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Early look at state forecast shows LyCygne, Bill Hill, Wilson and Coffey County among top lakes

By Deb Zeiner

The email from the Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks arrived on The Kansas Angler computer the afternoon of Feb. 4.

To: "Kansas Anger". Subject: RE: Fishing forecast for 2005

For many anglers in Kansas, the arrival of the yearly summarization of fishing potential from the KDWP is a sure sign that spring is just around
the corner.

Each year fisheries management biologists in the state monitor the lakes and reservoirs in their jurisdiction through such means as test-netting and electroshocking. The information they collect is separated into two categories - reservoirs of larger than 1,000 acres and lakes, bodies of
water with fewer than 1,000 acres.

The data for the popular sport fish species is separated into tables that describe a density rating, preferred rating, lunker rating and biggest fish for each body of water and along with that data a biologist's rating and size of the impoundment is included on a chart that is published for consideration by the public.

It is a considerable undertaking not only for the biologists but also for
the angler who struggles to understand the compilations.

The density rating is the number of fish that were of quality size or larger during each unit of sampling effort. The higher the density rating for a body of water, the more quality sized or larger fish were noted per surface acre.

The preferred rating identifies how many above-average sized fish are in a body of water. Inotherwords, this rating might give an angler some
indication of where to go fishing to catch a bigger representation of a

The lunker rating is similar to the density rating, but indicates the
relative density of lunker-sized fish in the body of water. Biologists recommend combining the density rating with the lunker rating to get an idea of where you might want to fish.

The biggest fish column indicates the weight of the largest fish caught during sampling.

But perhaps the most important rating is the biologist's rating. Each
district fisheries biologist reviews the data from the annual sampling of lakes in their district and assigns ratings based on their knowledge to those lakes. A P rating indicates a poor rating by the biologist; F is fair,
G is good and E is excellent.

This year's ratings might surprise some anglers. For example, while many state reservoirs were rated good by biologists, including Clinton, Sebelius, Cheney, Wilson, Milford and Glen Elder, only Kirwin received an excellent rating and yielded a 15.43 pound specimen during testing. And LaCygne yielded an 8.41 largemouth during testing. It was one of only two reservoirs in the state that was rated excellent, along with Big Hill. But Cedar Bluff, Webster and Perry all yielded largemouth over 6 pounds during testing.

Wilson Reservoir rated highest for striped bass, with a density rating of 4.75 and a biologist's rating of good. The largest striper recorded during testing was 13.32 pounds. And Coffey County Lake received the only
biologist's rating of excellent for walleye.

White bass remain plentiful. Kanopolis, Glen Elder, Cedar Bluff, Lovewell, Big Hill, Kirwin and Cheney reservoirs all received excellent biologist's ratings, with Kanopolis having the highest density rating of 89.50 and John Redmond the lowest at 1.50.

KDWP best describes the best use of the information compiled in the forecast.

"The following tables are designed to help improve your fishing success," said information on the KDWP web site. "Your ability to catch depends on many factors such as water temperature, water clarify, weather, angling skills, fishing pressure and density of the fish in the lake."

Editor's note - At press time, the forecast had not been made available on a wide-scale basis yet or posted on the state's website. It is still in the final stages of preparation. Watch KansasAnglerOnline at www.kansasangler.com for notice when the total forecast will be available.



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