Here’s a deal for all you part-time anglers out there (like me) who never know whether this will be the year you actually use your fishing license. On Free Fishing Weekend in Kansas you won’t need a license to fish any public Kansas waters. That’s right! Free fishing! No license required, no more handing the pole to your kid real quick before the Ranger comes by. (I’m kidding! You would never do that. :))
The Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism announced the free fishing days on its website. It has some helpful tips for dealing with all the high water we have right now.
“Don’t let stories of flooding at some lakes and state parks derail your fishing plans. There are still many great opportunities to fish at lakes large and small. Many more Kansas state parks are open for business than are closed. Fisheries biologists report that high water gives fish more habitat to exploit, so fishing may be better when the water is higher. As always, exercise caution around high water and respect barricades.”
You should note that the City of Wichita announced that the Arkansas River area downtown is closed right now because of water levels and increased debris in the water. So that’s not the spot to set up your poles this weekend.
Instead, look for city, county and state lakes. For information on state lake conditions, KDWPT recommends checking out the State Park Alerts at KSOutdoors.com or calling the park office.
If you’re looking for a place to fish in Wichita, check out our tips here.
When is Free Fishing Weekend in Kansas?
Every year, Kansas has two free fishing days. This year it’s June 1 and 2, 2019.
The free fishing weekend in Kansas is typically the first full weekend in June each year. For the rest of the year, fishing licenses are required for people 16 and older. You can get fishing licenses at various locations – I usually get mine at sporting goods stores or Walmart.
Who Needs a Fishing License?
Everyone ages 16-74 needs a fishing license in Kansas unless you’re fishing on a private pond that isn’t leased for public fishing. Licenses used to be based on a calendar year, but now the fishing license will be good for 365 days from your date of purchase.
Children under 16 years of age do not need a fishing license in Kansas. (However, there is something called a paddlefish permit that they do have to have if they’ll be doing that kind of fishing.)
For young adults ages 16-20, Kansas now has a multi-year youth license that is only $42.50 – a great deal if you plan to use it every year.
Senior citizens can now get a lifetime fishing license in Kansas. It’s actually a combination hunt/fish license, and it’s just $42.50.
Members of the Kansas National Guard and Kansas residents who are disabled veterans may qualify for a free fishing license. (That doesn’t mean every day is free fishing day for you, ha ha! You do need a license, but you may not have to pay for it.)
For complete information and applications, visit the Fishing Application and Fees page on the KDWPT website here.
So where can you fish in Wichita?
We have numerous public fishing ponds and lakes in Sedgwick County, or you can visit the bigger lakes in Afton, Cheney, and El Dorado. Obviously, neighborhood ponds are easy to access, but before you drop your line make sure it’s okay to fish there. It often is.
In town, you can fish at Sedgwick County Park and Watson Park. You can find a lot more suggestions and ideas in my article about Where to Fish in Wichita.