Kansas Public and Pay Lakes

Welcome to your go-to resource for public and pay lakes in Kansas! Our guide is designed to help you navigate the beautiful waters and bountiful fishing opportunities across the Sunflower State, whether you’re a seasoned angler or a beginner.

To simplify your planning, we’ve compiled lists of the top amenities and services for each lake, allowing you to easily sort and filter to find your ideal fishing spot. If you’re seeking more depth, we offer full guides on all our featured lakes.

We also introduce you to the world of pay lakes in Kansas, where you can experience less crowded fishing, uniquely stocked ponds, and truly one-of-a-kind experiences. Local landowners, in partnership with Wing It, are providing day access to private lakes like Woodland Hills South of Lawrence, a 4-acre expanse for hunting and camping; West Branch HQ, a sprawling 552-acre wildlife-rich land; and Wells 160 and Wells 80, each providing vast native grasslands, tranquil ponds, and a myriad of outdoor activities.

These pay lakes offer not just fishing, but holistic outdoor experiences, whether that means camping by a serene pond, hunting in lush woodlands, or casting your line into a teeming river. The selection of private lakes is expected to grow even more over the next few years, providing an increasing range of options.

Fishing in Kansas is about more than just the catch. It’s a chance to explore our state’s natural beauty, learn new skills, and spend quality time outdoors. With this guide, you’ll have a wealth of information to make the most of your fishing experience, from details about the lakes to local rules and regulations. Dive in, and discover what Kansas fishing has to offer.

Table of Contents

Kansas DNR Resources & Links

If you’re looking for the most up-to-date information on fishing licenses, requirements, and information about Kansas fishing and lake options, you should definitely check out the Kansas DNR. Here is their contact information and other useful links right here.

Kansas DNR

512 SE 25th Ave.
Pratt, KS 67124

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Kansas Public Lakes Features & Amenities

