - 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

The KDWPT Fisheries Division video committee recently re-released the 24-minute video titled Fisheries Management in Kansas.  Originally released in 2002, the video details techniques used by agency fisheries management and hatchery personnel to create and maintain quality fishing opportunities across the state. On March 13, 2014, the video was made available on the KDWPT YouTube channel and can be viewed at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J31chIla9Tk . 

BOAT RAMP UPDATE: With the reservoir 7.3 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:  Ramp has adequate depth for most average fishing boats. Dock is high/dry.

Lucas: Ramp has adequate depth for most average fishing boats.  Dock is high/dry.

Spillway:  Poured 20 yards to the low water lane on April 1st. The dock is still accessible and moored on the shoreline.  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.

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!!!!!!