Wednesday morning was one of my best of the year for fishing. We caught nothing really large but the five species of fish were numerous and hungry.Rob Manes casts a line into a pool along Fox Creek. About four miles of the classic Flint Hills stream are open to public angling.The scenery was gorgeous.
It was on private property and I’m going to tell you how you can enjoy it, too.
Rob Manes and I were fishing a tiny portion of the four miles of Fox Creek on the Tall Grass Prairie National Preserve near Strong City.
The stream and several nice preserve ponds are open to the public under Wildlife and Parks’ FISH program that leases waters from private landowners so they’re open to the public.
You can get a FISH atlas as most license vendors, the Wildlife and Parks office at 29th and Woodlawn or by going to www.kdwp.state.ks.us.
Fishing the property requires being in good enough shape to do some walking, anywhere from one-quarter mile to four miles. If you fish the stream you’re going to get some tangled lines because of the natural state of the trees and brush along the banks.
Fishing is lures-only and strictly catch-and-release.
We started at two pools a mile or so from the parking area/access point and both caught bass on our first cast. Rob fished small jigs on a ultra-light spinning outfit. I used beadhead woolly buggers and Clousers on a fly-rod.This is considered a nice-sized bass for a Flint Hills stream but we caught channel catfish that were quite a bit larger.We each fished two or three pools and the stretches in between. I had a couple of green sunfish and gorgeous longear sunfish, about 10 largemouth bass and a pair of channel catfish. The best bass was about 14-inches long. The catfish stretched 18-20 inches.
If you go, be sure to wear old shoes so you can wade from shore to shore and take a fanny pack with bug spray, sunscreen, water and a box of small lures or flies.
Those who walk the farthest will enjoy the most privacy and best fishing.
Remember the stream can rise to very high levels after a rain. Water levels can drop fast during periods of drought.
This is a great trip for those who like to mix birding with fishing but you must be fishing to enjoy the FISH properties.
Like the preserve’s ponds, the stream’s a delicate fishery that will need care from those who use it. Keep fishing groups small and don’t tell many people.
Trust me, there was a part of me that didn’t even want to write this blog but it is a unique fishery open to the public.
Treat it nicely, please, I intend to return.