For largemouth bass fishing, Leavenworth State Lake may be the best spot in northeast Kansas this year.
Richard Sanders, district fisheries biologist for Wildlife and Parks, predicts catch-and-release angling for largemouth "should be phenomenal" at the lake.
Analysis after electrofishing and netting by Sanders showed that 65 percent of the bass sampled were in the 12- to 15-inch range.
Sanders called the lake located between Tonganoxie and McLouth just off Kansas Highway 16 "a good place to introduce youngsters to the art of bass fishing."
Here are Sanders' predictions about 2002 success on other species at the lake:
Bluegill Fair. Fewer 6- to 8-inch fish were found, but slightly more in the 8- to 10-inch range.
Channel catfish Good. Harvest regulations limit anglers to two fish per day with a 15-inch length limit.
Black crappie Good. The number of 10- to 12-inch fish more than doubled in 2001, although condition was below average because of low shad production.
Walleye Good. A high number were caught with gill nets during recent sampling. Most were in 15- to 20-inch range. Like catfish, walleyes are protected with a two-per-day limit and a 15-inch minimum.
Wiper Poor. Wipers were introduced in 2000 and more were added in 2001. However, none of the sampled wipers were longer than 16 inches and the lake has an 18-inch minimum for harvest. Within a few years, the lake should have many wipers in excess of eight pounds.
In other lake news, an additional 26 cedar tree fish attractors have been placed in Pebble Beach Cove and should provide improved bass and crappie habitat in that area.
Also, feeders should be operational around May 1. A combination of floating and sinking fish feed will be used to enhance growth of catfish and bluegill.
Anglers using the lake in the spring should be prepared to deal with abundant aquatic vegetation.
However, the curlyleaf pond weed usually dies out by early June and results in very clear water and improved fish habitat.