Fishing KC

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Published on: Jun. 2, 2007

Last revision: Dec. 1, 2010

How far would you travel for good fishing? Fifty miles? One hundred fifty miles?

Although many people drive long distances to catch fish, Kansas City anglers can find great fishing of all types within the four-county area of Cass, Clay, Jackson and Platte counties.

In fact, there are so many types of local fishing opportunities, including shore fishing, boat fishing, lake fishing, pond fishing and river fishing, that Kansas City anglers may have a hard time deciding where to go, what species to target or what type of gear to use.

One thing is sure, though. They don’t have to travel far to find quality fishing and collect a nice mess of fish for dinner.

River Opportunities

Boat and bank anglers alike can find plenty of access to the Missouri River. Although the river contains a wide variety of fish species, catfish are probably the most popular. Pole-and-line anglers, as well as those who prefer to use set lines, trot lines and jug lines, catch lots of channel, blue and flathead catfish—including some that weigh more than 50 pounds—while fishing within view of the Kansas City skyline.

Boaters on the Missouri River have to be careful that they don’t literally run into silver and bighead carp. These large fish propel themselves out of the water without warning. They sometimes land in boats and can present a hazard to people and equipment. Kansas City anglers also have plenty of opportunities to wet a line in nearby smaller rivers and streams. The Blue River (Jackson County), Fishing River (Clay County), Platte River (Platte County), and South Grand River (Cass County) all have good numbers of fish and a variety of fish species, and there are plenty more within an hour’s drive of Kansas City.

These smaller streams usually contain lots of channel catfish, but anglers also catch largemouth bass, bluegill, green sunfish, carp and crappie from them.

Almost all area streams have at least one public fishing access. Anglers who want to fish from the bank above or below these access areas should first obtain landowner permission.

Small Lakes and Ponds

Most conservation areas and state, city and county parks in the Kansas City area have lakes or ponds. The Conservation Department works with local government to manage the fisheries in many of these waters and make them inviting and accessible to anglers.

On many managed waters, special regulations concerning daily limits, horsepower limits and fishing methods apply. These are posted at accesses and

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