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Blue Water Gems in Kansas

By Katherine Field - July 23, 2021
I had always envisioned Kansas as a mix of flat horizons divided by a grid of straight, gravel roads. Instead, I had discovered it to be an Eden of lush, beautiful rolling hills and some of the greatest fishing I had experienced this year. My visit to the smoky hills region of Kansas left an indelible mark on my heart; I definitely will be returning to this area again.
One of my favorite lakes I have had the opportunity to fish this year is Lake Wilson in Kansas. Nestled deep in the stone post- lined, prairie hills, Lake Wilson is a vibrant, clear-water gem sporting 100 miles of shoreline to explore. It offers a variety of fishing, from deep water fishing along limestone bluffs to rugged creek mouths and shallows.

What sets this lake apart isn't just the majestic scenery, it's the size and abundance of fish in this system. The cool, deep water and limestone bluffs are perfectly suited to the large schools of fish in this lake. I explored the bluff walls, and floated along schools of baitfish being corralled by giant packs of smallmouth bass, striped bass, spotted bass and hybrids. In a maddening flurry, a school would flush a ball of bait up against the surface and unleash a feeding frenzy. The calm water would erupt in whitewater chaos, while a school of hungry fish flew through the air in mad pursuit.

A cast into this frothing mass had me hooked up with chunky stripers, hybrids or a smallmouth in a matter of seconds. Nothing like feeling your line hook hard into a fish and hear that reel scream as the fish ripped off yards of line. This lake sports stripers upwards of 25 lbs so hold on with two hands! I had great success on this lake using small swimbaits, senkos and topwater baits as well.

Schools of stripers, hybrids, and smallmouth aren't the only amazing fish in this lake. Wilson has a very healthy population of walleyes and largemouth bass, along with a plentiful supply of plate sized panfish and crappie. On one outing I was able to catch 6 different species of fish all on the same lure! While I was extremely satisfied with catching good sized largemouth and smallmouth for my tournament, I did become enamored with the striped bass in this lake. I was really tempted to quit fishing my tournament in order to just chase these massive stripers busting on bait fish. Lake Wilson had some of the best striper fishing I have experienced in the past few years and I can't wait to go back!

Katherine Field
Katherine Field is a multi-species angler, competing in elite-level kayak bass fishing tournaments on a national scale. She calls the beautiful state of Utah home and enjoys spending her time traveling across America, competing in national trails and exploring legendary fisheries.
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