The Great KS Fishing Derby to Get Started

The Great Kansas Fishing Derby will return for its second year starting this weekend.

According to the Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks, a prized hunter’s catch may be worthy of an award in spring and summer in Kansas, thanks to the return of the Great Kansas Fishing Derby.

This year’s derby runs from Sunday 15 May to 15 September. 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 or download the KDWP mobile license app, “Go Outdoors Kansas” here / 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 A follow-up call will let the hunter know what he has won and where to claim his reward. 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 awards, and without their support, the Derby would not exist,” Breath added. “Thanks to them, fishermen can win concert tickets, kids’ packages at the official state fair, gift cards to Bass Pro / Cabelas and KDWP, 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 Fishing-Programs for you / community-Fisheries Assistance Program.

A complete list of waters containing fish tagged for the derby will be posted on on May 14.

“Our staff will tag as many species of fish as possible, including bass, crappie, eye bass, catfish, drumstick and carp,” Breath said. “Last year, someone won $250 in KDWP gift cards by catching up on a warm tag.

“We will be listing species tagged on 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 for instructions).

Companies and groups interested in sponsoring the tagged fish in this year’s derby can find sponsorship details at

For more information on fishing in Kansas, visit

To learn more about the derby, visit

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