PRATT – A prized fisherman’s catch may deserve an award in spring and summer in Kansas, thanks to the return of the Great Kansas Fishing Derby. This year’s derby will run from May 15 to September 15, 2022.
During that time, fishermen can try their luck at catching one of the more than 500 privately tagged fish found in public water bodies across the Sunflower State.
The competition is sponsored statewide by the Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks (KDWP), the Kansas Wildscape Foundation, the Bass Pro Capella Outdoor Fund, the Kansas State Fair, Firewater Music Festival, Independence City, and several local retailers.
“It’s a new year, but our goal remains the same – getting people to fish and generating support for nearby communities and waters,” said David Breth, KDWP sport fishing education coordinator. “Participants will be excited to know that we have extended this year’s derby to give fishermen more time to win. We have also added a few more lagoons, and there are more tagged fish.”
How it works
Pre-registration is not required, and participation is free, although regular fishing license requirements remain. To obtain a Kansas fishing license, visit gooutdoorskansas.com or download the KDWP “Go Outdoors Kansas” mobile license app here ksoutdoors.com/License-Permits/KDWP-Mobile-Apps/.
Fishermen who catch a tagged fish as part of the Great Kansas Fishing Derby must remove the tag and enter the number at ksfishderby.com. A follow-up call will let the hunter know what he has won and where to claim his reward. Ksfishderby.com will allow fishermen and non-fishermen to register to win additional prizes through random raffles.
“Companies, municipalities, and others support the Great Kansas Fishing Derby by sponsoring many of our prizes, and without their support, the Derby would not exist,” Breath added. “Thanks to them, anglers can win concert tickets, state fair kids’ packages, gift cards to Bass Pro/Capelas and KDWPs, fishing gear, experiences, cabin stays, and money this year.”
If that wasn’t motivation enough, Derby offers another major prize this year. Every angler who catches a valid derby tag and redeems it will be entered into a drawing to win a lifetime fishing and hunting license sponsored by the Kansas Wildscape Foundation.
where’s the fish
All participating water bodies are open to the public and are managed, in whole or in part, by KDWP. The participating waters list also includes ponds and lakes currently registered with the KDWP’s Community Fisheries Assistance Program. By taking advantage of funding from federal excise taxes on fishing gear, KDWP leases public access—at no additional cost to the public—to the great waters that previously required special permits from the county, community or city. To learn more about these waters, visit https://ksoutdoors.com/Fishing/Special-Fishing-Programs-for-You/Community-Fisheries-Assistance-Program.
A complete list of waters containing fish tagged for the derby will be posted on ksfishderby.com on May 14.
“Our staff will tag as many species of fish as possible, including sea bass, crappie, eye bass, catfish, drumstick and carp,” said Bryth.
“We will be listing species tagged on ksoutdoors.com on our lake pages…if you catch one, be sure to take a picture and share it with us on social media or post online with #ksfishderby.”
If a tagged fish meets the legal length limits, the fish can be kept. However, fishermen may release their catch if they first remove the tag (see ksfishderby.com for instructions).
Companies and groups interested in sponsoring the tagged fish in this year’s derby can find sponsorship details at ksfishderby.com.
For more information about fishing in Kansas, visit ksoutdoors.com/Fishing.
To learn more about the derby, visit ksfishderby.com.