By Angela Sena
Along with catching a great Chiefs or Royals game, you can also get a great catch with the many fishing opportunities in the Kansas City area. I’ve always enjoyed fishing, and have been my husband’s fishing buddy for many years (even before tying the knot – I think that’s how I snagged him). Now, with our little fisherman, we are passing along the fever.
During the summer, you can find us at one of the local boat docks launching at sunrise and fishing till 10 or so, or until hunger pains are too great. However, if the fishing is really good, my best bet is to take a snack. (I can’t seem to tear my husband away at that point!) Later we pull into the driveway as our neighbors are just getting up – and we still have the rest of the day!
In Missouri, where I live, there are many Department of Conservation (MDC) rivers and lakes to fish. These lakes are not as widely known as the larger lakes, but they hold good potential for some great fishing and summer fun and even food. Four Missouri counties in the Kansas City metropolitan area – Platte, Clay, Jackson, and Cass – offer fishing opportunities including shore, boat, lake, pond, and river fishing.
Larger rivers generally are abundant in catfish and carp. Smaller streams usually contain lots of channel catfish, but you can also catch largemouth bass, bluegill, green sunfish, carp, and crappie. Almost all area streams have public access areas. Check the Missouri weekly fishing report for the type of fish in the area and types of lures that work best for the season. I sometimes think lures are for anglers, since the fish pay no attention on some days.
|County||River||Name of Area|
|Cass||S. Grand||Amarugia Highlands Conservation Area|
|Clay||Missouri||Cooley Lake Conservation Area|
|Clay/Jackson||Missouri||LaBenite Park/Liberty Bend Conservation Area|
|Blue||Brown Athletic Area|
|Platte||Platte Falls Conservation Area|
|Platte||Kendzora Conservation Area|
|Platte||Marshall Conservation Area|
|Platte||Schimmel City Access|
|Platte||Union Mill Access|
For those who like a larger fishing hole, area conservation lakes and ponds may be better for you. These waters hold potential for largemouth bass, bluegill, crappie, channel catfish, redear sunfish, and hybrid striped bass. I always find it funny that even with a boat, I still seem to fish the edges of the lake like those on shore.
|County||Area Name||Acres||Boat Access
|Cass||Amarugia Highlands CA1||55||Yes|
|Harrisonville North Lake||34||Yes|
|Jackson||Alex George Lake||8||No|
|Blue Springs Lake||720||Yes|
|Blue Valley Lake||1||No|
|Bowlin Road Pond||4||No|
|James A. Reed Memorial WA2||252||N/A|
|Lake of the Woods||1||No|
|Lone Jack CA1||35||Yes|
|North Terrace Lake||1||No|
|Penn Valley Lake||1||No|
|Prairie Lee Lake||150||Yes|
|Tarsney and Wood Lakes||17 & 8||Yes|
|Platte||Guy B. Park CA1||17||Yes|
2 Wildlife Area
My favorite conservation area for fishing is Tobacco Lake at the Guy B. Park CA. It’s a hop, skip and a jump from home and always a nice place to fish. I remember taking our son when he was small enough to use an infant life jacket (except he didn’t like it because he couldn’t reach his hands to his mouth). Since it’s a “no wake” lake, it is always quiet (except for the occasional angler on his cell phone). If you fish a place often enough, you get to know the regulars who get to fish all the time – unlike us working stiffs! They’re always happy to see you and share their tips for the day.
For those of you who have not tried fishing yet, there are free fishing days or daily fishing passes, and even rod-and-reel loaners for those that don’t want to commit to the sport. If you have a particular species you would like to catch, you can find information on the species and more. If anything, it will be a good outing for the kids and you’ll soak up some vitamin D!
Before heading out, remember to check regulations for that area and take your fishing license, drinking water, sunscreen, polarized sunglasses, and life jackets. As my 5-year-old found out a year ago, life jackets are a good thing and leaning too far over the edge of the boat is bad – but that’s for another blog.
About the Author: Angela Sena serves as an Environmental Protection Specialist with the Water, Wetlands, and Pesticides Division at EPA Region 7. She has a degree in environmental science and management. Angela is a native of New Mexico and avid outdoorswoman.