2016 Fishing Forecast ready for anglers

Anglers like to keep their best fishing holes secret, but that’s hard to do now that the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism (KDWPT) produces the annual fishing forecast. The forecast is a compilation of data gathered by KDWPT district fisheries biologists throughout the year. The data comes from sampling efforts, including test netting, electroshocking and creel surveys. The forecast presents this data in a format that lets anglers find waters that contain their favorite species in both good numbers and the size they prefer.

For example, if you like to catch crappie, you can use the forecast to find a reservoir, lake or pond where the biologist found lots of crappie during sampling efforts last fall. A quick look at the reservoir category for white crappie shows that John Redmond Reservoir is ranked No. 1 for Density Rating, which is the number of crappie longer than 8 inches caught per unit of sampling effort. If you’re more interested in quality-sized crappie, then look at the Preferred rating, which is the number of fish caught during sampling that were 10 inches long or longer. Again, John Redmond is No. 1, by a large margin. Two-thirds of the fish sampled in John Redmond last fall were longer than 10 inches. The Lunker Rating (crappie longer than 12 inches) for this lake is also No. 1 among Kansas reservoirs. So, John Redmond will be a great place to catch crappie this year, both in terms of numbers and size.

Theoretically, a reservoir with a Density Rating of 32 will have twice as many crappie 8 inches long or longer than a lake with a Density Rating of 16. However, there are often other factors that may influence sampling results, and some lakes may not be sampled every year, so the forecast includes other ratings such as the Biologist’s Rating. A biologist may feel that the numbers don’t accurately reflect the fish population, so they enter a rating of Excellent, Good, Fair or Poor. The Three-year Average is there because a lake may not have been sampled this past year. It shows an average of the past three years of Density Ratings. And finally, there is a Biggest Fish rating, which simply lists the biggest fish caught during sampling.

Anglers can view the forecast at, and in printed brochures that will soon be available at KDWPT offices. Use the 2016 Fishing Forecast to find your own fishing hot spots this spring.