Great Kansas Fishing Derby returns for second year

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An angler’s prized catch may actually be worth a prize this spring and summer in Kansas, thanks to the return of the Great Kansas Fishing Derby. This year’s Derby will run May 15 to Sept. 15. During that time, anglers can try their luck at catching one of more than 500 specially tagged fish located in public waterbodies across the Sunflower State.

The statewide competition is sponsored by the Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks (KDWP), Kansas Wildscape Foundation, Bass Pro-Cabela’s Outdoor Fund, Kansas State Fair, Firewater Music Festival, City of Independence and many local retailers.

“It’s a new year, but our goal remains the same – get people fishing and generate support for communities and nearby waters,” said David Breth, KDWP sportfishing education coordinator. “Participants will be excited to know that we’ve extended this year’s Derby to give anglers more time to win. We also added a few more lakes, and there are more tagged fish.”

How It Works

Pre-registration is not required, and participation is free, though normal fishing license requirements remain in effect. To get your Kansas fishing license, visit www.gooutdoorskansas.com or download KDWP’s mobile licensing app, “Go Outdoors Kansas,” at www.ksoutdoors.com/License-Permits/KDWP-Mobile-Apps/.

Anglers who catch a tagged fish as part of the Great Kansas Fishing Derby should remove the tag and enter the number at www.ksfishderby.com. A follow-up communication will notify the angler of what they’ve won and where to claim their prize. Www.ksfishderby.com also will allow anglers and non-anglers to register to win additional prizes through random drawings.

“Businesses, municipalities and more are supporting the Great Kansas Fishing Derby by sponsoring many of our prizes, and without their support, the Derby wouldn’t exist,” Breth said. “Thanks to them, anglers can win concert tickets, state fair kid’s packs, gift cards to Bass Pro/Cabelas and KDWP, fishing tackle, experiences, cabin stays and cash this year.”

If that’s not incentive enough, the Derby offers another major prize this year. Every angler who catches and redeems a valid derby tag will be entered into a drawing to win a lifetime hunting and fishing license sponsored by Kansas Wildscape Foundation.

Where To Fish

All participating waterbodies are open to the public and managed, in whole or in-part, by KDWP. Also included in the list of participating waters are ponds and lakes currently enrolled in KDWP’s Community Fisheries Assistance Program. By leveraging funding from federal excise taxes on fishing equipment, KDWP leases public access – at no additional cost to the public – to gorgeous waters that once required special county, community or city permits. To learn more about these waters, visit https://ksoutdoors.com/Fishing/Special-Fishing-Programs-for-You/Community-Fisheries-Assistance-Program.

A complete list of waters with fish tagged for the Derby will be posted on www.ksfishderby.com on May 14.

“Our staff will tag as many species of fish as possible, including bass, crappie, walleye, catfish, drum and carp,” Breth said. “Last year, someone won $250 in KDWP gift cards by catching a tagged warmouth.

“We will list the species tagged on www.ksoutdoors.com on the lake pages. If you catch one, make sure to snap a photo and share with us on social media or post online using #ksfishderby.”

If a tagged fish meets legal length limits, the fish may be kept. However, anglers may release their catch if they first remove the tag (see www.ksfishderby.com for instructions).

Businesses and groups interested in sponsoring tagged fish for this year’s Derby can find sponsorship details at www.ksfishderby.com.

For more information on fishing in Kansas, visit www.ksoutdoors.com/Fishing.

For more on the Derby, visit www.ksfishderby.com.

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