Big Hill Lake is a serene 1,200-acre oasis in southeastern Kansas, offering a delightful escape for fishing enthusiasts and outdoor lovers. The public lake is home to a variety of fish species, including largemouth bass, crappie, and flathead catfish. The lake also provides various recreational activities, such as boating, swimming, picnicking, and birdwatching. Some pros of Big Hill Lake include its beautiful, tranquil setting, diverse fish species, and an array of recreational activities. There are also campgrounds, RV hookups, a convenience store, and a bait & tackle shop on-site. However, some cons include the lack of a marina, lodging facilities, and a restaurant.
Cedar Bluff Lake, a 6,000-acre reservoir in northwest Kansas, offers a variety of fish species, such as crappie, walleye, largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, and catfish. Anglers can enjoy year-round fishing in coves, near the dam, and around rock formations. This well-maintained public lake, managed by the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks, and Tourism, provides numerous amenities like campgrounds, RV hookups, and boat ramps. Some pros of Cedar Bluff Lake include free fishing, a variety of fish species, good fishing spots, numerous amenities, and other activities like hiking, biking, boating, swimming, and wildlife viewing. Pets are allowed on a leash, and campsite reservations can be made in advance. The cons include the absence of a marina or boat rental and no restaurant available. Cedar Bluff Lake is a highly recommended fishing destination with a 4.5-star rating. To read more about the lake and plan your trip, click the link.
Cheney Reservoir, located in south-central Kansas, is a vast 9,500-acre lake just a 30-minute drive from Wichita. It offers a variety of fishing opportunities for anglers, including walleye, hybrid striped bass, smallmouth bass, and bluegill. Fishing styles such as shore fishing, boat fishing, and fly fishing are available. Cheney Reservoir also provides numerous amenities like a marina, boat launch ramp, campgrounds, RV hookups, lodging, and more. Additionally, visitors can engage in other activities such as boating, swimming, hiking, birdwatching, and picnicking. Pets are allowed but must be leashed and attended at all times. Cheney Reservoir receives a rating of 4.5 out of 5 stars, with most visitors recommending it for its excellent fishing opportunities and amenities. The only con noted is the lack of boat rental availability.
Clinton Lake is a 7,000-acre public lake in northeastern Kansas, known for its picturesque landscapes and diverse fish population. Anglers can catch walleye, white crappie, hybrid striped bass, smallmouth bass, and bluegill. The lake offers various amenities, including a marina, boat rental, campgrounds, and more, with outdoor recreational activities like boating, swimming, hiking, and picnicking. Despite its popularity, visitors may experience crowded conditions during peak seasons. To read more about Clinton Lake, click the link.
Coffey County Lake is a 5,100-acre public lake in eastern Kansas, offering diverse fishing opportunities with species like bluegill, channel catfish, hybrid striped bass, smallmouth bass, and walleye. The lake's serene atmosphere and abundance of fish make it a popular destination for both locals and visitors. Amenities include campgrounds, RV hookups, lodging, a convenience store, and a bait & tackle shop, but there is no marina, boat rental, or on-site restaurant. In addition to fishing, visitors can enjoy boating, hiking, picnicking, birdwatching, and wildlife observation. Pets are allowed but must be kept on a leash. Coffey County Lake is highly recommended for fishing enthusiasts due to its variety of fish species and beautiful surroundings. Read more about the lake by clicking the button.
Council Grove Lake, located in northeastern Kansas, spans 3,300 acres and offers a serene fishing experience with a variety of fish species, including channel catfish, walleye, crappie, white bass, smallmouth bass, and largemouth bass. The lake's amenities include a marina, boat rentals, campgrounds, and more, making it suitable for seasoned fishermen and families. In addition to fishing, activities such as boating, hiking, and bird watching are available. The lake has a 4 out of 5-star rating based on its amenities and fishing opportunities, with the main con being potential crowded conditions during peak seasons.
El Dorado Lake in Kansas is an 8,000-acre public lake that offers a diverse range of recreational activities and a fantastic fishing experience. The lake is home to various fish species such as white bass, blue catfish, white crappie, and hybrid striped bass. Some of the best fishing spots can be found along the shoreline, near submerged structures, and around the numerous coves. Visitors can enjoy numerous amenities, including a marina, boat rentals, campgrounds, RV hookups, a convenience store, bait & tackle, and a restaurant. Apart from fishing, the lake offers activities like boating, hiking, picnicking, birdwatching, and swimming, making it perfect for family vacations and group outings. Some of the pros of visiting El Dorado Lake include easy public access, an abundance of fish species, a wide range of amenities, various activities for all ages, nearby lodging, and being a pet-friendly destination. However, a con is that visitors may experience crowded conditions during peak seasons.
