MANHATTAN (KSNT) – Are you interested in finding out what’s swimming around in your favorite fishing spot near Manhattan? The Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks may have some answers for you.
The KDWP has released a comprehensive list of what anglers can expect to catch in the Manhattan District which includes lakes from Wabaunsee to Marshall County.
Tuttle Creek Reservoir
The KDWP reports white crappie are the most popular sportfish in the reservoir and have been doing well in recent years. A massively successful spawn in 2017 and a 2019 flood, which inflicted losses on other fish species in the lake, are attributed for why white crappie are doing so well here. The largest gizzard shad spawn in a decade in 2021 also contributed to the success of white crappie by creating an abundance of food. All of these factors combined have resulted in the highest number of white crappie over 12 inches in 30 years according to a 2021 fall fish sampling, making for good fishing opportunities at the reservoir.
Saugeye in Tuttle Creek Reservoir were hit hard by flooding in 2019 and COVID protocols in 2020 which shut down state egg collection for the year. However, 2 million saugeye were put into the reservoir in 2021 and did well, hitting the 15-inch minimum length limit by the fall.
White bass have been impacted by losses downstream and repeated poor spawning success for the past eight years due to untimely water level fluctuations according to the KDWP. Good spawning in the past year though has painted a better outlook for bass which should grow to 10 inches by mid-summer in 2022.
Channel catfish numbers have been low for most of the past decade. Recent data shows their population has fully recovered back to the historical norm a good fishery. The 2021 sample collected the most channel catfish in the past nine years and 11% of those caught were over 28 inches.
Blue catfish are finally becoming established in the lake as well after first being introduced 20 years ago. Due to this improvement, fishing regulations changed starting in 2022. The new harvest regulations on blue catfish are a 10-fish daily creel limit which may include only one fish 30 inches or longer. The current population has fair numbers of catfish measuring 24 to 28 inches.
Pottawatomie State Fishing Lake #1
Channel catfish are reported as being in numbers above the long-term average for the third year in a row, but the lake doesn’t usually have high harvest rates despite annual stocking efforts. The black crappie fishery is at a five-year high and should provide some decent harvest opportunities while the bluegill population can provide other angling opportunities.
Pottawatomie State Fishing Lake #2
This lake is stocked with larger channel catfish regularly in the spring and summer due to the Urban Stocking Program to support a larger harvest rate than can normally be achieved through natural lake production. A total of 3,150 channel catfish were put in the lake in 2021 that averaged just over a pound a piece.
The experimental slot harvest regulation on sunfish in the lake has yet to improve the bluegill population, but larger redear sunfish have been reported. The lake has maintained good crappie numbers over the years with the 2021 sample numbers resulting in typical findings for both black crappie and white crappie.
A saugeye population is maintained in the lake with occasional stockings. The current population is reported as being in good numbers of 20- to 24-inch fish. A total of 14 fish were tagged in the lake for the Great Kansas Fishing Derby, three of which were later caught: a warmouth, a black crappie and a largemouth bass.
Shawnee State Fishing Lake
This lake also appeared in the Great Kansas Fishing Derby in 2021. Five of the 14 tagged fish were reportedly caught here: three channel catfish and two largemouth bass.
The lake received 3,526 larger channel catfish through the Urban Stocking Program. Crappie in the lake have been growing larger in recent years due to improvements in the forage base. Redear sunfish population numbers have also been performing well as sample numbers show they are above-average for the last four years.
The lake is also stocked with saugeye on occasion to keep up a few for angling. There are currently decent numbers of 15-inch saugeye in the water. The lake also has a good largemouth bass population.
Washington State Fishing Lake
The crappie fishery is largely controlled by small fish and none was reported over 10 inches in the most recent sample. Saugeye numbers have been continually low due to poor survival from the last several stockings, but the lake is home to a good channel catfish fishery with 24% of the last sample coming in at over 24 inches in length.
Jeffrey Energy Center Make-Up Lake
The white bass population is doing well in this lake according to the KDWP and many fish were found between 11 and 12 inches in the fall sample. Wiper have also been doing well with many coming in between 18 and 20 inches in length.
On the other hand, crappie have not been performing well with the lowest abundance seen in a decade. Walleye are maintaining near the long-term average and 80% of those collected in the fall last year came in at over the 15 -inch minimum length limit.
The lake also got its first sauger stocking last spring and they have reportedly been performing well. The KDWP says many of these sauger will begin reaching the 15-inch minimum length limit by this time next year.
Jeffrey Energy Center Auxiliary Lake
While the lake has, historically, had a decent walleye population over the years, recent sampling data shows the population has been well below normal for the past two years. The lake recently received an introductory sauger stocking in the spring of 2021 as well.
The lake has never had a great crappie fishery according to the KDWP but harvest rates have been well above average for the past few years. White bass have declined from the highs they used to be at in the lake while wiper numbers have continued to be low but still offer good opportunities.
Pottawatomie Cross Creek Lake
Bluegill have usually been found in abundance here, but the fall 2021 sampling showed below average numbers for larger bluegill. Black crappie have also done well here with 10% of the last sample coming in at over 10 inches. Channel catfish have also reportedly had a good population here.
Centralia City Lake
The crappie population in this waterbody has been in fluctuation for the past few years. White crappie have been the dominant species for much of the past decade, but black crappie had a large spawn in 2020. The young black crappie have not grown well and white crappie had limited spawning success recently. These factors have led to below average numbers for crappie over 10 inches. The crappie numbers may have been impacted by poor performance from the saugeye population which is 70% below the long term average.
Channel catfish have been doing well in the lake for the past decade, but their growth is hampered by overpopulation. Anglers are encouraged to harvest more of the catfish to change this situation. Wiper population numbers are being maintained at a modest level, and the most recent sample was largely dominated by fish ranging from 17 to 21 inches in length.