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Daily Archives: December 10, 2015

Landowners earn income for allowing fishing access

 

The Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism’s (KDWPT) Fishing Impoundments and Stream Habitats Program (F.I.S.H.) pays landowners to allow fishing access to their private ponds and streams. F.I.S.H. is patterned after the hugely popular Walk-In Hunting Access program (WIHA), and both programs were designed to increase access to quality hunting and fishing opportunities across Kansas. Because more than 97 percent of Kansas land is privately owned, providing hunting and fishing access to private land is a KDWPT priority.

 

The F.I.S.H program leases private waters from landowners and opens them to public fishing. Landowners participating in F.I.S.H. receive payments for the use of their land, and anglers are in turn provided with a place to fish that might not have been available otherwise. The enrollment deadline for 2016 is December 15, 2015.

 

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. Most F.I.S.H. sites are open for public access from March 1 to October 31, but some contracts pay landowners more to allow year-round access.

 

Pond Leasing

Privately-owned ponds are leased by the acre with base lease rates ranging from $75 to $125 /acre/year, depending on where the pond is located. Boating allowance bonuses are available, as well. Ponds allowing carry-in boats are eligible for an additional $10/acre/year, and properties allowing all boats access (adequate launching site must be present) are eligible for an additional $25/acre/year.

 

Stream Leasing

Annual lease rates for stream fishing access range from $500 to $1,500/mile/year, depending on the quality of the fisheries.

 

River Access Leasing

The Kansas, Arkansas, and Missouri rivers are considered navigable waters and are open to public use between the ordinary high-water marks. However, adjacent land is often privately owned, and public 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.

Last chance to buy lifetime license before fees increase

 

As 2015 winds to a close, there are several important things Kansas hunters and anglers need to know: 2015 licenses expire December 31. All 2016 licenses will go on sale December 15, and if you purchase a 2016 license before January 1, it is valid through the rest of 2015 and all of 2016.

You should also know that fees will increase for 2016. However, new license options provide significant savings. Remember, too, that lifetime licenses can be purchased through December 31, 2015 at the current price – $440. The new fee will be $500 for a lifetime fishing, hunting or furharvesting license, beginning January 1, 2016. A combination fishing/hunting combination license will cost $960.

 

The new fee for an annual fishing or hunting license will be $25. However, if you purchase an annual combination hunting/fishing license before February 1, the price is $40. After February 1, an annual combination hunting/fishing license will cost $45.

 

Another way to save is to purchase the 5-year hunting and fishing licenses. A five-year hunting or fishing license is $100, a $25 savings over purchasing the license every year. And a 5-year hunt/fish combination license is $180, a $70 savings over purchasing each license individually every year.

 

Hunting and fishing licenses make great stocking stuffers and a lifetime license is truly a gift that keeps on giving. You will find the application for a lifetime hunting, fishing or furharvesting license and see all new fees for 2016 at www.ksoutdoors.com.

Get in the Christmas bird count spirit

 

It is the most wonderful time of the year, especially if you enjoy birdwatching. Christmas Bird Count traditions provide a great way to spend time outdoors, learn about birds and enjoy the camaraderie of like-minded birders. And the best part: it’s free.

 

Birders of all skill levels are welcome to the events, where groups will spend time canvassing established circular census areas, recording species and numbers of birds observed. Information recorded at events is entered into regional and national databases and can show population and migration trends. Some Christmas Bird Counts have been conducted for more than 100 years, and more than 2,000 events are conducted across the U.S. each year, so databases are extensive. There are usually more than 50 events conducted in Kansas each winter between Dec. 13 and January 9.

 

To learn more about Kansas Christmas Bird Count locations, go to the Kansas Ornithological Society’s (KOS) website, www.ksbirds.org. You’ll find a list of events scheduled to date, along with locations and contact information. To learn more about Audubon-sponsored events go to www.audubon.org.

 

All you need to participate is clothing appropriate for traipsing outdoors on a mid-winter day, a pair of binoculars, and a good field guide. Spotting scopes are handy if large wetlands or reservoirs are included in the census area. Add in a little adventurous spirit and some good friends and you have the recipe for a great day in the Kansas outdoors.