Elk City Lake, located in the southeast region of Kansas, is a scenic public lake sprawling over 4,500 acres. It is a treasure trove for anglers, offering a diverse array of fish species including largemouth bass, white crappie, channel catfish, flathead catfish, and bluegill. This lake is open to all, providing the perfect backdrop for a variety of outdoor activities such as hiking, picnicking, birdwatching, and exploring nature trails. The pros of Elk City Lake include its accessibility as a public lake, abundant fish species, and a variety of outdoor activities. It boasts a variety of amenities such as campgrounds, RV hookups, lodging, a convenience store, bait & tackle, and a restaurant. Moreover, there is no fee for fishing, and pets are allowed on a leash. However, it lacks a marina and boat rentals, which can be a downside for some visitors. Additionally, the lake may get crowded during peak seasons. With a 4.5-star rating, Elk City Lake is highly recommended by visitors for its rich variety of fish species, stunning scenery, and comprehensive amenities that ensure a comfortable and enjoyable experience.
Fall River Lake in Kansas is a picturesque 2,500-acre public lake managed by the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism. It offers various fish species for anglers to catch, including white crappie, white bass, and bluegill. In addition to fishing, visitors can enjoy boating, swimming, picnicking, hiking, and wildlife viewing. The lake has numerous amenities like a marina, boat launch ramp, campgrounds, RV hookups, and a convenience store. Some pros of Fall River Lake are its stunning scenery, diverse fish species, and multiple amenities. However, some cons include the absence of boat rentals and lodging, as well as potential crowded conditions during peak seasons.
Hillsdale Lake is a 5,400-acre public lake in Kansas, offering various recreational activities such as hiking, picnicking, birdwatching, swimming, and boating. It is particularly popular among anglers due to its diverse ecosystem supporting numerous fish species, including white crappie, largemouth bass, white bass, channel catfish, and redear sunfish. The lake provides visitors with several amenities, including a marina, boat rental and launch ramp, campgrounds, RV hookups, a convenience store, bait & tackle, and nearby lodging and restaurants. In addition to fishing, other activities available at the lake include hiking, picnicking, birdwatching, swimming, and boating. Hillsdale Lake has a rating of 4 out of 5 stars based on online reviews. Pros of visiting the lake include its diverse fish species, various amenities, multiple activities, beautiful surroundings, and designated swimming areas. However, some cons include limited nearby lodging and restaurants, and potential crowded conditions during peak seasons.
John Redmond Reservoir is a 9,400-acre public lake in eastern Kansas, near Burlington, offering a diverse array of fish species, such as walleye, catfish, and bluegill. Popular spots for catching fish include coves, underwater structures, and near the dam. The reservoir is not only a haven for fishing enthusiasts but also provides various outdoor activities like boating, swimming, picnicking, bird watching, and hiking. Amenities include campgrounds, RV hookups, lodging, convenience store, bait & tackle, and a restaurant. However, there is no marina or boat rental available, and visitors may experience crowded conditions during peak seasons. A Kansas state fishing license is required to fish at John Redmond Reservoir, but there is no additional fee.
Kanopolis Lake in Kansas is a 3,400-acre public lake offering diverse fishing opportunities with species like walleye, white crappie, largemouth bass, and bluegill. Anglers can enjoy a rewarding experience, while other visitors can take part in recreational activities like boating, hiking, birdwatching, and picnicking. The lake provides amenities such as a marina, boat launch ramp, campgrounds, and RV hookups. Nearby conveniences include a restaurant, store, and bait & tackle shop. Pets are allowed but must be kept on a leash. Some cons include the absence of boat rentals and lodging facilities.
Keith Sebelius Lake in northwest Kansas offers a serene fishing experience for all anglers. The 2,200-acre public lake is home to various fish species, such as largemouth bass, spotted bass, white crappie, and bluegill. Pros of visiting the lake include its picturesque location near Norton, diverse fishing options, a wide variety of fish species, and numerous amenities like campgrounds, RV hookups, lodging, convenience store, bait & tackle, and a restaurant. The lake also offers recreational activities like kayaking, canoeing, hiking, and birdwatching, making it a family-friendly destination. Pets are allowed on a leash. However, cons include the lack of marina or boat rental facilities and potential crowding during peak seasons.
Kirwin Reservoir is a 5,000-acre public lake in north-central Kansas, offering a serene escape for fishing enthusiasts and nature lovers. Anglers can expect to catch a variety of fish species, including largemouth bass, white crappie, walleye, and bluegill. The lake also provides opportunities for hiking, birdwatching, picnicking, and wildlife viewing. Some of the pros include its public access, diverse fish species, available amenities such as campgrounds and hiking trails, and nearby restaurant. However, there are cons, such as the absence of a marina, boat rental, lodging, bait and tackle, and a convenience store on-site.
La Cygne Lake is a picturesque 2,600-acre public lake in Kansas, known for its diverse fish species such as largemouth bass, channel catfish, white crappie, and bluegill. Fishing enthusiasts can enjoy a rewarding experience catching various types of fish, while others can partake in recreational activities like boating, swimming, picnicking, bird watching, and hiking. The lake features well-maintained facilities, including campgrounds, a marina, a convenience store, bait & tackle shop, and a restaurant. However, there are no boat rental services or lodging facilities available on-site. To fish at La Cygne Lake, a valid Kansas fishing license is required.
