November 27, 2014 PRATT – If you are a landowner with private waters and are interested in sharing the joy of fishing with others, you may want to consider becoming a part of the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism’s (KDWPT) Fishing Impoundments and Stream Habitats Program (F.I.S.H.). F.I.S.H. is patterned after the very successful Walk-In Hunting Access Program with a goal of increasing public fishing opportunities in Kansas. This is accomplished by leasing private waters from landowners for public fishing. Landowners participating in F.I.S.H. receive payments for the use of their land while leaving it in private ownership, and anglers are in turn provided with a place to fish that might not have been available otherwise. Enrollment for 2015 is currently open and will close December 15, 2014.
Special regulations are in place for F.I.S.H. properties, and KDWPT officials periodically patrol the areas. Violators will be ticketed or arrested for vandalism, littering or failing to comply with fishing regulations. Access is limited to foot traffic, except on roads designated by the landowner in the case of very large tracts of land. Additionally, under this program some landowners are eligible for fish stocking, habitat management, fence crossers, cattle guards, rock boat ramps, or rocked parking areas.
Each year, KDWPT publishes a fishing atlas featuring maps that show each body of water enrolled in the program, boating allowance, and fish species available. F.I.S.H. sites are open for public access from March 1 to October 31 or year-round. Landowners allowing year-round fishing access receive a 10 percent lease payment increase.
The program leases privately-owned ponds for public access by the acre. Base lease rates range from $75-$125 per/acre/year, depending on where the pond is located. Boating allowance bonuses are available, as well. Ponds allowing carry-in boats receive an additional $10/acre/year and properties allowing all boats access (adequate launching site must be present) receive an additional $25/acre/year.
Another focus of the F.I.S.H. program is fishing access to streams. Depending on the quality of the stream's fishery, annual lease rates for fishing access range from $500 to $1,500/mile/year.
Big River Access Leasing
The Kansas, Arkansas, and Missouri River sare considered navigable waters and are open to public access between high-water lines. However, public land access points are limited. To increase public access to these rivers, the F.I.S.H. program leases access sites from willing landowners. Landowners with adequate launch facilities receive $1,500/site/year. If the site is within 10 river miles of any other public access site, a landowner can receive $2,000/site/year.
For more information on enrolling your water in the F.I.S.H. program, contact your nearest KDWPT office, or the Pratt Operations office at (620) 672-5911. You can also learn more about F.I.S.H. at www.ksoutdoors.com.
This program is made possible by the Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration Act and the sale of fishing licenses.