One thing is blatantly obvious around Kansas this year. Water levels are up and fisherman's spirits are down, I mean down like a bystander at the scene of a bad accident or something. Every major lake in Kansas was all but shut down at some point due to E-Coli levels, sewage runoff, flooding and overflows, there were several different reasons, and many still are even this late into the year.
Blue Green Algae will be the next thing to hit the lakes hard with all the fertilizer and pasture runoff that the flooding caused. Nine different lakes have already issued watches and warnings and we are just getting into Summer, but that should clear up as Fall settles in. By Winter it will all be over with and the real fun can begin.
With Perry, ElDorado, and Tuttle Creek already showing good numbers of big slabs last year, and the flooding protecting them for the most part this year, it looks as if the predictions made in In-Fisherman Magazine in the last few years will be spot on.
Even though it seems like a train wreck around here, it is actually going to be one of the best things to happen to us for a while. A few key things will play a huge role in giving Kansas Fisheries a boost in the years to come.
The anglers that accepted it for what it was and either went out of State or hit the State Fishing Lakes have been able to get on some decent fish. A meager reward I suppose for those that just sucked it up and dealt with the circus. I applaud all of you that just sucked it up by the way, I know the crowds were something else, but it was a good thing actually. More on that in a minute.....
From the guys I have talked to it will be late Sept. or early October before things start returning back to normal, and on into late Fall and the cooler water temps it brings before things reach a safe for consumption level that most of us find agreeable. In a nutshell, this entire Summer and Fall will be a flooded out bust, and even though it is killing most us to look at the boat just sitting in the garage, here is how it will come back to do us a favor.
The Main Lakes were due for a break, and boy did they get one. Since Ice-Off,.. Perry and Tuttle Creek have been pretty much left alone completely. Perry was giving up some mega slabs last year before it froze over for the Winter, so I can only imagine what is sitting out there waiting on me after getting the entire year off from fishing pressure basically. All of the fish that would have normally been caught from the banks during the spawn, completely left alone and unmolested.
The hatch will have flooded vegetation to hide in for the duration of the Summer, and with the Missouri River being so flooded, even when they do start to draw Kansas lakes down, it will be done in a very slow and controlled manner. That too is an added bonus for us Crappie guys, It sets us up for good fishing a few years down the road.
Another unforeseen bonus from all of this excess water is that the smaller State Fishing Lakes that are over populated and full of stunted Crappie are finally getting some attention. You know,.. the Lakes we are always saying could use a good thinning out, well, they got a pretty good thinning out this year. Banner Creek, Carbondale SFL, Osage SFL, Shawnee SFL and others are all getting hammered hard seeing as they are the only spot to get a boat in.
Although it is crowded this year due to the big Lakes being flooded out, most of the CFAP lakes and SFL's have no minimum size and you can catch nine to eleven inch fish by the bucket full all day at these smaller lakes. You hear about a few good ones turning up from time to time, but, for the most part, don't hold your breath waiting on any wall hangers. You shouldn't let that stop you though, especially if you are just looking for something to do and a meal, they are still nice spots to check out.