Discover the serenity of Lovewell Reservoir, a 3,000-acre public lake in Kansas, perfect for anglers and nature lovers. The lake boasts a variety of fish species, including walleye, white crappie, hybrid striped bass, and bluegill. Visitors can enjoy the well-maintained amenities like campgrounds, boat rentals, and designated swimming areas. The reservoir offers numerous recreational activities such as boating, hiking, bird watching, and picnicking. Rated 4.5/5 stars, Lovewell Reservoir is praised for its abundance of fish, natural beauty, and amenities. Pros include a beautiful and serene lake, a variety of fish species, ample amenities, and pet-friendly spaces. Cons include a lack of a convenience store and bait & tackle shop, as well as potential crowding during peak seasons.
Marion Reservoir, located in the east-central region of Kansas, is a picturesque 6,200-acre public lake that attracts fishing enthusiasts and outdoor lovers. The lake is home to various fish species, including walleye, white crappie, hybrid striped bass, and bluegill, providing a rewarding experience for anglers. In addition to fishing, Marion Reservoir offers recreational activities such as boating, swimming, hiking, picnicking, and bird watching. Amenities include campgrounds, RV hookups, designated swimming areas, a boat launch ramp, bait & tackle, and nearby lodging, convenience stores, and restaurants. However, there is no marina or boat rental available on site.
Melvern Lake in east-central Kansas offers a serene and picturesque setting for fishing enthusiasts. The 7,000-acre public lake is home to a diverse range of fish species, including Largemouth Bass, Smallmouth Bass, White Bass, and Channel Catfish. The lake provides numerous amenities such as a marina, boat rentals, and nearby lodging options, making it an ideal destination for a relaxing and memorable fishing getaway. In addition to fishing, visitors can enjoy other outdoor activities like hiking, swimming, and wildlife watching. Pros of Melvern Lake include its public access with no entrance fee, diverse range of fish species, abundant amenities, numerous outdoor recreational activities, pet-friendly policies, and nearby convenience stores, lodging, and restaurants. The only con is that it can get crowded during peak seasons.
Milford Lake in Kansas is a 15,700-acre public lake known for its diverse fish species, including walleye, largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, and hybrid striped bass. Pros of Milford Lake include its openness to everyone, the range of fish species available for fishing, various amenities like marina, boat rental, and lodging, and a range of activities including boating, camping, and hiking. There is no entrance fee to access the lake, and pets are allowed on a leash. The only con is that it may get crowded during peak seasons.
Perry Lake, located in central-eastern Kansas, is an 11,100-acre scenic haven for fishing enthusiasts and nature lovers. Just 30 miles from Topeka, this public lake hosts a variety of fish species including white bass, blue catfish, sauger, and bluegill. Prime fishing spots can be found near the marina, Rock Creek arm, and Delaware River arm. The lake offers numerous amenities, such as a marina, boat rental, boat launch ramp, campgrounds, RV hookups, lodging, convenience store, bait & tackle, and a restaurant. In addition to fishing, visitors can enjoy boating, hiking, birdwatching, and picnicking. Perry Lake also provides multiple campgrounds for tent and RV camping. A fishing license is required to fish at Perry Lake, and boat rental services are available. One downside is that visitors may experience crowded conditions during peak seasons. Overall, Perry Lake is highly recommended for fishing and other outdoor activities due to its diverse fish species, beautiful location, and various amenities.
Pomona Lake, situated in the scenic landscapes of northeast Kansas, spans 4,000 acres. Renowned for its diverse fish species, the public lake offers anglers a chance to catch white crappie, largemouth bass, hybrid striped bass, and more. It provides a myriad of recreational activities, including boating, swimming, and hiking. The lake boasts a broad range of amenities such as a marina, boat rentals, campgrounds, and a convenience store. The advantages of Pomona Lake include its public accessibility with no entrance fee, an abundance of fish species, a wide variety of amenities, and several recreational activities. It also allows pets on a leash and operates year-round. However, one drawback is the potential for crowding during peak seasons.
Toronto Lake, situated in Kansas, spans across 2,800 acres and serves as an alluring spot for fishing enthusiasts, offering a diverse range of species including largemouth bass, white crappie, channel catfish, bluegill, and white bass. Alongside fishing, the public lake offers a variety of amenities such as a marina, campgrounds, RV hookups, lodging, and a restaurant, although boat rentals are not available. Outside of fishing, the site supports various recreational activities like boating, hiking, birdwatching, and picnicking. Despite its popularity, leading to potential crowding during peak seasons, the lake maintains a high rating of 4.5/5 stars.
