The American Fisheries Society (AFS) presented the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism (KDWPT) with the 2012 Sport Fish Restoration Outstanding Project award at the March 21 commission meeting in Topeka. KDWPT received the award for the Fishing Impoundments and Stream Habitats (FISH) program in the category of Sport Fishery Development and Management. Mike Stone, AFS 2012 Sport Fish Restoration Awards program chair, presented the award to the commission on behalf of the KDWPT fisheries section.
First introduced in 1998, the FISH program was developed by KDWPT to increase public angling opportunities throughout the state. By partnering with private landowners to lease fishing rights, the FISH program provides anglers with access to waters not normally open to the public. Bodies of water commonly leased by the FISH program include private ponds, streams, and community lakes where angler fees had previously been charged.
A recent revitalization of the program using a combination of Sport Fish Restoration, fishing license, and Farm Bill Voluntary Public Access funds, combined with update lease rates and incentives for landowners, resulted in a 181 percent increase in fishing locations in the past year.
FISH sites are typically open for public access from March 1 to October 31, however some landowners may allow year-round access.
Image courtesy Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism