Stripers in Kaw???
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Posted on Wednesday Aug 22, 2012 at 8:15 PM  
Kuk, or anyone else:

A friend of mine on another board has asked me if there are any Stripers in the Arkansas River in Kansas. I figured if there are any in Kaw, they may run upriver in a spawning attempt come spring time.

Yes, no?? I'm sure the Hybrids do something. How far upriver do they get?
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Posted on Wednesday Aug 22, 2012 at 8:49 PM  
This is a Great ? .I often Wonder This When I Run KS On Fridays,the river looks good right befor then fair grounds on 160 right before Winfield looks good on the other side of town by the Train Bridge,I think it's the Walnut River
Posted on Thursday Aug 23, 2012 at 6:28 AM  
I did see what appears to be a Low-water Dam in Winfield. I followed the river almost up to Wichita. It starts getting SMALL up there. Reminds me of Rock Creek here in Sapulpa.
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Posted on Thursday Aug 23, 2012 at 10:10 AM  
I grew up in Winfield from the age of 15-25. We moved from there last year to Owasso. The low water dam in Winfield (Tunnel Mill Dam) gets a lot of Wipers from Kaw with the spring floods. It's not the Arkansas River in Winfield though, its the Walnut. The Walnut drains into the Arkansas in Arkansas City, KS but most of the wipers, flatheads and hybrids turn and head up the walnut. A couple of years ago, a lot of big ones (6-12 lbers) were caught in early March. I don't believe there are any stripers in Kaw or we would have caught one at some point in the Walnut. That low water dam is a phenomenal Flathead hole in the Spring. There will be 20-30 people standing shoulder to shoulder in the middle of the river trying to catch the big flatheads. On a good day 40-50 flatheads in the 15-40lb range will be caught. The biggest I've heard of coming out of there is 55lbs.
Posted on Thursday Aug 23, 2012 at 10:26 AM  
I'm not real sure why I said wipers and hybrids since they are the same thing. I mean to include walleye in there.
Posted on Thursday Aug 23, 2012 at 11:02 AM  
Thanks for the input zhall. I suspected that there would be hybrids up there but its nice to hear from a local perspective to reinforce my belief that the fish move upstream. There are a small number of stripers in Kaw (a tiny reminant population from early stockings in the 70's). I would bet that they run upstream as well, but are just so few that they go unnoticed. About 7 or 8 years ago when I was first starting the hybrid stocking project on Kaw we found thousands and thousands of striper fingerlings in Kaw. So the few stripers in the lake did have a quality spawning run that year. Most years we see a few fingerling stripers which is a sign of a definite upstream spawning run.
Posted on Thursday Aug 23, 2012 at 3:41 PM  

A few years back I accidentally snagged a big spoonbill at that low water dam in Winfield. I guess I didn't realize that Kaw had any paddlefish at all. Are they or were they at one point stocked in there? I know they don't have big numbers, but we would occassionally get a few in the Walnut River. Just curious.
Posted on Thursday Aug 23, 2012 at 6:17 PM  
Thank you, zhall, Kuk. I'll relay the info.
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Posted on Thursday Aug 23, 2012 at 7:43 PM  
Paddlefish are native to those streams/rivers. The damming of the streams to create reservoirs has hurt many paddlefish populations, but there are still self-sustaining populations in most systems. Kaw has some HUGE resident paddlefish.
Posted on Thursday Sep 13, 2012 at 4:37 PM  
The US Fish and WIldlife Service stocked Kaw Lake with Paddlefish back in the 1990s in an attempt to re-establish the natural population that existed before the Dam was constructed in 1977. Once the dam at Kaw was operational, paddlefish in the Arkansas River could not travel past it. The groceries in Kaw Lake have produced some gigantic paddlefish and we have actually documented natural reproduction in the lake. I am not aware of any sampling from the USFW staff to determine the abundance in the lake, but I would guess it to be low to moderate. Last month an angler found a 70+ pounder floating mid-lake.
The ODWC has stocked millions of striped bass into Kaw Lake over the years without establishing a fishery. Occassionally, the low population of adults will have a successful spawn as Kurt spoke of, however, even those have not survived in large enogh numbers to create a fishery. This has kept me up late at night!!! There is nothing that I would like more than to establish a morone fishery in Kaw Lake. There is no doubt that it would rival the fishery at Texoma in my opinion, but there seems to be a brick wall that prevents this from happening. I don't know the answer for sure, but I am guessing that it is a recruitment problem, which means that striped bass fingerlings do not survive the first winter. The fingerlings that I have seen in the fall going into the winter are in very poor body condition, and will probably not make it through the winter. During our research with hybrids, we seine the reservoir and have noticed that the white bass are much healthier than other moronies. The are spawned earlier than the stocked fish are placed in the lake, thus, they have a head start, grow faster and dominate the other moronie species. The good news is that the hybrid stockings have done better than the striped bass! So hopefully in the near future, we can establish a hybrid fishery in Kaw! Growth rates will produce some MONSTERS! And THAT excites this old guy! We are learning more about the tagged hybrids and striped bass adults every time we make our detection trips, so stay tuned for the Results Show comming early next year!
Posted on Thursday Sep 13, 2012 at 8:29 PM  
Posted on Friday Sep 14, 2012 at 8:22 AM  
All I can say is thank you for all this information. And "You'll only get it here".
Posted on Friday Sep 14, 2012 at 11:41 AM  
We only tagged 4 striped bass in 2011 for the Movement's Study on Kaw Lake. That's not many fish to look at, but in the spring of 2012 I didn't see ANY of them move up above the lake in an attempt to spawn. This year we have 20 tagged, striped bass and hybrids, so the spawning run next spring (2013) should answer the question if they will run upsteam to reproduce.

Over the years, I have personally contacted Kansas Game Wardens to see if they have ever witnessed anglers catching stripers at the low water dam near Oxford on the Anrkasas River or in the Walnut. They have never observed a striper or paddlefish being harvested at these locations. I would certainly assume that these should be hot spots in the spring.
Posted on Friday Sep 14, 2012 at 3:07 PM  
I can only speak for the Walnut River, but in the early spring, when the big floods come, there are Paddlefish that make it to the Low Water Dam in Winfield. They usually only come when the water level is very high and not fishable. You can stand on the bank and see them surfacing, but its virtually impossible to fish for them. By the time the water level drops enough to get a pole in the water, they are pretty well gone. As I said in a previous post, I've spent many many hours down there and I've only caught 1 paddlefish (although it was large), and that is the only one I've ever seen caught. It's exciting that Kaw is getting a good hybrid population. Winfield gets a lot of those Hybrids in the spring, and they are getting big! Lots of fish in the 8-12lb range have been caught down there in the last few years. Thanks for the info!
Posted on Friday Sep 14, 2012 at 3:13 PM  
We need a overflow dam right on the ks line
Posted on Friday Sep 14, 2012 at 3:31 PM  
Agreed That $50.00 out of state license is a bit steep.
Posted on Friday Sep 14, 2012 at 4:32 PM  
Tell all your Kansas buddies to be on the watch if they catch a striper or hybrid in the Walnut this spring for a tagged fish. Look on the fish's belly between the vent and the pelvic fins, there will be a scar about 1 inch long with stiches if present. If these fish are harvested, please call our fisheries office in Ponca City, OK. We can recover the tag, turn off the battery and possibly use it again to gain more information on this population. If it is returned, we would also like a phone call just to notify us where it was caught for our records.
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