Tuttle Lake Creek, a sizable 12,500-acre public lake located near Marysville in northeast Kansas, offers a serene fishing experience with a variety of fish species including blue catfish, rainbow trout, redear sunfish, and bluegill. Anglers can opt for bank or boat fishing, with boat rentals available. The lake also boasts several amenities such as a marina, campgrounds, RV hookups, lodging, convenience store, bait & tackle shop, and a restaurant. Alongside fishing, visitors can indulge in birdwatching, hiking, picnicking, and wildlife observation. On the positive side, the lake offers no-charge fishing, a variety of fish species, and an array of amenities and recreational activities. Swimming is also permitted. However, it can get crowded during peak seasons. A Kansas fishing license is required for fishing, and visitors are advised to check the most up-to-date fishing regulations and limits on the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks, and Tourism website. Overall, Tuttle Lake Creek holds a commendable 4-star rating and comes highly recommended for fishing.
Waconda Lake, a 12,600-acre public lake situated in the north-central region of Kansas, is a prime destination for fishing and outdoor enthusiasts. The lake is home to various fish species, including largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, channel catfish, white crappie, bluegill, and white bass. Anglers can vary their catch based on the season and water conditions. The lake is conveniently located near Cawker City, providing easy access to its multiple amenities. These include a marina, boat launch ramp, campgrounds, RV hookups, lodging, convenience store, bait & tackle shop, and a restaurant. However, it's important to note that the lake does not offer boat rental services. In addition to fishing, Waconda Lake hosts a range of outdoor activities such as boating, swimming, hiking, and wildlife watching. The lake also organizes fishing tournaments throughout the year. Despite its many advantages, visitors may experience crowded conditions during peak seasons. Overall, with a rating of 4.5 out of 5 stars, Waconda Lake comes highly recommended for its diverse fish species, variety of amenities, and range of outdoor activities.
Webster Lake, located in north-central Kansas, is a 3,800-acre public fishing oasis. It's a paradise for anglers, offering a variety of fish including walleye, crappie, white bass, wipers, channel catfish, largemouth bass, hybrid striped bass, and bluegill. Apart from the bountiful fishing, the lake also offers a plethora of outdoor activities such as boating, swimming, hiking, and camping. The lake is well-equipped with amenities including a boat launch ramp, campgrounds, RV hookups, lodging, a restaurant, and a bait & tackle shop. A convenience store is also conveniently located nearby. Despite its many advantages, there are a few drawbacks. The lake does not have a marina and does not offer boat rental services. Furthermore, it can get crowded during peak season. However, the pros of visiting Webster Lake far outweigh these cons. The absence of fishing fees, excellent fishing opportunities, and diverse recreational activities make it an ideal destination for outdoor enthusiasts.
Wilson Lake, located in north-central Kansas, is a public lake covering 9,000 acres, ideal for outdoor enthusiasts and fishermen. The lake is home to an array of fish species, including walleye, channel catfish, white crappie, blue catfish, redear sunfish, and many others, found mainly along the rocky shores and submerged structures. The lake offers a wide range of activities such as hiking, swimming, and birdwatching, along with amenities like a marina, boat launch ramp, campgrounds, RV hookups, and a bait & tackle. Nearby lodging, convenience stores, and restaurants also add to the convenience. Pets are allowed, provided they are leashed and controlled. On the downside, no boat rentals are available on site, and fishing requires a Kansas license with possible additional fees for specific activities. The lake and its facilities operate weekdays between 8:00 am and 4:00 pm, remaining closed on weekends. In summary, Wilson Lake is a diverse fishing location with ample amenities and outdoor activities, attracting nature lovers and fishing enthusiasts despite a few drawbacks.
Winfield City Lake in Kansas is a 1,200-acre public fishing destination that is open all year round. The lake offers a diverse fishing experience with an abundance of large-mouth bass, crappie, channel catfish, bluegill, and walleye. The lake is highly rated by visitors for its serene and family-friendly environment. The facilities, including boat ramps, docks, and campgrounds, are well-maintained, and other activities such as hiking, bird-watching, and picnicking are available to enjoy in the beautiful surroundings. However, fishing at the lake requires a license, and there may be size and catch limits on certain fish species. Pros of the lake include an abundant fish population, scenic views, well-maintained facilities, and a peaceful, family-friendly atmosphere. On the other hand, cons include limited shoreline access for fishing, areas prone to overgrowth and algae, and seasonal variations in fish availability. Despite these, the lake is widely recommended, often referred to as one of the best-kept secrets in Kansas.
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Pay Lakes in Kansas

If you’re looking for less crowds, uniquely stocked ponds, and a truely one-of-a-kind experience, Kansas also has a growing selection of private lakes. Wing It is working with local landowners to provide day access, so the options for private lakes will increase even more over the next few years. Make sure to sign up for access before you leave!

Nearby Private Pay Lakes & Ponds

Iowa
• 80 acres •
  • Hunting
  • Others activities
    • Woodchuck and rabbit hunting
  • Hunting
  • Others activities
    • Woodchuck and rabbit hunting
Kansas
• 552 acres •
Kansas
• 79 acres •
Kansas
• 152 acres •
Minnesota
• 0 acres •
  • Camping
  • Others activities
    • lounge
  • Camping
  • Others activities
    • lounge
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